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Architect-turned-designer infuses fashion with Vietnamese culture



After graduating from Hanoi Architectural University in 2013, Cuong Dam had no idea that his life would suddenly change direction. After spending five years working as an architect, the young man found out that his true calling was in fashion.

“I realised that fashion is what I was really fit for. It wasn’t something impulsive. My passion for fashion has been nurtured since I was a kid. I was fascinated by fabrics and interested in doing anything to make women be more beautiful,” he said.

Cuong decided to open a fashion shop selling his first creations.

Architect-turned-designer infuses fashion with Vietnamese culture
Cuong Dam says he is ‘a transporter of Vietnamese culture’.

However, it’s not easy for a newbie to enjoy fruitful results, and Cuong tasted several bitter experiences due to his lack of professional knowledge in the industry.

“I didn’t have any knowledge then. Everything I have done at that time was based on my instinct. Materials, forms and designs – everything is new for an architect. I did everything by myself, from going to market to purchase fabric to finding garment workshops to turn my ideas and sketches into reality. Without any guidance from experienced people, and all the products were very basic, even rudimentary,” Cuong said.

During the first year, the young man struggled to figure out his target audience and what he needed to do to attract them. Nothing seemed to work. Revenue from selling clothing was just enough to pay for the rent of the shop.

It was then that Cuong realised passion alone wasn’t going to cut it, and that he needed professional knowledge. He decided to enrol in the London College for Design & Fashion (LCDF) in Hanoi to accumulate the necessary knowledge to become a designer.

Talking about the connection between architecture and fashion, Cuong said: “Although fashion and architecture seem unrelated, in fact, the art forms have similar principles in ratio, the connection of details creating a unified overall, structure, building and materials.

 “All above all, both fashion and architecture have the mission of understanding the needs of people, thus creating works to satisfy those needs. Knowledge of architecture laid a solid foundation for me when I stepped into the fashion industry,” he said.

His collection Warriors in Yoshiwara presented at the 2020 Graduate Fashion Week was highly applauded by audiences and critics. The collection, which was created during nine months and honoured women’s rights was named among the best 15 at the Vietnam NewGen Fashion Awards, organised by Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam and the LCDF. 

Endless inspiration from traditional culture

The designer, who is co-founder of Chats by C. Dam – a luxury clothing brand, has found an endless inspirational source for his designs in the traditional women’s long dress known as the ao dai.

Architect-turned-designer infuses fashion with Vietnamese culture
His bag collection Đàm (The Conversation) was inspired by Vietnamese women’s dress, the ao dai.

“Traditional costumes are the unique beauty of the rich Vietnamese culture,” he said.

Inspired by the high-necked collar and the graceful flap of the dress, his newest collection of leather handbags entitled Đàm (The Conversation) has won high praise from fashion lovers.

Crafted from high-quality imported leather and traditional hand-stitching techniques, the bag straps simulate the high-necked collar of the dress. From different angles, the straps are reminiscent of graceful Vietnamese women wearing the dress. The triangle and rectangle geometrical shapes of the bags connecting with the straps are a modern minimalist style.

Architect-turned-designer infuses fashion with Vietnamese culture
From different angles, the bag straps remind of graceful images of Vietnamese women.

Cuong said that the bag collection honoured not only Vietnamese culture but also elegant Vietnamese women.

“Like a conversation between the past and present to find out the voice of the times, from the original details of the ao dai, we have brainstormed to transform them into something new without devaluing its primary beauty. This is also how we at C. Dam have chosen to present the unique values of Vietnamese culture to the international audience,” the 31-year-old designer said.

Earlier, before the debut of the bag collection Đàm, Cuong presented a fashion collection entitled Hướng Tâm (Inflow). The collection was created with inspiration from an architectural detail seen at many heritage sites such as the Temple of Literature and One-Pillar Pagoda

Architect-turned-designer infuses fashion with Vietnamese culture
Models present creation designs from the collection ‘Inflow’ by C. Dam. — Photo courtesy of C. Dam

“‘Inflow’ are the lines running towards a centre that have been widely used by Vietnamese people in architecture, fine arts and fashion. This detail can be seen in the simple objects in the life of Vietnamese people such as paper fans, bell-shaped fishing traps, or the palm-leaved conical hat. The idea of ‘inflow’ has been presented in the details of every design in this collection,” he said.

Featuring pleated dresses, crop tops and blazers made from luxury silk and taffeta, the collection has been greeted by fashionistas not lonely for its elegance but for earning money for a meaningful cause – part of the revenue is being donated to the national COVID-19 vaccine fund.

The ambitious designer has been nurturing a fashion show and exhibition entitled Inflowing, which is scheduled to take place in the second quarter of next year.  

 “The mission of C. Dam is to be the transporter of Vietnamese imprints, through its contemporary and distinctive creations that cannot be mixed with global fashion. That mission will be continued in our next projects. We will keep digging further into Vietnamese culture to find new inspiration and develop them into creative designs,” Cuong said.

Source: Vietnam News



National Wheelchair Tennis Championships to start in Hà Nội



The Việt Nam Tennis Federation gave wheelchairs to athletes with disabilities in HCM City to prepare for the National Wheelchair Tennis Championships. — Photo courtesy of VTF

HÀ NỘI — The National Wheelchair Tennis Championships takes place in Hà Nội on December 1.

Independent participants as well as players from units and member clubs of the Việt Nam Tennis Federation (VTF) will take part in the event.

