L’ARLÉSĪENNE – The girl from the dream
Recently, the launch of a handmade fashion handbag combined with painting with an impressive name: “L’ARLÉSĪENNE – The Girl from the Dream or The Girl from Arles” took place at the Vietnam Art Museum, No. 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Hanoi.
From idea, design, to production and sales of these bags are all organized by a Vietnamese high school student studying in the US for the purpose of applying the art of painting in creating fashion items.
That’s Dinh Phuc Khang, born in 2005, a 17-year-old boy studying at High School in the US. Khang is the Founder and Creative Director of the L’ARLÉSĪENNE brand.
Born in a family of a construction engineer father and a lawyer mother in Hanoi, Khang has had a passion for painting and fashion design since he was a little boy. From grade 9, when he started studying abroad in the US, the fire of his passion for design flared up. The school environment also helped Khang satisfy his passion to show his ability.
At the brand launch event, Khang couldn’t hide his emotion when his first statup came true. Khang said, when cherishing a dream and realizing it, he chose to name his handbag brand: L’ARLÉSĪENNE or “The girl from the dream”. That name has many meanings, but deep down, it’s something that’s coming, but never comes, “maybe it’s like a dream that everyone chases”.
“Art is the same for me, it is a burning fire that grows bigger and bigger over time. I want my ideas and art to be communicated to everyone, not just a small audience, so I chose the path of bringing art into everyday life, applying painting art into manufacturing fashion items. That’s why after a long incubation process for many years, it was until Christmas 2022 that L’ARLÉSĪENNE – “The girl from the dream” officially came to everyone”, Khang said.
Phuc Khang said fashion, different from other arts, has very high applicability, and everyone can enjoy it. It is also because of this motto that L’ARLÉSĪENNE was born with the purpose of making Vietnamese couture bags for young people who want to express their personality and ego through daily fashion items at affordable prices.
“I believe that equality is not just about skin color, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Equality today is also about equality in access to luxury goods of art but at affordable prices. With the high artistry of the product, I hope L’ARLÉSĪENNE will help the owner of each L’ARLÉSĪENNE bag to appreciate art, as well as express her own personality. In other words, through the L’ARLÉSĪENNE bag that you use, people around you can define you in the most authentic way”, Khang said.
Difficult to find product manufacturer
Khang said, in the process of designing bags, he had good fortune to find and learn the experience of genuine leather production from the leading artisans in Vietnam, including Uncle Luan – the great-grandchild of artisan Ninh Ky, who was granted the Certificate of Leather Artisan by the Indochina government in 1919.
However, when it came to production, due to the complexity of the product and the high demand for quality, many handmade leather goods manufacturers refused to cooperate.
“The real difficulty came when nearly a dozen manufacturers refused my order on the grounds that they did not produce orders with high difficulty and high complexity due to the combination of many combinations of leather. Genuine leather (cowhide, whole crocodile skin) dyed in individual colors to accessories (metal buckles, stainless steel corner seals, CNC-cut wooden boxes…) and UV printed because L’ARLÉSĪENNE’s bags are all painting applications and they have color prints on real leather. Another reason is that my order quantity is too small”, Khang said.
Despite many difficulties, Khang decided not to give up. He wanted to create a product bearing one’s own language and voice, which was a rare thing in contemporary society. If stopped at creating mass-produced products, L’ARLÉSĪENNE is no longer “The girl from the dream”.
After months of searching, knocking and negotiating, fortunately, a manufacturer finally agreed to produce Khang’s orders. The owner of that leather workshop was convinced by new products and he wanted to support the start-up dream of young people.
“I was convinced by Khang about his passion for fashion and determination. On the other hand, when working with Khang, we had to innovate production technology and method in order to meet new requirements. As a person who likes challenges and likes new things, I accepted his orders”, said Mr. Ha, the owner of the handmade leather processing workshop.
L’ARLÉSĪENNE products were completed in summer 2022 with four bag models: MATTACHÉ, ATTOSAC, WONDERLAND TOTE and POCHETTE.
“In the THANATOLOGY collection, I designed the MATTACHÉ and ATTOSAC bags with the intention of using to express owner’s personality and style. The other two bag models WONDERLAND TOTE and POCHETTE are used to store everyday items when going to work, such as laptops, documents, pens…”, Khang said.
