By Laura Gardner, Research Assistant for the Fashion Colloquia Vietnam
‘Producing Fashion: Made in Vietnam’, held at RMIT Vietnam form 5-7 July comes to a close.
This month’s ‘Producing Fashion: Made in Vietnam’, organised between RMIT Melbourne and RMIT Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City, looked at Vietnam as an emerging fashion industry. Local and global speakers came together for another instalment in the ongoing Colloquia series, designed to open up conversations about opportunities for fashion in Vietnam.
Professor Gael McDonald opened the event and introduced a program that brought together key figures in the Vietnamese fashion and media industry alongside global researchers and practitioners. Events ranged from panel presentations to offsite excursions, along with paper presentation sessions and workshops.
Held across three days, the Colloquia was a meeting of minds and geographies bridging industry with academia: London College of Fashion’s José Teunissen and Ian King joined Robyn Healy and Matthew Roach in an opening panel that discussed the production and consumption of fashion in emerging industries like Vietnam. Panels of key members of the local industry, such as Lanvy Nguyen of Fashion4Freedom and Trần Nguyễn Thiên Hương of Sun Flower Media, publisher of magazines like Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam, offered insight into the country’s unique fashion identity and thriving industry today. Leading fashion designers from Vietnam’s fashion industry, Do Manh Cuong, Sĩ Hoàng, Li Lam, Ms Lê Hồng Thủy Tiên joined the discussion on the recent history and landscape of Vietnamese fashion.
Factory visits and excursions on Day 2 to local galleries invited Colloquia visitors behind the scenes and onto the factory floor of some of the city’s leading and innovating garment factories and companies, like Ipa-Nima whose in house design and production team create accessories and leather goods for international labels such as Shanghai Tang, TODS and Anteprima, alongside their own in-house brand. As well as Huynh Le Services and 28 Corporation who have an innovative vertical production line, as well as cultural institutions like the Ao Dai Museum, dedicated to the country’s traditional dress.
Day 3 encouraged education and innovation with panels and paper presentations addressing the future of the industry – in Vietnam and globally. A panel lead by RMIT Vietnam’s Rebecca Morris on the role of education in fostering a more innovative, dynamic and sustainable fashion industry in Vietnam and abroad brought RMIT Melbourne’s Angela Finn and Jo Cramer into discussion with Lottie Delamain, creative manager of HCMC’s L’Usine Space, Nguyen Vu Quan, head of strategy at Rice Creative and local designer Nguyen Huu Kien from Thuy Design House.
Kate Kennedy and Matthew Roach’s ‘36 Hour Shirt Challenge‘ was a hit, encouraging attendees to roam the markets, tailors and boutiques of Ho Chi Minh City to come up with their own local shirt (take a look at the results on Instagram with the hashtag #36hourshirt), which made for a fitting end to the Colloquia.
Attending RMIT staff reflected on the Colloquia with the following comments:
‘I liked hearing from the different Vietnamese designers, despite feeling incredibly jealous of designers who had inherited in-house manufacturing facilities. I knew of Vietnam as a place to get cheap tailored suits and shirts while on holiday but I had no idea that this tailoring legacy influences so much about the structure of the Vietnamese fashion industry, so discovering about the possibilities for design practice within Vietnam and globally within that scenario was fascinating.’
‘Making global connections through the Colloquia with academics from other fashion business programs will pay dividends on both an educational and collaborative research level. To this end, conversations have already commenced regarding the implementation of cooperative projects in the short term.’
‘This platform provided all staff and students with the opportunity to engage with such a broad and incredible variety of experts in their field who are all in some way involved with producing fashion.’
The Fashion Colloquia organising team would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved for sharing their research, conversation and enthusiasm with us in Vietnam. Special thanks to Kate Kennedy, Matthew Roach, Janette Gavin and Angela Finn for all their hard work and support in the lead up to and on the ground in Vietnam.
Thank you all for your input in making ‘Producing Fashion: Made in Vietnam’ a critical success!
Read some of the coverage of the event here: