Photographs from Gia Studios
Words by John Paul Fernandez
Published on June 20, 2022
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Lam Gia Khang, the founder and creative director of Gia Studios, gives his insight on the making of the Spring Summer 22 collection, and how the current climate of the world, Vietnamese culture and identity, influence the design and style of the brand.
Lam Gia Khang founded Gia Studios in 2018 after years of hard work and collecting experiences in the industry of fashion. From then to now, ‘the house’ – a direct translation of the name Gia – has evidently grown and is still continuously growing. From two retail stores in Gia’s home country, Vietnam, Gia Studios has expanded to showcase its craftsmanship to a wider audience and to aim for broader opportunities. “Growing up, I always wanted to be a fashion designer; and just like my peers, ever since college, I would like to have a studio of my own, where I could be inspired and spend hours creating garments that make people around me feel beautiful, confident on their everyday journey,” the designer says. Gia’s work is deeply personal, but it is also a shared art on how we could live collectively with balance and stillness.
John Paul Fernandez: What makes Gia Studios different and unique from other design brands?
Lam Gia Khang: I believe that our origin and people give Gia Studios a distinct personality. I draw design inspiration from everything around me, the Vietnamese culture and our people. The uniqueness of where I was born and raised, is part of the formation of my creative products. In addition, the human factor also makes Gia Studios different. The Gia Studios team is a group of independent individuals with independent creative ideas, but when working together, they create chemistry and produce a result which are products that are consistent with the brand, and aligned with the core vision of Gia Studios. I’m grateful to have my team sharing the same values and goals, in which to give confidence to people through their everyday attire.
John: How important is it to you to incorporate Vietnamese craftsmanship into your design in Gia Studios?
Gia: Vietnamese craftsmanship is a heritage, in which I want to contribute to preserving and developing. Society is becoming more and more modern and industrialised, but for me, what was left behind by previous generations is a piece of valuable knowledge. Although basic, it is the foundation for future creation. I have had the opportunity to see the craftsmen make products with skilful hands, the meticulousness shows me the heart and soul they put into the product, and that no machine can replicate. I want to be like them, making products with my own hands, which are well understood and received by everyone.
John: How do you maintain your identity as a brand and keep your focus as a designer?
Gia: For me, product and message consistency are two important factors in maintaining brand identity. Those who know Gia Studios, follow and love the brand, and they recognise Gia Studios products from style to colour tone. For the next seasons, Gia Studios will always strive to preserve what we do well, and constantly develop to make the product experience more sustainable. In addition, media and visual messages including logos, packaging, and merchandising in Gia Studios stores, contribute to building a more defined business.
My personality is curious, inquisitive, and exploratory. So when I need to focus on design, I focus on creative inspiration. When I find a new idea, a new image, I can spend hours and days focusing on learning it, in-depth. Combined with being honest with my vision and what I believed in from day one, I am able to create new products, that are aligned with our core identity.
Spring Summer 22 Collection
John: As a fashion designer, how does your worldview impact your work, especially the Spring Summer 22 Collection?
Gia: Worldview sometimes changes the way I make my collection. Not entirely, but here and there, it could be the key message, or a few looks to reflect the idea, even an experience. An example would be our Spring Summer 22 Collection, which we created in the summer of 2021. It was a difficult year for Vietnam with the COVID-19 lockdown. We all worked from home, seeing faces on the screens, or sometimes just hearing the voices. From there, I started noticing people around the world changed the way they dress. Comfort came first. People dressed more casually at home, but sometimes they changed clothes when they had to be on camera for a meeting. That observation was transmitted to our Spring Summer 22 Collection, where we focused on creating pieces that they could wear comfortably while working on their couch, yet, still put together if they have to be on the camera or go out for a quick errand.
John: Tell us more about the collection; its message and key pieces.
Gia: Our key message for the collection — minimalism is in the nature of the collection, but maximalism lies in the inspiration of the wearer.
Gia Studios Spring Summer 22 collection is an adventure for new attitudes and a tool for the everyday wardrobe that calls for an upgrade. Unexpected things happen every day, and to prepare for those experiences, a gentle, pleasant state of mind is embedded in the material of the collection. Lightweight and subtle fabrics softly touch the summer skin, tailored yet done in a breathable approach, with room for layers and details known only by the wearer. The feminine blend of linen and cotton, combined with high-grade silk wool, brings out a much-needed contemporary edge for a menswear loose fit. The natural cocoon shape is the key silhouette to convey the spirit of comfort, luxury, and one-of-a-kind. Staying in or stepping out, the pieces are there for grab: the everyday basic T-shirt reinvented with maxi length, a T-dress is born as the new casual thrown-on or polished dial-up with bold accessories; the signature two-piece designs are more invested, with combinations that can be changed up all week; a bathrobe inspired trench coat can be elegant for a living room meeting call, or stylish for a 10 minutes walk. Minimal or maximal, the wearer is the main creator of the looks, with a school of thought that shapes the modern uniform.
John: Do you follow trends? How do you incorporate it into your collections?
Gia: Same with everyone else, I follow trends on social media, online news, and many other video series and projects on the internet. I don’t incorporate trends into my collection much, as I create garments for everyday wear. I create pieces that could last for years, no matter what trends are in. I update myself with new ideas, new methods, and new strategies, to learn, refine, and then find the way to incorporate them into Gia Studios.
John: In this chaotic and noisy world, we ought to find balance in our lives. How do you think the SS22 collection can contribute to creating a balance, calmness, and stillness within oneself and with the people around you?
Gia: What I like most about the Spring Summer 22 collection is its versatility and high applicability. The wearer does not need to think much when choosing the necessary pieces, for any need. I would say balance in comfort, calmness in materials, and stillness in state of mind. When you are comfortable in your attire, from the shape of the garments to the soft light texture, you are at ease and ready to face any challenge coming your way in the hectic every day that we live in.
John: What should we expect from you in the future?
Gia: I cannot disclose yet but we are working on some final developments for the Fall Winter 22 collection, and starting on the Spring Summer 23 collection. Gia Studios will show maturity in style, advancement in the product, and passion for the classics. Innovation and charm will be the keywords for Gia Studios’ future journey.
John: When I looked at the entirety of Gia Studios and based on this conversation, what I took away from it is that minimalism and simplicity are very crucial to your work. What is it with minimalism that strikes you personally?
Gia: I believe minimalism is a way of life, not just in how you dress, but in how you live, the activities you do, the books you read, and the kind of kitchenware you buy. I like simplicity. It helps me focus on the things that are most important and absolutely necessary. For a long time, it has become a way of life, a part of me, and it is reflected in the products that I create.
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