The flip side of the fast fashion coin is the constant search for something unique, handcrafted, and, well, slow. Slow fashion keeps its own pace and transcends trends - and THU THU is just the brand to fill that place in your wardrobe. Using vintage fabrics and textiles from her native Vietnam, designer Thuy Duong Nguyen creates contemporary pieces that really pop. Whether it’s a vibrant trim on a tailored pair of shorts or a full-on colour-saturated biker jacket, each piece has an unmistakeable charm that suggests unforgettable journeys to exotic places.
What are your design signatures?
The use of vintage fabrics and textiles sourced from the H'mong people of Sapa - a mountainous region in Vietnam. These fabrics are peppered throughout my designs - in standalone statement pieces such as a Sapa Biker Jacket or as detailing on printed blouses and shorts.
Could you explain the concept behind the brand?
THU THU incorporates traditional fabrics in contemporary ways - mixing colours, fabrics and prints to create something aesthetically striking.
Who is the THU THU girl?
She's young and fresh - not trend-led, but is drawn to unique pieces. I love a girl who is not afraid to experiment with contrasting patterns, textures and colour - that's what THU THU is all about.
What can we expect from the THU THU label in the next 3-5 years?
Right now I'm working to expanding the presence of the label in the UK, so the next step will be securing key stockists worldwide then eventually opening my own London boutique.
Given the nature of the fabric you work with, how sustainable is the concept? How can you expand whilst using these rare precious fabrics from Vietnam?
These fabrics have been around for many years, and are so integral to the H'mong people that they continue to be produced at a level that, fortunately, far exceeds my production requirements. I'm also always interested exploring in heritage fabrics that reflect various other cultures and thinking about how to incorporate them into my work.
Why do you think there is an appetite for a brand like THU THU at the moment?
I started working with Sapa fabric before the appetite for tribal and prints really exploded, which undoubtedly helped my brand stand out. But the collection also incorporates softer silks and tailored pieces in solid colours to provide balance and femininity.
What celebrity would you most like to see wearing THU THU?
There are so many I admire, but right now I'm loving Azealia Banks - she's fearless!
Where do you look for inspiration?
I always keep my eyes open, as you never know where inspiration can strike. For SS13 I've been really inspired by artist Gerhard Richter, whose experimentation in colour and abstraction have had a big influence on my prints.
What’s your favourite piece you’ve designed to date?
Definitely the Sapa Biker Jacket - it's my signature piece and also the catalyst for my first collection.
You’ve lived in Germany and Vietnam. Where do you live now and where would you say has had the strongest influence on your design?
I currently live in East London, and although my brand is definitely been shaped by my Vietnamese and German heritage, I really love London's vibe. People are really open to experimentation here, which I find so interesting.
What’s next for THU THU?
Putting the finishing touches on SS13; and gearing up for a state-side trip to New York and LA in October to generate interest for my collection - watch this space!!