It's safe to say that the fashion industry pays host to some of the world's most creative powerhouses, and with their talents comes personal perspective, memorable (design) aesthetic and a unique voice. As such, it takes a truly great designer to encapsulate all three of these elements and couple them with their respective talents. While this is difficult to do, fashion designer Vivienne Tam proves it is not impossible.
A graduate of Hong Kong Poly University, Tam immediately relocated to New York City to pursue her dreams in fashion. She says, "I came with nothing but a duffle bag filled with fabrics and a lot of determination."
It didn't take long for Tam to make her mark in the city that never sleeps with her culture-infused pieces and an emphasis on bold colors and prints. In her most recent spring 2013 RTW collection, Tam was heavily inspired by the five natural elements and large, in-your-face geometric shapes.
Tam launched her career in the 1990s, introducing her eponymous signature, Mao and Buddha collections, which have entertained numerous clientele, from celebrities to urban-dwellers alike. She is credited with having a "longstanding dedication to innovation and exotic imagery," which has contributed to the organic growth of her diverse fan-base.
In this interview, find out more about Tam's design process, and how the connection between fashion and technology has furthered her brand and conversation with her customers.
How would you describe Vivienne Tam as a brand? What do you consider to be the aesthetic of Vivienne Tam?
VT: Sleek and feminine. My aesthetic combines Eastern and Western traditions focusing on the Cheongsam, bold prints, appliqué and embellishments.
Tell us about your design process.
VT: Much of my inspiration comes from travel -- the sights, structures, people and cultures. I am constantly thinking of new ideas; my mind never stops. While I am designing one collection, I begin thinking of the next.
What do you consider the brand's great accomplishment thus far?
VT: Being able to share my background and culture through design.
Who is the Vivienne Tam woman?
VT: Elegant, sophisticated and cultured. She is a modern woman who expresses herself through fashion.
How much of a presence do you feel technology has in the fashion industry? How can young people looking to break into the industry use technology to their advantage?
VT: My fashion-meets-technology collaborations are very important to me -- the two industries are intertwined. Students should use technology to learn about the development of fashion. It's a huge advantage today to be able to access fashion history with a click of the mouse.
What are your thoughts on social media? Has it influenced your business?
VT: Social media allows me to develop a personal connection with people around the globe, and it creates a bond between me and my customers. It really connects us to a global audience, which I find very inspiring.
In addition the above endeavors, Tam's notoriety has landed her in design archives from prestigious international museums including the Andy Warhol Museum, The Museum at FIT and Metropolitan Museum of Art.
It's clear that innovation plays an obvious role in Tam's ever-evolving brand. As a strong business woman and eclectic designer, Vivienne Tam has earned the reputation as a modern designer who has and will continue to create clothes meeting the needs of many.