GUARDIAN OF LANH MY A

27/11/2019 14:22

More than simply a designer, Vo Viet Chung has spent 25 years restoring and preserving rare traditional fabrics such as Lanh My A silk.


Vo Viet Chung has been passionate about making áo dài since his early days. At the age of 18, he started to work night shifts as an assistant for Saigon’s most prestigious tailor shops while pursuing a degree in Economics. In 1994, he launched his eponymous brand after tireless nights of apprenticeship.

In 1999, Vo decided to study abroad in Milan, Italy and Denmark. After acquiring valuable knowledge from world-renowned designers, he dazzled local and international fashion lovers with a collection of traditional Vietnamese áo dài made of a fabric called Lanh My A.

Vo Viet Chung was the first modern designer to restore and use Lanh My A, a rare fabric made of silk from silkworms and dyed in the resin of mac nua (Diospyros mollis). The fabric’s distinct characteristics are its glossy black color and the comfort it brings to its wearers, as it remains cool in summer and warm in winter. In the past, only the wealthy of the Six Provinces of Southern Vietnam could afford this top-of-the-line fabric.

The intertwined fate between Vo and this fabric originated from his own motto: “Materials are the core of fashion, not designs, natural materials are the most prominent factor in bringing perfection to high-end outfits.” Vo’s experience with the rare silk came by chance as he was searching for materials for one of his collections. The designer stumbled upon an old family photo and was impressed by the black pants which his grandmother and mother wore. After learning that those pants were made of a silk named Lanh My A, he was met with the sad news that it had disappeared from the market for many years.

However, Vo Viet Chung was not someone who gave up easily. Even though the process to research and restore this prized material was arduous, he ultimately fulfilled his wish and in 2005, he launched his first áo dài collection made from this “national treasure” material, called “Dreaming of Asia.” 

The collection quickly turned into a phenomenon in the fashion industry and since this event, Lanh My A has become synonymous with the designer’s name. It has also helped him to prove himself not only to local audiences but international ones as well. In addition to his successful revival of Lanh My A, he also contributed greatly in introducing to the public mac nua fabric and the hoolfabric of Southern Khmer people, both extremely precious fabrics which also became scarce.

After 25 years of contributions to the fashion industry, Vo Viet Chung has racked up a plethora of awards, including five Golden Apricot Blossom Awards for Best Designer, top 10 World Designers at Leonard Simpson’s 10 Best Dressed Award and above all, a UNESCO award for his efforts in the restoration and development of Lanh My A and Vietnamese traditional culture through áo dài in 2007. Because of such achievements, he is known as “the designer of the national spirit” by many of his fans.

Chau Giang

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