PHAM HOANG YEN | FROM A STUDENT OF TWO UNIVERSITIES TO A PROFESSIONAL STYLIST
Ms. Hoang Yen, who started out as a Fashion student at LCDF Hanoi and also majored in International Business Administration at Foreign Trade University, is now a famous stylist in the profession. I really admire the way you always strive for your work and your views when studying, but your double major has a lot in common with mine! If you are curious how she balances these two fields, let's find out in this interview!
Can you share a memorable memory of yourself at LCDF?
LCDF gives me many opportunities, one of which is going to support seniors at the LCDF Fashion Week graduation ceremony. When I had the opportunity to support Ms. Kieu Bao Tram in my freshman year, I really liked it and tried to support Ms. Tram as best I could. I was more surprised when Ms. Tram's collection was selected to perform at Vietnam International Fashion Week that year, so I was also fortunate to be trusted by Ms. Tram to continue to become a companion on a larger stage - the largest in Vietnam at the time. Currently, we two are still very close and always support each other at every stage, big or small
What is your secret to getting the highest scholarship of the Faculty of Fashion Design at LCDF?
I think I know how to take advantage of all opportunities and resources around. Before, I grew up in the countryside, so I didn't have much exposure to art. When I made my resume and portfolio, I was quite confused. In return, thanks to that insecurity, I always made use of all the resources around me to create, from old magazines, scraps of fabric that I can ask for, or even the beads on an old shirt to include in the portfolio. I always felt it “was not enough” and “couldn't it be better?” That's what makes me always push myself to work. So when they received their resumes and portfolios, the teachers were quite surprised by the number of works, the variety of raw materials used and the different artistic languages: drawing, illustration, collage, photography, and canvas paintings. Until now, I am still very proud and cherish my then portfolio. Even though many people ask to buy it, for me it is priceless work.
What were your difficulties while attending 2 universities at the same time?
The biggest difficulty is time management, due to the geographical distance and overlapping schedules. I still tried to maintain scholarship-worthy grades at LCDF, in addition to having to work part-time to cover living expenses. Recalling that time, I admit I feel admiration towards myself, saving every single tick of time in the day to complete the work. For example, when it comes to lunch, I try to eat faster than everyone else so I can go to class and do my homework in the morning. But thanks to the intensity of university and work, I learned how to manage my time effectively as well as the endurance at work to apply it to the present. Either way, I still feel like I've learned a lot from the hardships, and it's all well worth it.
How beneficial is it to your future plans by studying 2 majors at the same time?
It is an overview of the profession and life. I studied business administration and fashion design. It opened me up to all the different areas: advertising, marketing, agency environment, production house, business, community, entertainment,... that I am fortunate to grace in the profession, learn skills, interact with many different environments, and more importantly, collect those valuable experiences to build a business of my own. When entering the industry, I also met a lot of people working in other industries, negative people who would think that being in the opposite industry or two industries is a waste of time. In my experience, the more "touch points" you can take advantage of, the faster you can draw a career map to locate yourself in work as well as in life.
What made you choose the fashion industry in general and the stylist career in particular?
I feel fashion and art is the DESTINY as well as the MISSION of my life from the moment I first realized the things about life itself. I knew how to draw before I could write. And since then, I've continued to nurture and immerse myself in it every second of every minute. Actually, I still remember vividly when I was a girl in 3rd grade, sitting in English class and flipping the back of my notebook to doodle clothes and models, being discovered and scolded by the teacher for it. Or the 12th grade girl walking in the middle of the school yard and imagining that she was coming out from backstage to say goodbye after a grand show. But when she opened her eyes, she had been living the dream she had since she was born.
For you, what are the most important qualities when being a stylist?
They are creativity (uniqueness, artistic talents, a prerequisite when making art), sensitivity (to grasp, harmonize, adapt) and progressiveness (constantly cultivate, learn, and listen).
In the process of working with clients, do you have any secret to capture their personal style?
The first step is to research customer information. I have to find out who my customers are, what their vision is and what elements will best suit their vision. Research to "know me, know them", cleverly put elements of personal fashion language into customers' products while still conveying the right message, making them them but in a better version, not another human being. Helping others love and believe in their own beauty is a stylist's most beautiful job.
The fashion industry is inherently challenging and competitive, how did you create your own color and become more prominent?
The rather surprising answer is, listen to others. It sounds quite contradictory, but Yen feels that by listening to the ideas and continuous feedback from the team: model, photographer, makeup artist, ... to customers, I can find other perspectives on the problem. As well as the product, if I stick to my personal opinion, I will never be able to realize that problem. I searched for solutions to neutralize, and surprisingly, they all brought more positive results than expected. Diversifying the artistic prism will help me find inspiration from others, and right from my other self.
