Unconventional Alumni: Deanne Nguyen, Fashion Inspiration

Hopefully through this blog, you have been able to realize that our student body can be pretty fashionable when we want to be (every day or for the job fair once a semester.) But among us, how many have a hidden dream of joining the fashion industry? Which of us CompSci, Busi, Chbe, Engl, Chem, etc. majors secretly ache to also major in Fashion? But have set aside our dreams of designing and styling for our greater dreams of leading and saving the [non-fashion] world? A lot of people imagine Rice students to graduate into engineering, law, and medicine jobs/schools. As much as the majority of us fit this stereotype, there will be some who continue 'unconventional' and enter fields not spoken about on campus. 

I am honored and pleased to introduce to you all one of these unconventional people, Will Rice '11, Deanne Nguyen! She graduated with a linguistics background and currently works in Seoul, South Korea with a news agency but, most importantly, is the co-founder and creative director of Adroit Fashion Media, a Seoul based fashion production and consulting company. She also writes fashion and shopping pieces for Seoul Magazine (as she did for the Thresher during her time at Rice!) 



In one of her old Thresher columns from 2009, Deanne shares her realization that there are fashionable people on campus! Though the Rice fashion crowd was near nonexistent, Deanne had high hopes for our future, saying that "yes we can [be fashionable]! Fashion inside the hedges isn't a hopeless cause." (view article here) Six years after this post was written, I am extremely pleased to share with her this blog and the growing fashion community at Rice. Her prediction is being actualized, and we will continue to work hard and make it known that Rice is a fashionable community (except for during finals period.) Below is the interview I had a privilege of getting with Deanne; by sharing her story with you all, I hope that she can also become an inspiration for our readers, the 6100 Main team, and any one else who has a passion unrelated to their major. 



[T] Did you know that you wanted to work in fashion when you entered college?
[D] No, I think I declared my love around Sophomore year, which carried me through till the end of graduation, but then came years of distancing myself from the idea and second-guessing myself. Long story short, I've come full circle and am again tenacious, though with a different perspective on what I want to pursue with fashion, which is design. 
[T] I've read the fashion columns you wrote for the Thresher, and they're really insightful for Rice students quickly skimming the paper. How did you balance this weekly column with your course load (and other extracirricular activites?)
[D] Oh goodness, you have? I'm sorry haha! I think my writing's come a long way since then, I used to write for a magazine for a year about shopping and fashion here in Seoul, so I can't even fathom my old work. I remember it being difficult and balance was a great facade then; sometimes I'd have to forgo the column for weeks at a time. So...you could say I didn't haha. 



[T] What is your go-to outfit for those days you roll out of bed late but still want to look put together?
[D] Back then, I didn't have one, which was a huge issue and kind of hilariously obnoxious. I'd come up with these ridiculous outfits and if I wasn't pleased, I'd skip class. Yeah don't do that. 
Currently however, I've become far more relaxed, embracing the sweet safety of a uniform as there are things to be done and getting dressed must be focused and efficient. I find that coordinated separates work well for me: an oversized or stylized top paired with either a pencil skirt or some trousers with brogues are the winners of late. Color-wize, I go for neutrals (blacks, greys, beiges, whites, navys) with some texture and maybe a pop of color in a scarf, socks or a fur stole. 
[T] How fashionable did you think Rice was when you first arrived? What about when you graduated?
[D] I thought it was meh, but then I slowly realized there were so many fashion advocates, especially my senior year when I taught a fashion and personal style class. They just weren't as voracious about it being a central part of their identity as I was. Most had higher callings and I see that now more than ever. I definitely think more highly of it now and wished I'd realized sooner how diverse and lovely our campus' style was just as it is. I wonder what its like now...
[T] Could you give some words of encouragement to students who want to try out new/different trends but are too afraid to be too 'weird' or 'dressy' on campus? 
[D] Oh this an easy one: borrow. From my experience, taking the plunge into unknown territory is much easier on someone else's dime or experience. Borrow from fashion-y friends or have them style you for fun and see what you can become in those new pieces. 
[T] How did you survive the trek around campus in heels? 
[D] It's all in the hips! ;)

Deanne, thank you so much for your immediate response on Twitter and for giving me your time for this interview! I wish you the best of luck with your new brand and future designs! I hope to be able to buy a piece from you when you debut. 

Also, I would like to thank Megan Chang for introducing me to Deanne! 

images taken from: 
http://adroitfashionmedia.com/

view more of Deanne's work here:
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