Designer spot: NINH NGUYEN

By Cecilia Sha

Fashion business is consistently tough and unstable, especially in New York, but there are still lots of designers have crazy dreams for success in fashion world.

As the 2012 fashion week coming soon, we have a chance to visit the up-and-coming menswear designer Ninh Nguyen and his Spanish Harlem apartment, a third-floor multi-purpose apartment that serves as a workspace, showroom, warehouse, and home of the 28-year –old designer.

Being of the Vietnamese descent, Ninh was born in Paris, France and raised there until his family relocated to Texas nine years later, “I graduated from UTA with a B.S and minor in Psychology, with the intention on going to medical school to become a psychiatrist, I realized that I didn’t want to spend my entire youth studying, going through residency and then practicing the specialty, so I turned to my inner passion and switched to the field of Fashion” Ninh said. He received two fashion scholarships from the YMA-FSF(Fashion Scholarship Fund)in 2007 and 2008, and won the Arts of Fashion competition in 2009, one and a half year after he graduated from the Menswear Program in FIT.

For some, inspiration is a difficult creative element to quench; but for Ninh, it’s only an Absinthe glass away. “You know how artists are-they’re crazy in the head,” he jokes.

With his multi-cultural background upbringing influence his designs, Ninh defined his eponymous NINH label as “Burberry meets Yohji Yamamoto “. “ There’s an Asian side to what I do, definitely, I love the fashion in Korean dramas, like in Boys Over Flowers. And I also like Japanese steet wear and I read Japanese fashion magazines. Plus, Asians always have crazy hairstyles. As for the European side, that’s the Renaissance thing, British fit and comfort topped with Asian influence, it’s the NINH man.”

In his outerwear collection, you can see a variety of architectural and military details. Carefully curated button and hardware are heavy in use but light in weight for some aviator inspired jackets, tailored tailcoat, well-cut tuxedo, white bib button-down shirt.  The designer would like to make NINH Collection a lifestyle brand, branching off into accessories, handbags, hats, shoes and even eyewear in the future. In his apartment, he also showed his punky funky jackets for spring 2013 women collection to us. Who knows, maybe there will be a “NINH Collection-Femme” line for women.

“It’s easy to be creative,” admits Ninh, “but fashion is a business, so if you can’t manage a company, your brand will sink.” That’s a gradual challenge which needs to be taken one step at a time, with good planning and branding. He revealed that he has applied the reality show “Fashion Star” in NBC and is waiting to hear back from the producer. Also in the following fashion week, Ninh will have his presentation for   2013 spring collection in Soho. This kind of platform provides mainstream commercial exposure that brings plenty of fashion credits and references—hopefully enough to help small business like  NINH Collection continue to grow.

NINH Collection is currently available at three online websites:,, and, as well as sold at Brigade LA.

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