In this issue of ASIAN VOICE, we welcome Nirvana, a streetwear brand from Vietnam. Its themes and concepts varies with their creative and experimental design inspirations every seasons. When an idea come, they share, dig, develop, and finally accomplish it.
Nana: Please give us an introduction to the brand, Nirvana.
Nirvana: I founded Nirvana with three other friends. Quoc Tit, Thai Linh and Nhi (Plaaastic). It started out just as a thrift store. I chose the clothes that looked great and sold them. Then I got into designing more and Nirvana was born. To me, Nirvana does not have a particular concept behind the brand. Nirvana is more of a creative output of mine and my friends. So the themes and stories we tell through Nirvana will reflect what we are thinking of at the moment, any interesting ideas that are worth exploring and they serve more of an experimental role.
Nana:Why did you initially create the brand/store and name it “Nirvana”?
Nirvana: I actually didn’t choose the name Nirvana. When I first started selling secondhand clothes, a friend of mine came to me with that name. It struck me as a name that represents a lot of things. It’s a place you go to that’s peaceful, unencumbered and free. So I have stuck with it since.
Nana: What has influenced the creation of the brand and the pieces designed for your brand?
Has culture (art, music, film, etc.) or other styles influenced you in the making of your brand?
Nirvana : We (me and the co-founders) share a passion for cinema, music and fashion but we’re not entirely influenced by any specific styles. We’re interested in different styles and the inspiration comes as new ways to explore. For example, trying a new type of material that has a really odd texture or presenting our collection in a totally new method that we haven’t tried before. Most of the time, we just try to observe the world around us as best as we can and find elements that can be linked with clothing, accessories or shoes, in any way possible. When an idea comes to one of us, we’ll share and develop it together.
Nana: Can you tell us about some of the most challenging experiences you have had during the process of building your brand?
Nirvana: We had a really long time running Nirvana purely based on intuition. Mostly because we initially started Nirvana as a place to vent our imagination, a place where we can create. So it was a time of chasing personal ideas and satisfying our personal need for being creative. There were phases where our products did not attract the general public at all. We can’t operate like a traditional business or company and we also don’t want to do so. This required us to find our own way to operate Nirvana, which was really difficult and took a lot of time. The important thing is that we’re still here and we’re still happy creating what we love.
Nana: How do you come up and decide on the themes for your collections?
Nirvana: I touched on this a little bit in a previous question. We don’t really have a set-in-stone workflow for creating a new collection. We also don’t force each other to come up with new ideas. Generally, we start with the multiple ideas that we each have, dig as deep as we can and then filter out the bad ones. As for the good ones, we refine and link them together in a way that everything would gel. And we would have a collection, like that.
Nana: Is it possible to let readers know a little about your next drop (collection)? If so, what has inspired the theme and the pieces in them?
Nirvana: We haven’t started working on the next collection. However, based on what we’ve discussed with each other lately, it’s most likely gonna have to do with graffitis and the Y2K trend.
Nana: Is there a particular artist, movie, place, book that you would recommend our readers
to check for inspiration?
Nirvana: You can check out my friend and co-founder of Nirvana, Thai Linh on Instagram @pnthailinh. He has been creating some phenomenal artwork.
Nana: Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to build an eye-catching and innovative brand like “Nirvana”?
Nirvana: If I have something to tell everybody looking to build something of their own, it would be: Just start. You’ll never know how far you’ll go. Just start and everything will be figured out.
The important thing is that we’re still here and we’re still happy creating what we love.Nirvana