What are your inspirations and motivations that help you keep your passion at work? Who is the most influential person in the fashion industry?
As I have shared, I am very fortunate to have found my passion and to "live and die" with it until now. I feel like I'm living in IKIGAI every day, living and working with fashion and art, grateful and satisfied, eager to wake up every morning to be immersed in my own real-life Wonderland. Most importantly, this work makes Yen believe in herself more, believe in life and bring value to many other people: customers, colleagues, daily spectators who still follow and support each product, or employees, or audiences who are also dreaming of one day living the dream of fashion.
The person who has the most influence on me is my mother. She was a teacher, but also the one who brought the first scraps of fabric, taught herself how to hold a needle, thread, sew clothes for dolls. My childhood was the days of playing around under my mother's sewing table drawer, the times when I was eager to be led by my mother to the fabric market in the city, the image of my mother borrowing money to buy a plane ticket for me to go to Saigon for a drawing competition at 16 years old.
Thanks to always being supported by her mother like that, Yen knows that she has to try her best to burn with this passion, working with and even more than everything she has.
Knowing that you have collaborated and worked with many artists, has anyone left a special impression on you?
It is very fortunate for me to have had the opportunity to work with many great artists and stars, and many of them carry inspirational stories. But perhaps the most meaningful was in L'Officiel's campaign last March, when was able to work with Khanh Vy.
Nearly 3 years ago, I was also a member of the Olympia community, and I happened to meet Khanh Vy when I just stepped out of the S14 studio. I had the opportunity to talk and take pictures with Ms. Vy. At that time I hadn’t become a stylist yet and Vy the youngest MC of Road to Olympia.
After nearly 3 years, to meet Khanh Vy again in a new position, a new role in a place that used to mean a lot to me, and especially to contribute to Khanh Vy's first fashion magazine photo shoot is a meaningful memory. All of these are proof of a long journey of unceasing efforts, efforts and passions of young people, only to meet again at unexpected points.
As the founder of PHY Styling Agency, can you share a bit about your branding journey as well as the inspiration, ideas and goals of the brand?
PHY Styling Agency is the place to mark the transformation of its "professionalization", no longer being too voluptuous, arbitrary and capricious in art. PHY will segment each customer file as well as certain service segments: Personal Portrait, Commercial, Lookbook, KV, MV, TVC,... so that everything forms a more systematic apparatus. My goal is to build a different and newer Agency model in the Northern market, providing professional, comprehensive and effective consulting packages and image solutions.
Currently, PHY is focusing on promoting Commercial and large art projects that need strong resources such as: MV / TVC. Hopefully next time PHY will be more known, trusted and chosen to accompany in promising projects.
What made you cooperate with L'Officiel?
Yen thinks the biggest reason why she is seen by the creative directors and the team of L'Officiel Vietnam is probably identifying her artistic DNA in each product. Next is a progressive working attitude: listening attentively and respecting each individual from the team to the customers. For me, having done art, standing in a team where everyone has the same status and responsibility for the project, each person is built for the ultimate goal of a quality product.
Knowing that you and the PHY team participated in the project “Women of Our Time” by L’Officiel Vietnam, can you share a little about some of your working memories? For you, what is the most meaningful message that the project brings?
I am really happy to be able to contribute to such a meaningful project. I love women very much; I love, respect and admire talented, strong women who are good at domestic chores. That love comes from my mother, a strong inspiration to the present me, always trying to become strong, independent, affirming my mark in my career as well as in life. So, when it comes to working with the inspirational women on L'Officiel's campaign, there's nothing but joy and happiness. I can contribute to beautify the sisters, make them shine and be the most confident in public, making that aura even more brilliant.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to pursue fashion in general and styling in particular?
A word that I always repeat over and over to my subordinates as well as young people who need my advice: "Make the most of every opportunity with all you have". That's exactly what I'm most excited about so far. Take advantage of every opportunity by being professional, dedicated to everyone, from the smallest clients, to doing more than what others expect, and always saying “Let me try” instead of “No”.
Can you share about your plans and intentions in the near future?
Also happy to share and chat with The Fashion Valley and Vy today. I in particular and PHY Styling in general have many plans in the near future, most recently the MV and 1st Album of female singer Thieu Bao Tram will be officially released on April 11, everyone. Furthermore, when PHY has made its own foundation, I will no longer limit myself as an art director or visual stylist, and will try to "break the norm" with a more difficult position than art director in MV or TVC productions. I hope when that happens, Yen will always be loved, watched and supported by everyone for her art products.