Starting his journey in New York before making his way back home to Vietnam, award-winning fashion designer Tai Le talks through his brand TAILE and how he’s reinventing the concept of luxury fashion.
Born and bred in Hanoi, Vietnam, fashion designer Tai Le learnt the ropes at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, setting up his sophisticated label TAILE with its first womenswear collection whilst he was still a student there in the spring of 2016. After receiving the Student of The Year Award in 2017, he was quickly picked up by Harper’s Bazaar and ELLE Vietnam, catapulting him to his next stop at Vietnam’s Designer Fashion Week in 2016 and then Hong Kong’s CENTRESTAGE in 2018. Today, the designer is pushing forward with a fashion brand inspired by modern architecture that hopes to reframe the fashion scene in his hometown and beyond. With his own studio in Thao Dien, Vietnam and collaborating with concept stores globally, including Flying Solo in Soho, New York, Novelty Lane in Hong Kong, and #Fisheyes Fashion in London, Tai Le talks Hive Life through his journey that has only just begun.
As a designer, Tai Le has always been mesmerised by architectural pieces that feature geometrical shapes and futuristic, sporty designs in pastel colours. He explains, “Modern architecture has always captivated my interest. I create my own fabrics that are then produced in Osaka, Japan due to their high-quality technology that does not carry any harm to the environment and the workers.” Producing fabric with cutting-edge technology to maintain the highest quality, the designer carries this approach across all his designs to make sure all his products are wearable, durable and comfortable without damaging the environment. With designs aimed at the youths of today ranging from 26-35 years old, when we look at his brand, the designer explains, “The three key elements that you are supposed to know about my brand are: modern, sporty and futuristic.”
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After moving back to Asia from America, the designer had his eye on kickstarting his brand in Hong Kong, which led him to take the plunge and present his designs during CENTRESTAGE 2018 and Hong Kong Fashion Week F/W 2019. “I chose Hong Kong as it is the fastest-growing country in Asia today in terms of business development,” he starts. “I introduced my Spring 2019 collection last September and the buyers from Whitelisted by Novelty Lane, an independent boutique that connects brands all over Asia, asked if they could present our collection in their stores,” Tai Le continues.
For Tai Le, the definition of luxury is something out of the ordinary. “I don’t design clothes for women who walk down the red carpet. That’s a different kind of luxury. Mine comes from the inside – the luxury of the material, fabrics, zippers, construction and sewing methods being used,” he explains. “Unfortunately, when purchasing a garment, shoppers tend to ignore its construction, leaving behind the whole process and moving their attention towards the end-product,” explains the designer. In addition, he sees fashion as an often exclusive medium – and not in a good way – and here, too, he wants to deliver: “Large, medium or small, I want all sizes and shapes to be comfortable in wearing what I make.”
Three years into its journey, the Vietnamese fashion brand has grown quickly, already expanding beyond Vietnam to concept stores in New York, Hong Kong, Barcelona and London. “I wouldn’t say we are successful yet; this is just the start and we’re always working harder and harder every day,” says the designer whose next stop is New York Fashion Week on September 2019, where he will be presenting a trunk show inspired by modern Japanese architecture. For those venturing into the highly-competitive industry, Tai’s key advice would be to always “stick to the plan.”