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Fashion Designer Tuyen Tran's practical designs suggest product design ideals


BY H.W.

"While I was studying fashion, I started to question whether or not it was necessary," says 22-year-old Tuyen Tran, one of three winners of this year's Vilcek Foundation Price for Creative Promise in Fashion, to be presented in April. She adds of her time as a student at Parson's, "I think that's when my design philosophy came through: when I started questioning the whole institution." Her approach is one that seems more likely to belong to a product designer than a fashion one: Tran's concept collections include pieces like scarves with multiple configurations, coats with 10 pockets, dresses with adjustable sleeves, and footwear with heels designed to resist wear and tear. In design school, "they stressed knowing about clothes, mood boards, and colors a lot - and that didn't really stick with me," she says. Instead, she found herself inspired by her own life. "I was reading about Modern architecture." She adds that she's also influenced by her daily interactions and experiences. "A lot of my inspiration also just comes from myself and my body and the people I know or see on the street, by the idea of user-friendliness. I think I approach my work very practically."