By Sandy Escalante
My-Linh Tran doesn’t shy from boldness in her designs, using any colour of the spectrum and combining it with different shapes, patterns, and fabrics to express how fun and unique garment design can be. Tran’s thesis collection, SEINE, is a modern contemporary line with clear East-Asian influences from Vietnam, China, and Japan.
SEINE will be unveiled at 2018 The Show presented by Tamoda Apparel Inc., on April 19 and 20 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) new purpose-built Wilson School of Design building. The beautiful and innovative $36-million building houses a range of design programs including the fashion-design-and-technology program. Thirty-one other lines by KPU fashion design and technology students will also be showcased.
Sandy Escalante: Describe your collection.
My-Linh Tran: SEINE is a collection that takes influences from East Asia, specifically Vietnam, China, and Japan, and incorporates them into more modern, contemporary garments.
SE: What made you want to become a designer?
MT: At the age of 21, I realized that my dreams of becoming a world-renowned singer wouldn’t happen, so I decided to become the next best thing: a fashion designer. All jokes aside, I’ve always wanted to design clothes. I’ve been drawing all throughout grade school, and people were surprised that I didn’t originally go into fashion design.
My mentality at the time was that if I went into sciences, there are more secure career choices so that’s what I did. After a couple of years studying in the undergraduate science program, I still felt unfulfilled. I needed to change paths to do something I was truly passionate about. Fast-forward four years, here I am.
SE: Who are your style icons?
MT: I’m obsessed with Rihanna. Her style is bold, unapologetic, and incredibly brave. Fashion is a form of self-expression, and I think that along the way, some people have forgotten about having fun with what they wear. Pictures of Rihanna at events, shows, even walking down the street—they all have one thing in common: confidence. Her confidence allows her to wear what she wants, whenever she wants.
SE: What have you learned at KPU?
MT: A big thing that I’ve learned throughout school is how to handle criticism. Before the program, I wasn't the best at taking in criticism from others, and it was a hard thing to get over because I took every comment to heart. Going through years of project-based work, I would get people chiming in about it, whether the feedback was solicited or unsolicited, constructive or not.
I eventually clued in that if I took every single comment made towards me to heart, I would be sitting in a puddle of sadness that I put myself in. This is something I’ve learned and I hope to apply it in everything I do from this day forward.
SE: What word best encapsulates you as a designer?
MT: Storyteller. Storytelling is something that I can do through my work, with each design showing details relating to themes, who it’s for, and its purpose. I think my job as a fashion designer is to be a voice to the public, saying what I want or need to say through a craft that I love.
Sandy Escalante is a final-year fashion design and technology student at KPU’s Wilson School of Design.