Athletes will compete in four events, men’s and women’s singles and men’s and women’s doubles.

This is the first time the VTF has cooperated with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to organise the Vietnamese national wheelchair tennis event.

The tournament will apply the wheelchair tennis rules issued by the International Tennis Federation. The only difference between wheelchair tennis and regular tennis is that the ball can bounce off the court twice. The second bounce off the court is allowed outside the touch-line.

This event aims to create a useful playground, helping athletes with disabilities have the opportunity to gain experience, hone competitive skills and accumulate points.

In addition to trophies and bonuses, winners will have the opportunity to gain bonus points, including 60 points for the first place, 40 points for second place and 20 points for third place.

Following this event, the best athletes will also be selected to the national wheelchair tennis team to prepare for the ASEAN Para Games which will take place on June 3-9, 2023 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Wheelchair tennis is widely played in many countries around the world. In addition to competing in Grand Slam tournaments, wheelchair tennis is also one of the sports competed at the summer Olympics for the disabled.

Wheelchair tennis is no longer a strange sport for Vietnamese athletes with disabilities. However, until now, most of the disabled athletes who are passionate about this sport only focus on small group activities.

With the spirit of social responsibility and the desire to create more opportunities to participate in sports activities and affirm the personal efforts of people with disabilities, the VTF with the support from the ITF gave 10 wheelchairs to athletes with disabilities in Thái Nguyên City and HCM City. VNS


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The most technologically advanced World Cup ever



Minh Nguyễn

Minh Nguyễn

This year’s World Cup has been known for several unique traits that have never occurred before. For starters, it is in winter instead of the traditional summer. It is also the most expensive World Cup ever, with a estimated bill of around US$220 billion, the ban of alcohol and more. However, not everything about the tournament this year is controversial. It has introduced to us some of the most advanced technology the sport has ever seen. So I thought I’d use the opportunity to get technical! 

The Al Rihla ball. Photo courtesy of Adidas

 The Al Rihla ball

The 2022 World Cup’s ball is absolutely unique. Its leather has an Inertial Measurement Unit sensor which can detect the exact moment the ball is hit, without negatively affecting the performance. It is utilised with the 12 cameras placed in various places across the stadium in order to provide all the necessary info to the referees and managers. Indeed, the data not only helps the officials, but also aids the coaches on their players as well as the opponents.

Semi-automated offside

Normally with the use of VAR, the video team still has to spend a little time re-watching the footage so as to determine if the play has been offside or not. Nevertheless, the aforementioned Al Rihla ball as well as the camera system will alert the VAR team automatically about the offside decision, which will allow the decisions to be made more quickly and precisely. This system has been successfully tested at some of the previous FIFA tournaments, including the Arab Cup and the Club World Cup, both in 2021. However, this technology still sparked some controversies in some of the matches so far, including the first disallowed goal from Ecuador in the opening match.


How the semi-automated offside is portrayed in 3D

Better experience for fans

FIFA has introduced a mobile app which enables fans to track every single player’s statistics in the tournament. This is very convenient for us as we don’t have to search for a different website to check our favorite players. Moreover, we can see these numbers anywhere as we always bring our smartphones along.

Broadcasting has also become more and more advanced through the years, as the number of TV channels and websites that offer us World Cup experiences have increased by a large number compared to the previous tournaments. Additionally, the quality of the broadcast has also improved a lot, with 4K being the norm these days.

Enhanced security for fans at the stadium

Safety for supporters has always been a great concern for every major tournament. With the aim of guaranteeing this issue, the board has installed an estimated 15,000 cameras with facial recognition in order to identify any wrongdoers, as well as to prevent terrorism, which has been a concern for a long time in the Middle East.

So there you have it. The World Cup organisation has so far raised a few eyebrows to say the least. But one thing’s for sure, it is the most high-tech tournament the game has ever seen. VNS



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Star basketball player on personal motivation to learn Vietnamese



Tim Waale – the captain of professional basketball club Saigon Heat – recently discussed his motivation to learn Vietnamese on his Instagram account.

Waale, also known as Dinh Khai Tam, answered a fan’s question about why he was unable to speak Vietnamese fluently despite growing up in Vietnam.

He has a Vietnamese mother and a Danish father. He lived in Vietnam before relocating to Denmark when he was in high school.

“I went to international schools when I was a kid and only spoke English,” Waale explained.

“I also talked to my parents in English at home.

“My mother tried to teach me Vietnamese, but I was too lazy to learn.”

The 24-year-old player said he later regretted it when he was unable to communicate with his grandparents when visiting them in northern Thai Nguyen Province during the Lunar New Year holiday.

“Even though I was never able to talk to my grandmother again after she passed away, I was determined to learn Vietnamese,” he said.

Tim Waale shares his motivation to learn Vietnamese on his Instagram account. Photo: VBA

Tim Waale shares his motivation to learn Vietnamese on his Instagram account. Photo: VBA

Tuan Anh, the fan who asked Waale the question, thanked the player for his answer, saying that it is never too late to learn something.

“I really hope that you will be in the Vietnamese national basketball team one day. Good luck, Tim.”

Another fan said he will communicate with Waale in Vietnamese more often to help him practice.

Waale has participated in the VBA pro basketball league since its first season in 2016.

The 1.93-meter-tall player and other members of Saigon Heat won the championship title in three consecutive seasons in 2019, 2020, and 2022.

He is widely considered one of the best athletes in the league and won the Block of the Year title at the VBA 2022.

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