April 22, 2019

Nhu Duong

The Vietnamese-born Swedish designer

Words Sam Kavanagh

Photos Marie Angeletti

Establishing herself within the fashion circle of Berlin, Nhu Duong has made an impact on the lives of many style conscious wearers across the globe since arriving in the German capital 8 years ago. The Vietnamese-born Swedish designer has spent the past years creating forward-thinking garments, and a brand which merges practices of art, fashion and performance that allows you an immersive experience.   

SK

What process do you go through when you’re approaching your work?

ND

The starting point for most collections is some kind of technique or craft that I am interested in that moment. I often appropriate a certain craft and push it towards the point of abstraction. I like this idea of transformation or clothes as activity.

SK

How important do you find art influencing your creativity?

ND

Fashion is at the cross-point of many cultural fields, ranging from art and music to architecture and business. I think this is where the aspect of collaboration becomes important in my work, allowing me to open up my process and question the limits of fashion. 

SK

As art and fashion become more blurred, how would you describe your practice of work?

ND

I consider my self a fashion designer. It is hard to compare art and fashion, as they both have their own history and follow their own logic. However, this does not mean that fashion and art should never touch or flirt with each other, as they have and always had an influence on each other. It is fascinating to see how the context can change the perception of your work.

SK

You were born in Ho Chi Minh City, grew up in Sweden and now reside in Berlin: Where has each element of your experiences through the different cultures inspired or had an impact in creating your aesthetic and brand?

ND

My background influences me personally. You may even recognize different cultural influences in my work, but this is not really something I really think about or try to thermalize. My points of reference are much more complex and fragmented. My work is more influenced by the community around me. However for me it is about opening myself up to new influences and a field where the boundaries between different forms of expression and cultures blur rather than thermalizing or illustrating things one might already know.  

SK

Berlin as a fashion capital has been described as very small and niche if you compare to other major cities, perhaps stagnant. What would you say Berlin is doing right and wrong in terms of setting up designers and a scene for the industry?

ND

Berlin is like a blank canvas. It is this openness that is at once a blessing and a curse. In terms of fashion it is not really connected to a fashion style or a certain aesthetic. For me this creates a certain distance from the fashion industry and allowed me to approach my practice in an open manner — connecting with other practices such as art and music. In this regard it is pretty good to reinvent yourself, as I would rather be known for my designs than my location.