fashion • 26 Oct, 2016
Môi Điên (Mad Lips) Debut Lookbook
Interview with Designer Tom Trandt
We love talent. Tom Trandt clearly has it. Born and raised in Saigon, he's just graduated from the Parsons School of Design in New York last year. Now he’s back, and has wasted no time starting his first brand; Môi Điên, or Mad Lips when translated. Browsing through images of his first collection, we say there’s an assuredness to his design aesthetic and a confidence in his direction that means he won’t kow-tow to the latest trends. In short, we think he has a future. “I try not to love another designer’s work so much that it becomes personal,” he told us. His range of near couture pieces are unlike anything we’ve seen locally before, taking cues from Japan, while being both poetic and romantic in their construction. With Môi Điên, Tom’s created an original range of accessible, easy-to-wear pieces that can be worn as separates, or create a multi-layered, luxuriously textured feature to your day.
Read more about what inspired his latest designs and the story behind the brand in our quick Q&A below.
What's the story behind 'Môi Điên'?
During and after graduation, I had the opportunity to work with some of New York’s most prestigious fashion houses like Zac Posen and J. Mendel. Seeing things that could be done differently in the fashion industry, I moved back to Vietnam to start my own company.
Where did the name 'Môi Điên' come from?
For my first brand, I always knew I wanted a Vietnamese name with a globally simple pronunciation. Môi Điên (Mad Lips) is one way to describe my personality: unapologetically outspoken and controversial. Being used to the New York lifestyle, I want to use this name to encourage people to be who they are. In the age of social media with intense peer pressure and criticism coming from all directions, it’s not so easy to love yourself.
What’s the inspiration behind your latest collection?
For this first collection, I want the clothes to be so easy to wear that none of them has a single button or any hardware and use fabric that breathes very well. We need that in a tropical climate. I love how beautiful the inside of a jacket is when we take it apart, so that became the thread that makes this collection cohesive. We let serged seams rest on the outside of our items. We also use serged strips of fabric as a surface treatment.
What vision do you have for the brand?
The machine that I’m building is not Môi Điên. It’s Tomdt. I’ve been advised not to open a company if you don’t have anything new. I want a centralized design company that offers quality products for both the local and international market. All of our brands will operate under this umbrella. Môi Điên is one of them. For this brand, I want to make streetwear that is artful but still functional. I often see people reject beautifully made clothes because it’s not practical. We plan to produce 4 main collections per year, every 3 months, and 4 mini collections per year. These will be extensions of our main collection.
Lastly, who are your favorite designers?
I think all designers are asked this question. It’s scary to me because who you look up to affects how you work. I try not to love another designer’s work so much that it becomes personal. I love to read designer’s biographies because it’s not visual, so there’s nothing to copy, and I’m inspired by their life philosophy’s. My mom loves Armani, so there’s always a soft spot in my heart for Armani.
Photographer & Stylist: Tom Trandt
MUA: Le Quyen Arica
Models: Trang Khieu, Nguyen Minh Phong
Words by JA
Image Courtesy of Moidien