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  • Writer's pictureVyy Bui


Updated: May 1, 2022

I once thought the road to fashion was a smooth path, but of course it turned out rather bumpy. I started learning sewing when I was 5-6 years old, when I figured out how to sew clothes for dolls by myself. Even though I had a deep interest in the art of fashion since long ago, I only recently realized that fashion was the best career option for me. Moreover, no one in my family had pursued an artistic degree; at school, there were nary a student who pursued the design major. Because of this, I have long been treading my career path in solitude.

Mai Le Lan Y - freshman of fashion design at LCDF Ha Noi

My parents still always tried to provide for me and support my passions, but because they were not used to the design career choice, they wanted me to choose a more financially safe option in the beginning: graphic design. Even so, I didn’t realize how much fashion meant to me until high school. Since then, I have visualised what my biggest dream was: to establish a self-made fashion brand in Vietnam.

Since then, I was determined to understand what made an excellent fashion portfolio; I taught myself how to draw, human proportions, internships at sewing factories, and finally to enter fashion design universities. In the beginning, my dad wanted me to study abroad in America so I chose the international school path and took my bachelor studies there. However, to do even those, I had to try my best to get a decent scholarship. During the first 4 months of online classes from Drexel, I realized that for a long time I was chasing someone else’s dream, not mine.

As for my career path and my family's financial situation, studying in the US is a consequence of my wrong orientation and outdated and wrong views that I have been taught since childhood: “Study in the US, because it's not possible to thrive in Vietnam as an entrepreneur."; “The art industry in Vietnam is not developed”. Vietnam's creative industry is not perfect, but it is certainly not inferior to any other country. I have soon recognized the diversity, beauty and skill of the local artist community, designers, make-up artists and more right here in Vietnam. Even though the creative industry is not “developed”, I believe that our new generation will strengthen it in the future. After that, I decided to change my path completely and transfer to LCDF at Hanoi with the desire to advance my career in my own home country.

That does not mean I will never study abroad, as I applied for the UK exchange program at LCDF for my third year. I still want the opportunity to learn from other countries for my career. However, I will study abroad only when I really want to, when it’s appropriate and necessary for my career.

Some layout makeup of Lan Y

On (SFX) makeup, it originated as an interest, a long-standing passion, abandoned for fear of financial instability. I knew that makeup as a career will be very unstable and difficult, and (like fashion design) very costly in tuition fees and equipment, especially SFX.

However, after I made many SFX makeup layouts on MXH, I not only received optimistic and positive criticism from people in VN and overseas, I also found my SFX community in VN. I was truly taken aback and full of joy and it encouraged me to keep making more artistic work in the future.

Because makeup and fashion always has a strong connection with each other that whenever I think of a makeup concept, I don’t want to think of only the face; I want to create a complete character and bring the viewer into the completely different world they live in. Maybe SFX makeup originated from a more horror-based goal but I want to step outside of that comfort zone and experiment with different techniques and concepts.

Every look brings a styling aspect of fashion, makeup, hair, photography and sometimes I would have to design a costume from head to toe.

Makeup and fashion both are the vehicles I use to express myself, create magical stories, characters and myths, and satisfy my imagination and passion for art.

To me, finding my own style was a long process that was in no way easy, and it will always change on top of that. Before realizing fully what my style was defined by, I would study other people’s styles closely, always sharpening my skills and never stop learning experiences of art in history, through reading books or online sources or from other people.

Of course, in the course of finding my own style, I have met many obstacles of the psyche. I always feared that I wasn’t skilled enough or confident enough, and most importantly that my style will not be met with approval by others. These are things I am still struggling with, but I have more or less defined what my personal style is and I always fight against these negative thoughts to bring work that is the most reflective of my character. Only then will my work be successful and touch the viewer’s soul in the most honest way.

Even though I am still a freshman and there are many things I haven’t learned or need to improve, I know I will make many mistakes in my career. Even so, I know I will always learn from my failures, I will always have my family, friends and the art community to support me and I will persist and believe in myself. To not give up and be ready to strive for our dreams to be real.

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