Designer Si Hoang

May 30, 2006

Culture Vulture

Designer Si Hoang earned his reputation for putting a new twist on Viet Nam’s traditional dress, the ao dai, over a decade ago. Since then Hoang’s ao dai have been seen on catwalks worldwide.
Recently, however, Hoang has been designing jeans, decorating ceramics and showcasing everything in a trendy tea shop, located in his three-storey company headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City.
Hoang spoke with Le Huong on how he entered the fashion industry and his current projects.

How did you begin designing ao dai and why have you continued to do so for so long?

I decorated my first ao dai in 1989, when a contestant in Miss Ao Dai HCM City, one of the country’s first beauty pageants, asked me to decorate her white ao dai.

I looked at the plain cloth and painted flowers all over it. She took second place in the competition and the trend of painting ao dai was born.

Tailors throughout the city called on me to decorate their ao dai and most of the girls who wore my designs in beauty contest took top prizes. Before I knew it, I was an ao dai designer.

I like the ao dai because it is capable of changing with the times. People can wear ao dai not only to festivals and diplomatic meetings but also in daily life.

The costume is perfectly suited for a dynamic daily life.

People say you are a lucky person. When you touched silk, you created a successful ao dai trademark. When you touched denim, your jeans became incredibly popular and when you touched ceramics, they too became best-sellers. Is there more to it that just luck?

Well, if my success is just luck, than it will not last long. If someone really wants to be successful, he should figure out what he wants and decide if he has enough wisdom, enthusiasm and experience to achieve it.

As I became experienced at decorating ao dai a few years ago, I turned to painting and embroidering blue jeans.

Later I would see American youth enhancing their jeans in the same way.

I was happy to know that my aesthetic sense is not very different from international trends.

But luck is certainly part of it. By chance I discovered the wonderful result of combining the rough surfaces of Cham ethnic minority ceramics with glass bead decorative patterns.

I’m most proud not of creating so many popular works of art but that I’m among a small group of people trying to save this rare ceramic art form from being forgotten.

Many poor local artisans now have jobs producing ceramics for my designs.

In your opinion, what is your responsibility as a fashion designer?

A fashion designer should always remember for whom he is designing clothing. Clothing should make the customer feel and look more beautiful and respectable.

I have never imposed what I want on my customers because I understand that clothing reflects the wearer’s style, ideas, and position.

How do you intend to expand your business this year?

Apart from continuing to design ao dai, jeans and ceramics, I recently set up a tea shop on the third floor of my company’s office building.

People can come and learn about Vietnamese culture through tasting authentic Vietnamese teas, while enjoying fashion shows and traditional folk music every night. I plan to open another tea shop in the city.

Si Hoang Company headquarters and tea shop are located at 36-38 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1, HCM City. — VNS

9 Responses to “Designer Si Hoang”

  1. Viet Tran Says:

    toi la ban than cua Si Hoang tu khi con o trung hoc viet nam nhung da mat dia chi lien lac. Xin cho toi biet dia chi hoac so phone cua Si Hoang de lien lac. Cam on nhieu

  2. Dinh Huong Says:

    i need to get my Ao dai made by Sy Hoang, please let me know the address in Ho Chi Minh City, tks

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