Despite the preponderance of shops in Little Saigon that sell ao dais or the spectacular wear of Paris by Night performers, most folks remain unaware that a Vietnamese-centric fashion week exists. And according to Viet Fashion Week founder Tracy Pham, even OC’s Vietnamese community initially found it hard to grasp the notion of a Vietnamese fashion scene in its own backyard.
While Little Saigon is known for having a deep appreciation for music, fashion hasn’t garnered the same level of interest. “In our first two years of Viet Fashion Week we had a history of fashion week to educate the Vietnamese community,” says Pham. Now, she sees Vietnamese respecting and supporting fashion more, “People like seeing
Pham is an O.C native—she graduated from Fountain Valley
Designers hail from Orange County, Vietnam, and even Europe—Quynh Paris resides in you guessed it, Paris! Local designers include Cynthia Bui, Calvin Hiep, Yvonne Lux, Jacky Tai and Christy Pham, who all have their fashion houses in OC. Son Collection is a visiting designer from Vietnam.
While designers need to be at least 1% Vietnamese in order to be featured, models do not. “It’s just like any other fashion week, but all the designers are Vietnamese,” Pham says.
According to Pham, “Viet Fashion Week is Vietnamese culture blended with American modern design.” The traditional ao dai —a long shirt dress with high slits on the side—is featured heavily among Vietnamese designers, but with twists of
The first-ever Viet Fashion Week was held at the Asian Garden Mall in Westminster, the second at the Westminster Rose Center and this year’s event will be at the Westminster Mall—Westminster represent! Pham says she hasn’t thought about moving Viet Fashion Week to fashion capitals like Los Angeles or New York because her and the largest Vietnamese expat community in the world call Orange County home: “You have to support your community first.”
Viet Fashion Week will air on Vietface TV —channel 57.2. Viet Fashion Week runs from May 20th to May 21st at the Westminster Mall, 1025 Westminster Mall, Westminster, 6p.m. $35-$100. For more information, go to www.vietfashionweek.com