The second in my series of “Ones to Watch” introduces you to the designer Nhu Duong and her eponymous label. Duong made her Stockholm Fashion Week debut in 2009 after winning the first Mercedes-Benz Young Fashion Industry award the year before and has steadily been garnering buzz in the Swedish fashion scene ever since.
Born in Saigon to a kung-fu master and a tailoress, Duong immigrated to Sweden at the age of seven. Her designs have a familiar Swedish minimalist aesthetic, but there are also definite hints of sportswear and streetwear influences. What sets her apart, however, is the way she constantly challenges the wearer to create something new for themselves with her designs. In the notes for her S/S 2012 collection entitled “Coding,” Duong fervently encourages us to create our own “system of conventions.”
She plays between commerciality and high fashion, mixing unusual fabrics with luxurious ones and blurring the lines of casualwear and formalwear. But we’re not talking about finding that Swedish sense of lagom, where just enough of either side produces some sort of happy medium. There’s a tension to Duong’s clothes that makes them incredibly stimulating – to the body and mind.
Later this month, Duong will explore the edges of commerciality once again with the launch of a new clothing line with her good friend and Swedish blog star turned magazine editor Elin Kling. Called Nowhere, it seems to be based more on the kind of clothes Kling favours (loose jumpers, menswear-inspired trousers, body-con dresses and pointy stilettos), but with a Nhu Duong cerebral touch. In other words, chic, effortless and intelligent wardrobe basics.
How Nowhere will stack up against other Swedish labels remains to be seen, but with a small feature on Vogue.com already (and a countdown on the Nowhere website), anticipation is certainly running high. And definitely makes Nhu Duong one to watch.