Born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Tran Phuong graduated with honours from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and then pursued perfection in all aspects of her fashion career. From the design and production process through to client service, the smallest details are obsessively pursued. PHUONG MY’s fabric production is entirely outsourced to select partners in Paris, Milan and Hong Kong, thus providing the optimum blend of both materials and exclusivity that has proven to be so successful for the brand.
You have a range of titles – from Stylist to Fashion Director and Producer. Can you tell us a little about your work along side being a fashion designer?
I believe that knowledge is your biggest strength to survive in this world. I always try to learn more, experience more, and do more. Most people think of fashion as a glamorous job and lifestyle: to be able to create and make beautiful things, to stand in the spotlight, and to dress famous people. But the reality behind a fashion company requires much more than that.
You have to be the hardest working person you know to succeed, you have to learn how to do numbers, balance your finance, manage people, work with a large team, live a life that you are constantly on the go, and even on your worst day, you still have to go to work like it is your best day. To be able to sustain your company, I think just being a fashion designer is not enough. That’s why I try to learn more and do more aspects of fashion such as being a stylists, or fashion director and producer. Because whatever you don’t know how to do, will become your weakness in your work.
How did you decide to become a fashion designer?
I couldn’t find clothes that fit Asian women well. I think most famous brands on the market are made by European brands for European and American body-types. For Asian women to buy clothes that fit well and look elegant, it is not easy.
What is your number one career highlight so far?
I believe in always looking forward; to achieve more, learn more, and surpass yourself every year.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Firstly from my customers, from the way they dress, how they move, their emotions. What they look for in life, their hopes, and dreams. Then from my team, we work together and create everything together.
What is your design philosophy?
To be balanced. Everything should be balanced and in good proportion.
What has been your biggest challenge in growing your own business?
Cash flow and team management. You are often not taught enough about those two things in fashion school, but they become the biggest aspects of keeping your company alive.
What advice do you wish you had received 5 years ago?
I am not good at following advice. I always like to try out myself and make mistakes and learn from my own mistakes.
What advice would you give emerging designers?
To be the hardest working person you know, and to always learn more.
The vision of PHUONG MY is to share the beauty of the modern Asian women with the entire fashion world.
If you were not a doing what are doing, what would you be doing?
I majored in mathematics when I was in school. I think I could do something with math and physics. I always love learning new things and new skills. I could see myself doing anything as long as I put my heart to it. To be balanced. Everything should be balanced and in good proportion.
How would you describe the style/vibe of your city?
“<y city” would be San Francisco. I lived there and studied fashion there. It’s a place that makes you slow down, be happy, and appreciate life a little more.
In your opinion, what’s the fashion industry like in Vietnam?
Lots of opportunities come with lots of challenges.