Forging her way in FashionWritten by Sarah N
With multiple stores and celebrity collaborations already under her belt, Yen Vu’s Vietnamese fashion brand Cocosin might have started as a vague proposition, but there’s little haphazard about it now. Read her story here.
29-year-old Yen Vu might have launched a clothing brand almost by accident, but in the six years since doing so, she’s cemented an idea that’s seen her label Cocosin become one of Vietnam’s homegrown fashion success stories. Hailing from Vũng Tàu City, the entrepreneur graduated from the Royal Melbourne Institution of Technology with a degree in Merchandising Commerce, landing a job soon after in digital marketing at an e-commerce website. Just a year in, however, she realised that the regular office gig wasn’t for her. Without backing and whilst learning on the go, she launched her label with not much more than a passion for fashion and an appetite for change. Now, Cocosin sells its own-brand ready to wear and accessories label via their seven stores across four Vietnamese cities and their growing e-commerce business.
“The reason I wanted to start with fashion was because me and my friends were office women, and we loved fashion!” explains Yen. “We didn’t have any background in fashion, we were just trying to get out from the office job and try something new.” What that looked like originally was very similar to other retail concepts in Vietnam. Importing clothing from countries such as Thailand, Yen set about selling them, sometimes via events in her own home. What set her apart, however, was her presentation. Carefully shooting lookbooks with a certain gloss and shine, Cocosin began to develop its own vibe. Two years down the line, Yen took this further, delving into manufacturing Cocosin into a truly homegrown fashion brand producing clothing under its own label.
Celebrity collaborations have been a key part of Cocosin’s success story. In 2015 they debuted their IT GIRL collaboration with Vietnamese actress and singer Angela Phuong Trinh. “After this success, I figured out that my vision was to embrace women’s confidence through fashion. Cocosin is chic, urban, versatile and trendy. We want to inspire women to pursue their dreams,” Yen explains. Soon after, she collaborated with Vietnam’s Miss Universe 2015, Pham Huong, on a collection named GIRLBOSS. “I was inspired by her strong and confident look. She attended a lot of competitions and didn’t win, but she never quit, and in 2015 she finally won.” Next up they are working with another celebrity Jessica Minh Anh. “In September, we are doing a fashion show in Paris with her. She saw what I was doing with Pham Huong and wanted to do the same. She founded her J Model business representing models who do catwalk runways, fashion shows, campaigns, photoshoots etc. Besides that, her unique achievements include being able to host her own fashion shows annually in iconic landmark buildings such as the Eiffel Tower. Our collaboration is called GIRLS RUN THE WORLD.”
In terms of long-term goals, Yen has ambitions beyond the fashion world. With a keen interest in design, she has overseen the interiors and management of a series of Airbnb rentals in Saigon and now her sights are set on a home decor store called Yoishi. She is also working on a menswear clothing brand. And, as for Cocosin, there are plans to expand to other Southeast Asian countries, with an e-commerce store already up and running in Thailand. It’s all proof that application and dedicated learning on the go can get you to places you once couldn’t imagine.