The material to make these four bags is 100% full cowhide or whole crocodile skin, after being imported, it will be tanned and dyed with its own, new and unique colors.
L’ARLÉSĪENNE comes in four tones: Greenerie Green, Dark Periwinkle Purple, Hellfire Red, and Black. L’ARLÉSĪENNE is created in two main brand colors, Hellfire Red (a bright fiery red with purple undertones), and Dark Periwinkle Purple (the dark purple of periwinkle). The red color symbolizes intense passion, while the blue-violet color represents coldness and nobility.
“I have always wanted to bring the art of applied painting into fashion, so L’ARLÉSĪENNE’s leather bags are printed with hand-painted textures such as Wonderland Tote, Attosac, and Pochette. I have used quite a lot of Eye and Lip textures before, when painting cubist portraits. My style of painting is to abstract everyday observations emotionally”, Khang said.
The dream of a Vietnamese handbag brand appearing in the fashion capital
L’ARLÉSĪENNE products were introduced in at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, where the art of painting was performed with a rock band and catwalk models. Probably, it was also the first time Rock music was played live for the catwalk models on the runway that was set up in the museum introduce to the audience 94 bags, the first season of L’ARLÉSĪENNE.
Mr. Duy Nguyen – Art Manager, who has collaborated with many Vietnamese fashion brands such as Tracy, Helen Hoai… said that he met Khang in June 2021 when Khang was in mandatory isolation at military barracks E58 after flying back to Vietnam from the US during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I was surprised at Khang’s understanding of world fashion brands. He demonstrates a deep understanding of more than 30 world fashion brands. After Khang presented his idea, I agreed to help him. I am happy to see Khang’s products introduced today. I hope he will be more successful on his path”, said Stylist Duy Nguyen.
The debut also attracted many KOLs such as Editor-MC Mai Ngoc (my older sister), Miss Vietnam 2010 Ngoc Han, MC Quynh Hoa…
MC Mai Ngoc (Khang’s older sister) said, witnessing Khang’s passion and enthusiasm for the startup project, she was very impressed. When she was the same age as Khang now, she could only ask for money from her mother every day for breakfast, but Khang had already come up with ideas, raised capital, organized production, marketing, sales and events, managed himself and can produced a product that is a very stylish and stylish handbag. That is something that not all young people can do.
“The products introduced today are really impressive, the W by Mai Ngoc fashion brand will be the place to distribute all of L’ARLÉSĪENNE’s products. Those interested can come to 56 Tran Nhan Tong, Hanoi – W by Mai Ngoc’s store to directly feel and experience L’ARLÉSĪENNE leather bags or can experience online on the website https:// larlesienne.world/”, said MC Mai Ngoc.
Miss Vietnam 2010 Ngoc Han commented: “I find the bags displayed and introduced today are very soulful and meaningful, delicate and meticulous. Every bag, every color, every drawing has a story in it. The product was made by a high school student, which is a very cool thing. L’ARLÉSĪENNE is a new and unique fashion bag brand, I wish Khang every success”.
At this event, the angel investor who agreed to contribute capital to Khang from the first call shared, “The reason I invested in this deal is because of the convincingness of the project. In addition, I want to say to young people to dream and be determined to pursue their dreams. Be confident to go out into the world to assert yourself. Success only comes when you have confidence and novelty and dare to commit”.
Expressing his gratitude to those who guided and accompanied him at the launch event, Khang also touchedly said: ” To my first surprise, a dream that seemed so far away, has come very close. Finally, that girl from Arles arrived.
To realize this dream, it is not only me, but also the cooperation of many people behind the scenes: from Duy Nguyen the teacher who taught me about fashion, the director of the first runway of L’ARLÉSĪENNE, to leather artisans, L’ARLÉSĪENNE manufacturers to distributors collaborators in charge of some items of design, to L’ARLÉSĪENNE’s distributor (W by Mai Ngoc) and angel investment of L’ARLÉSĪENNE.
The most important are the customers of L’ARLÉSĪENNE who have listened to L’ARLÉSĪENNE from the very beginning, and will be the people who will follow L’ARLÉSĪENNE to immerse themselves in the art world of fashion”.
It will take time to evaluate a product and how it will be received by the public. However, L’ARLÉSĪENNE, a start-up project that applies the art of painting to fashion production which took a 17-year-old boy almost 2 years from preparation to debut, is something to encourage.
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