For Vietnamese fashion designer Cuong Dam, architecture and Vietnam’s cultural heritage are fundamentals to the design philosophy of his new label, C.Dam. Having grown up in Bac Ninh province, Dam’s approach to garment construction is informed by the environment of his hometown and his former experience working in the architecture industry. After discovering his passion for fashion design, Cuong Dam made a dramatic career switch and went on to pursue a degree at Hanoi’s London College for Design and Fashion.
Today, Dam has made leaps and bounds in his country’s fashion scene as he leads Vietnam’s vanguard of emerging designers who infuse traditional elements into contemporary, forward-thinking pieces. The continued preservation of Vietnamese heritage has always been a part of Dam’s vision, apparent ever since he launched his precedent ready-to-wear line CHATS by C.DAM.
“To stand out in an ever-growing and expansive industry, a person must have a unique language based on their own cultural heritage,” says Dam. “It helped me stay resilient in the constantly evolving and vivid world of fashion.”
Living by his words, Dam turned the runway for C.Dam’s debut INFLOWING collection into a spectacle that merged Vietnamese music and fashion from the past and present. To soundtrack his show, Dam turned to composer Thành Chu and contemporary ethnic musician Ngô Hồng Quang. The result of the collaboration? A multi-sensorial runway experience where models strutted to the beat of experimental music, which blended the sounds of traditional instruments, IDM and techno.
With designs that channel minimalist luxe and Vietnam’s cultural values, Cuong Dam’s works are gradually gaining momentum and making their way into international markets. Particularly in his INFLOWING collection, Dam’s debut translates his penchant for playing with dichotomies such as femininity versus masculinity, traditional versus contemporary in the clothes he creates. Imagining what someone wearing C.Dam would be like, Cuong Dam envisions a C.Dam individual as bold, modern and creative with a rebellious spirit.
It’s no wonder then that Cuong Dam’s work has found its way on the first-runner up of Miss Universe Vietnam Thảo Nhi Lê, who developed an affinity for the brand. Apart from her career as a model and influencer, Thảo Nhi studied international fashion retail and recently founded her own clothing brand, Daphale Studios. When establishing her label, Thảo Nhi looked to principles of confidence, femininity and individuality—values that share affinities with Cuong Dam’s vision for C.Dam. It’s only natural then, for Thảo Nhi to become one of Cuong Dam’s muses and the star of C.Dam’s campaigns.
A true label loyalist, Thảo Nhi was recently spotted donning a full C.Dam look from the INFLOWING collection at this year’s New York Fashion Week. The Instagram-worthy ensemble? A double-ringed cut-out asymmetrical crepe top tied in a halter-neck style paired together with matte jersey flared trousers, chunky sunglasses and platform heels. All black, of course.
This balancing act between contrasting materials and draping methods is the very undercurrent of C.Dam’s INFLOWING collection. Offering an array of structured silhouettes in various soft and stiff fabrics, Cuong Dam’s line features a contemporary twist on timeless wardrobe essentials: asymmetrical pleated skirts, tailored faux leather blazers and macrame dresses. Colours also range from monochromes to brighter hues like cobalt, fuchsia and olive yellow. Regardless of mood or style, there’s a C.Dam garment that adds a distinctive flair to one’s manner of dress.
Here, Vogue Singapore curates four day to night ensembles using Cuong Dam’s INFLOWING collection that are suitable for any occasion.
Office looks don’t have to be limited to simple blazers and trousers. Inspired by architecture, Cuong Dam’s take on the blazer is one that features an hourglass silhouette and structured shoulders. To complete the look, make use of the collection’s monochromatic hues and pair together sleek heels, statement jewellery and a trusty bag that fits all of your essentials.
Going to an exhibition calls for an outfit that’s smart casual. With an all-black one-piece dress, it’s easy to put together an outfit. Simply complete the look with matching heels and small handbag in a contrasting hue.
A mid-day pick-me-up is nothing without a coffee run or afternoon tea. Show up in bright hues and wind down in a relaxed fit. For those seeking to incorporate colour into their everyday wardrobe rotation, C.Dam’s INFLOWING collection is a good start with unique shades such as chartreuse and cobalt available.
Night on the town
Opting for a little black dress will never go wrong for any night out. As C.Dam offers a range of black dresses and skirts with interesting cut-outs, there’s plenty of designs to choose from for those keen on baring a bit of skin. To bring the ensemble together, layer on silver or gold jewellery and go with a pair of comfortable shoes that have contrasting textures.
The C.Dam INFLOWING collection is now available to shop online.