She is currently busy making everything ready for 2 Ao Dai events welcoming The 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long, but Ms. Anh Thu, CEO of Ngan An Fashion Company still spent time for Lady Luxury magazine to talk about her career…
I have never had a thought of getting away from “my mother’s name”
You began your career by designing dresses for weddings and parties, so why did you change to designing Ao Dai (Vietnamese long dress)?
Since 1990s, Ngan An has been famous for dresses for weddings and parties in Ha Noi but currently this field does not attract me much. Only Ao Dai which honor Vietnamese women’s charm can make my designing passion satisfied. For Ao Dai designs, I always have different inspirations to create… Taking over the traditional business of your family, it is an advantage but a challenge also.
How do you think about that?
Taking over family’s traditional business is an advantage because we have the brand already, but it is also a challenge because I always think that I must be responsible for maintaining and developing the brand that has been built for a long time by parents. Since my parents built this brand until I took over it has been a long time and the society has changed much. Integrating society means living opinion and dressing opinion change much. I know that the field I have chosen is quite difficult because nowadays people do not pay much concern on Ao Dai due to the bustling life. I always have a thought that how to make Ao Dai fascinating and attract people, particularly the youth.
Ao Dai designer Ngan An, your mother is very famous. So when you took over this business, did you see it a pressure? How did you do to maintain this fashion brand, to form your personal marks, and to get away from your mother’s name that seems to be too well-known?
I have never had a thought of getting away from “my mother’s name” because all I have done and will do aim at maintaining, building and developing “NGAN AN”. It is also my pasion and my determination. I would like to make my mother’s name wellknown always. May be when I do business with the brand named Anh Thu, I will not have such passion and determination like that.
Could you please tell us the size of Ngan An Fashion Company?
In 1993 Ngan An Fashion Company was established from a tailor’s shop and we have had 5 showrooms in Ha Noi currently. Moreover, our contributions have been recognized with lots of prizes and certificates of the city as well as other organizations. I feel glad to take over this business so that my mother can do her favorite job that is teaching. Besides directing me on this passion, she also wants to teach young people who have passion on Ao Dai. My mother hopes that Ao Dai will never be forgotten and people will always love and respect it.
Mind like an artist’s and character like a businesswoman’s
It can be said that you are both an artist and a designer with an artful career. However, life is too bustling nowadays, so artists must effort to do business. So does your creativeness decrease?
I have my mind like an artist’s and my character like a businesswoman’s. My life is the combination of both but I always know how to balance them. When I design I live with my artful mind. When I do business, I know which designs are expected by market, which ones are customers’ favorites and which ones will be introduced in catwalks.
You have participated in lots of cultural exchanging events and introduced Ao Dai to many countries. So how have Vietnamese traditional clothes been welcomed by foreigners?
It is my honor; thanks to Ao Dai, I can visit lots of countries in the world, participate lots of cultural exchanging events and wherever our traditional clothes appear, they are welcomed warmly. Wherever Ao Dai appear, the words Viet Nam appear; they are also well-known in the world because they are Vietnamese traditional clothes.
You have been attached to Vietnamese Ao Dai for a long time, so how do you feel then?
After those visits, I always feel moved and proud. It makes me love Ao Dai more and I acknowledge that I must be more responsible for making Vietnamese Ao Dai more charming.
Besides designing Ao Dai for middle-aged women, Ngan An has more and more aimed at the youth. What are differences in designing for both ages?
Besides designing for middleaged women, I would like to make young people like Ao Dai in order to avoid the oblivion of traditional clothes. Designs for young people look younger, more active so that they suit the modern life but still have the charm. I hope that the beloved image of Vietnamese Ao Dai will attach to Vietnamese people forever.
What have you gained after a long time effort wholeheartedly in designing Ao Dai?
After such a long time, all I have gained depending on Ao Dai. My mind and my character are both influenced a lot by Ao Dai. I see that, the closer to Ao Dai I am, the closer I live with my Ao Dai designing passion, the more graceful and elegant I am.
On the occasion of The 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long, Ngan An honor to participate 2Ao Dai events. What have you prepared for them?
My contributions for Vietnamese Ao Dai have been recognized. On the occasion of The 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long, Ngan An honor to participate 2 Ao Dai events; i.e., Dem Ho Guom huyen ao (The fanciful Night of Sword Lake) on October 1 and Thang Long Thanh pho rong bay (Thang Long-The Flying Dragon City) on October 10 at My Dinh national stadium. Preparing for those big events, I have wholeheartedly designed 600 Ao Dai. I hope that Vietnamese Ao Dai will be really honored in those nights and viewers will be impressed much by Ao Dai. I hope to contribute my efforts in the success of The 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long.
View Vietnamese News: NTK Anh Thư – Luôn gìn giữ và phát huy hai chữ “Ngân An”