Thursday 24 November 2011

Q&A with Chula: Vietnam's fresh and fun take on silk dresses

Even in the most isolated countries in the world, it’s quite rare these days to find a contemporary fashion label (regardless how big or small) which is not influenced by seasonal trend.

The result is, people everywhere end up dressing the same. Naturally some do it stylishly and some don’t.

I’ve always had great respect for those who defied the trend and went on to establish their own identity and style, not inspired by anything or anyone else. They start from scratch and keep that distinctive appeal about them which is best described as raw and artistic.

Hanoi-based label Chula is one of those fashion brands which developed their own look and products (mainly dresses and coats) based on nothing but the love for expressing fresh ideas and style. The result is not as understated as many would like, but rather unique and bold.

Love this dress with the pagoda illustration from 'Japan' collection.
Looks like a piece of Asian art... but a wearable one :-)

I first came across Chula last year at one boutique on Haji Lane, while I was in Singapore for a visit. The gorgeous fabric, bright colours and hand-stitched distinctive designs caught my eye right away. It was something different, exciting and above all fun and full of character.

There are lots of colours, beautiful Asian silk and hand-sewn designs which might seem a little ‘naïve’ for a more mainstream-driven crowd, yet charming and unpretentious for those who are not afraid of expressing themselves and standing out.

... And this cute spiderweb dress from the Animal collection.

 You certainly have to have a colourful and confident personality to pick a Chula dress. The Spanish duo behind Chula is aware of that, and they cater particularity for these women and do custom-made designs on request as well.

I finally got in touch with Diego, one of the designers, who took time from his busy schedule this month (They’re preparing for Vietnam Fashion Week) to answer my Q&A and tell me more about the label.

Q: What is Chula? When did it start and why?
Chula is a women’s fashion brand founded in Hanoi in 2004 by a Spanish couple designers (Laura and Diego). We arrived in Vietnam and we found that we could develop a line of design which combines the best of the east and the west.

Chula designers: Laura and Diego.

Q: What is your focus and the inspiration behind it?
We focus mainly on silk dresses, designed for what we’d like to call the ‘Chula woman’. A Chula woman is someone with attitude, who is not a slave for trends and fashion magazines.

Many things inspire us: architecture, S.XX (a 20th century artistic movement) painters and graphic design to name a few.

Q: Price range:
 Pieces range from $200 until $500.

Q: Your favourite pieces from the label are: 
It is difficult to say, but in some way the 'Chula girls collection. It is very representative of our style; something smart but with a sense of humour

A playful dress from Diego's favourite collection, 'Chula Girls'. 

Q: Where to find it?
Our headquarters and concept shop is in Hanoi. Visiting Chula in Hanoi is an experience by itself, because you could see our brand’s universe and take a tour to check the design process, from the sketches, to the patchwork technique and the final display in the shop. Our shop is located on 6 Ven Ho Tay.

We are also stocked in 10 other countries including Singapore, at Victoria Jomo boutique on 46 Haji Lane.

Q: Any news?
In the last week of November we have been invited to participate in the VIETNAM FASHION WEEK . this is very exciting for us and challenging to work with the new generation of Vietnamese designer.

A beautifully crafted croc-inspired dress. Love the colour scheme.