When did you know you wanted to be in the fashion industry?


In 2007, I wanted to build a model agency for Vietnamese Americans. Coincidently I met Dr. Keith Ly who is the producer of the Vietmodel Project in Houston, by chance he asked me to be involved with his project since he knew I have a large network and I had already built several connections. Therefore, he knew by working with me he can give his models a better chance of having exposure to corporations. After helping helping with the Viet Model Project, the media Calitoday, also show producers, saw it was successful so they approached me and asked for my help. At first, they told me to come up with something special.

One night I woke up and I saw 2 pieces of fabric laying around that I was planing to use for a costume for Halloween. However, after I draped these fabrics on my body, I realized that I formed a trendy Vietnamese dress in 2 minutes. It looked nice, sexy and elegant on my body. I immediately called my mom and told her that I want to be a designer.

Well, she wasn't surprised but instead she encouraged me to do it

I was quite surprised but I didn't say anything. She told me to lock myself in the room and dont answer the phone for anyone. I listened to her that day. In four hours, I had drawn, and came up with, 10 diferent designs. However, I was not please to myself, I went to look for fabric and began to cut them into small pieces, like for a barbie doll. The next days, I took these little samples and shared with the organizers. I told them that I want to design for their show. They looked at my designs and they thought it's different from the regular Vietnamese dresses, but they took the chance and accepted me to do the show.

More reasons why I chose fashion as my direction, was my childhood desire to do community service, then my personal interest.. plus family background has always been in this industry, you can say, it's in my genes.

How long have you been in the industry? About 2 years

What is your role in the industry? Haha! Everything.. from organizing the show, designing, marketing online, the recruiting of the models, sewing, you name it.

What does fashion mean to you? You decide for yourself what is fit you better but not what other tell you what you should wear. That is why I have always believed "fashion for life and design in my style". 

What is your inspirational color? Rose. I have loved the color rose since I was 11 years old, I always drew the flower nothing else, so most of my designs have the rose goes along with it too.

Is there a theme or message in your clothing? The idea of Fusion. I like to keep the authenticity of the East by hanging onto the mysterious side as well as combining it with the sexy but elegant western look. As one can tell, my designs are a type of fusion of East and West.

What makes your clothing/accessories unique? Sexy but elegant, and somewhat fusion style in there or stones, cystal, bare back, halter tops.

Your target demographic?
The US first, then Asia. There are potential investors that want to brand my designs in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

What is your favorite piece you have ever created? Every piece is an art work for me, everytime I came up with a new dress it became my new favorite. If you look at my porfolio then you will know that each piece is totally unique, that is why models love to work with me, because for every show I created new looks for them. Don't you know I'm a designer freak?

I often wake up middle of a nice sleep sometimes just to design a dress. Two years ago I had no background in this industry, excepting in entertainment but today, from not knowing how to draw, design and sew, I do everything myself, self taught.

What is your favorite fashion season? I like all the seasons but I guess winter is my favorite season. Winter styles utilize fur and leathers it's more sophisticated.

How do you feel the recession has affected the fashion industry, if it has at all? I think so but I don't think it will last because we always like to have something new. We can cut down other expense but not cut down on clothing

Most loved designer/brand? Valentino, Dolce Gabbana, Chanel, Christine Dior, BCBG, Forever 21, Betsey Johnson, Armani, Gucci, Max, Nicole, Cache, and myself of course.






Designer Debbie Nghiem

Hairstylist James Griffiths | Salon Blu

Fashion Writer Arriel Ginter

Images Debbie Nghiem | Kevin Nguyen | Hoanh Pham | Anh Tuan Truong (Bay Photo Group)

Models Elizabeth Grzejka (That Look Models) | Pearlynn Dang | Trinh Dang | Jackie Smith | Jammie Mitchel | Helena Grunwald | Amanda Bach | Jessica Hernandez | Farinaz Hamendanchi | May Kaufer | Rosely Mastrapa | Jestrina Casas | Jasmine Yuan | Amber Von | Adriane Martinez | Maria Martinez | Halfsa Burt | Jenny | Ashley | A?

Event Cali Today | December 27, 2009





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San Jose Fashion Week ™/ SJ Fashion Week ™ is a division of That Look Magazine ™.