Kevin Nguyen, an apparel design and manufacturing major at Texas Tech, said he never imagined he would ever be as involved with fashion as he is now. In fact, the designer said, he never saw himself majoring in fashion design at all.
Nguyen is originally from Vietnam. He said his parents wanted him to major in business and become successful in that specific field. He said originally he was going to go to school in Vietnam, but after learning that one of his family’s friends had been successful overseas at Texas Tech, Nguyen’s parents thought it would be a great opportunity for him to pursue an education in the U.S.
“When I was in high school I never thought I was going to be studying abroad, but after I graduated some friends of my parents told them that there was a good school in the U.S.,” said Nguyen. “They were talking about Tech. They had a friend who was a professor at Tech and that’s why my parents decided to send me here.”
Nguyen said he liked the U.S. a lot more than Vietnam. He said the lifestyle in America is more carefree and that people can do whatever they want.
He said coming to Texas was a bit of a culture shock, but he found it fairly easy to adapt.
“The most difficult thing for me is the language. I was really bad at English in high school,” said Nguyen. “Like, super bad. I had to spend a year here just to learn English before I could apply for Tech.”
Ultimately, he said, he wants to end up in New York City for fashion and for the busy aspect of the city. Nguyen said he has also considered applying to graduate school in the Big Apple at either the Fashion Institute of Technology or The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.
Nguyen said he really enjoys designing and over the past year he has really grown as a designer. His favorite piece that he has designed so far is a gown he is working on for contest (an apparel design class) and the art wear that he did for another apparel design class over the summer.
He described the art wear dress to be challenging. Nguyen said part of the design contained multiple braids that took what seemed like months. He said luckily he and the rest of his peers had class from Monday through Thursday for three hours each day to work on the project. When asked if he would consider apparel design a stressful major, he paused.
“Yeah, it’s crazy,” Nguyen said. “But if you love it, you don’t mind all of the crazy and being busy. You’ve got to love it.”
After being so successful in the ADM department at Tech and familiarizing himself with America in such a short amount of time, he said the sky is the limit.
Nguyen said he has high hopes for his future. He said he wants his designs to be instantly recognized by anyone who sees them. Nguyen said his favorite designers portray the same aesthetic: Alexander McQueen and Victoria Beckham. So what exactly does he envision for his own designs?
“First of all, I want it to be wearable. I want my designs to place somewhere between artistic and wearable. It’s a hard question,” Nguyen said. “And of course, I want my clothing to tell my story and show my style. Just like when people look at McQueen’s designs and know it’s his, I want the same for mine.”
The way he describes his style is similar to his own. During our interview Nguyen was wearing a jacket of red, yellow, and white. Think high school letterman. It had a staple yellow smiley face on it. He was also wearing a backwards-flat bill hat. He literally looked too cool for school. When asked where he acquired such a staple piece, he smiled. He said he got it from Vietnam.
Being from overseas, how different is the fashion, really?
Nguyen said in Vietnam the fashion is completely different than American style. He said here in the U.S., style is so simple. Nguyen said everyone has a staple piece of clothing such as a jacket, t-shirt, or jeans. But, he said, in Asia the really popular style is unisex clothing so one can’t really tell if the piece is male or female.
After talking about fashion overseas, Nguyen appeared hesitant when considering if he would ever go back after finishing school in America. He said he would love to live in New York if given the chance, but it’s all about wherever can jump-start his career.
“I like to dream big. I want to work for Chanel, Dior,” he said. “I like Dior, but if I’m lucky enough I could work for McQueen. McQueen is overseas in England.”