Berlin-based designer Nhu Duong knows the feels of changing who you are and how you feel through clothing all too well. In fact, the SS18 collection of her namesake label explores just that liberty: “The freedom and the act of becoming someone else through clothing,” in her words.
Producing pieces that are not assigned to traditional ideas of culture, gender and body type is a common thread through Nhu’s work. This SS18 collection focusses specifically on allowing movement on all bodies and merging leisure wear with evening wear, formed on the idea that “You are not what you are, but what you can be.” We are inspired!
To celebrate the collection, we asked Nhu Duong to fill out our acclaimed collection survey:
Name: Nhu Duong
Spirt animal: Night creature
Where are you from and how has this place, or places you’ve travelled to, influenced your work?
I was born in Ho Chi Minh City and immigrated with my parents to Sweden when I was 7 years old. When you move to a new country as a child — as I immigrated from Vietnam to Sweden — you naturally try to adjust to your new surroundings and to a certain degree reinvent yourself. Fashion can be a very direct expression of that, taking things you may know from one cultural context and putting them in another. Since I was a child I was drawn to shiny materials and objects, making no distinction whether things are real or fake, kitsch or expensive. This is probably has to do with my Vietnamese heritage, where for example plastic flowers often more popular than real ones. I think this fixed idea of identity or notion what is real is what I often try to challenge.
Any personal beliefs or values that are meaningful to you?
Can you tell me a little bit of background on yourself… how and when you started your label, and what you were doing before?
I moved to Berlin after graduating fashion college in Stockholm. I wanted to be independent and challenge my own creative process and experiment with different way to do fashion. 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.
What type of person are you designing for?
Through my work and NHU DUONG as a label, I aim to question traditional boundaries of culture, gender, body types and class in favour of a more fluid notion of identity.
If the collection was a colour: Earth tones with a green accent
If it was a mood: Displaced
If it was an animal: Moth
If it was a language: Vietnamese with a Swedish accent
If it was a place: Nature
If it was a time: The night
If it was a song: Hallucinations – dvsn
If it was a season: SS18
If it was a smell: Cedar, amber and mothball
If it was a texture: Crinkled and crushed
If it was a quote: You are not what you are, but what you can be.