Domestic fashion startups make their mark

January 22, 2017 - 09:00

A sleepless potential market like Việt Nam is fertile territory for start-ups in the fashion industry, and few of them are breaking new ground and reaching a lot more wardrobes.

Viet Nam News

A sleepless potential market like Việt Nam is fertile territory for start-ups in the fashion industry, and few of them are breaking new ground and reaching a lot more wardrobes.  

They are doing away with the notion of designer clothes being too costly and hard to wear, and in the process, giving foreign prestigious names like Zara and Topshop a run for their money.

Here’s a selection:

1. Cocosin

Fitting: Gigi black dress, worn by model Linh Rin, designed by CoCoSin. — Photo Courtesy of Cocosin

Cocosin is a bright example of a young fashion business which, despite not originating from a bigger brand, has become a well-loved name in the domestic high fashion market, particularly in HCM City.

A mid-ranked designer brand for young people, Cocosin was founded on October 18, 2012. Its designs, youthful and elegant, carry a minimal simplicity in fabric pattern but are sophisticated in detail, tailoring, shape and form. The brand is getting more attention from domestic fashionistas like Hà Mi, Nicky Khánh Ngọc, Minh Ngọc, Tea Trần and Linh Rin, thanks to its good quality and reasonable prices.

As a brand for female customers, Cocosin’s latest favourites include a grey coat dress with belt (VNĐ620,000 or $27) and a white lacey snowflake skirt (VNĐ350,000 or $15). For ladies who love mobility, there’s the grey striped knitwear (VNĐ420,000 or $19) as well as grey culotte pants with belt (VNĐ690,000 or $30). For a more feminine feel, a combination of black seamless top (VNĐ450,000 or $20) and red pleated pants (VNĐ690,000 or $30), are great assets, catwalking on the street.

Its slogan for the new season is “Let’s talk about effortless”.

2. Wephobia

Casual elegance: A Wephobia combination. Photo Courtesy of Wephobia

Wephobia is the creation of Minh Anh and Cúc Nguyễn, graduates of the London Centre for Fashion Studies (LCFS). Its designs are for women comfortable with menswear or a minimalist style. The designs have character, elegance and are never inflexible.

Launched on November 15 of 2012, this brand prioritises minimalism by using monochrome colour palettes with straight, tall and edgy shapes, and emphasising details like collars and sleeves.

However, with so much minute attention to detail, the prices are rather high. A holiday shirt dress costs VNĐ1,950,000 or $86) and a carol top, VNĐ1,350,000 or $60).

Anh and Cúc say the beauty, intelligence and confidence of modern women offer unlimited inspiration.

“We focus on the silhouette and material, and bring out neat and carefully made handmade garments. Contemporary architecture also gives us lots of ideas in developing a product’s form and shape, while paintings inspire our colour selection.”

3. Magonn

Quiet flair: Kashew Nutto dress, a design in the Hello Spring Collection. Photo Courtesy of Magonn

The imposing glory of Western culture and the simple, plain and nostalgic beauty of the East define the creativity of Tú Ngô and Nguyễn Minh Phúc and their Magonn brand, which has 86,000 followers on Facebook alone.

“Are you dreaming of fashion that is breezy yet wholesomely practical? Nostalgic but also contemporary? Floral yet urbanely elegant? Then hop on board — you’re a Magonn girl!”

Magonn’s designs pull out the best from vintage 40s, 50s, and 60s fashion and culture and stitch it into the modern woman’s story. The designers never forget to sprinkle dresses with loveable little touches to make customers feel — buttons, bows and Magonn’s iconic dotted thread-line. 

4. Tochie

Delicate cuts: Lazer grey top and midifish skirt, designs in the 30 DAYS of Autumn collection. Photo Courtesy of Tochie

Founded by designer Nhật Nguyễn, Tochie’s clothes also focus on minimalisim and feminity, and suit every kind of customer, from students to adult women. Until now, the brand has opened three branches: in HCM City, Hà Nội and Đà Nẵng.

The old saying, “When you see áo dài, you see the spirit of the country there,” is revived by Tochie’s designs. In a nostalgic salute to old times, Tochie uses high quality velvet and silk from Hà Nội’s western district of Hà Đông for its latest áo dài collection. Every dress also carries finely hand embroidred patterns.

5. Lane JT

Curvy: Actress Chi Pu in a Lane JT creation. Photo Courtesy of Lane JT


A high class brand with sophisticated, up to date products, Lane JT has won the hearts of domestic fashion aficionados.

Iconic modernity is what the brand is aiming at. This season’s most favourite item are the skylar top with ring (VNĐ1,250,000 or $55), ondria belted top, priced at $55, and billy high-neck top at VNĐ990,000 or $44).  The designer’s recommendation for the new year is a new simple combination of Cedric top and Nora wrap skirt, Billy top and Harley miniskirt, or Kattie top and Zoe miniskirt.

6. Hà Cúc

Deeply crimson: An áo dài by Hà Cúc. Photo Courtesy of Hà Cúc

Like Tochie, Hà Cúc is no stranger to ladies in Hà Nội and HCM city, known mostly for its áo dài designs.

Founder and designer Nguyễn Thu Hà says black is always a colour for major holidays and a queen of all colours. Therefore, this Spring’s special is the image of a crane spreading its wings beside a peach blossom branch, printed on black áo dài. “I hope this Oriental highlight will be warmly welcomed by our beloved customers,” Hà says.

7. Elpis

Lacily racy: Pop singer Thủy Tiên in a Fairie dress by Elpis. Photo Courtesy of Elpis

As a young brand marking a shift from photography to fashion by photographer Luciola, Elpis, founded in April 2015, is popular among many domestic artists and stars.

For this season, the designer has focused on white and red gowns for evening parties or wedding occasions, like the red Layla dress (VNĐ1,650,000 or $73), white Silvia skirt (VNĐ1,150,000 or $51), or the Fairie dress (VNĐ2,750,000 or $122) and Fiona dress, (VNĐ2,450,000 or $108).

“I feel like a princess when I wear Elpis’s items. They make me more beautiful and glamorous while the price is reasonable for a fashion newbie,” said Trần Tú Mai, a fashion blogger. VNS