Vivienne Tam has earned a reputation as a designer on the forefront of embracing technology. Early on, she teamed with Hewlett-Packard on a special range of Vivienne Tam designer Netbook computers and she was one of the first fashion designers to stream her New York Fashion Week show live. Now, Vivienne Tam and WeChat, the world’s most popular messaging app, have announced that they are teaming up to give one girl a chance to walk the runway at Vivienne Tam’s spring fashion show in September. We spoke with the designer about her first open model contest, industry tips and summer essentials.
theFashionSpot: Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
Vivienne Tam: When I was young, I never thought about being a designer. My mother taught me how to sew using scrap fabrics. I learned how to make dresses and accessories for myself. I loved it! I would style my brother and sister as well.
tFS: Do you think it’s important that designers have formal design training?
VT: Yes and no. As long as you have the passion and an eye for fashion and style, you will find a way to be successful. Some of the top designers never received formal training.
tFS: Any tips for getting a fashion internship?
VT: Simply apply. We are always looking for students who are hard-working and willing to learn. Someone who is passionate and conscientious about their work.
tFS: The fashion industry is notoriously late when it comes to embracing tech, but you’ve been known to be on the forefront with partnerships. Why do you think this is?
VT: I find technology to be the perfect complement to fashion. We cannot live without technology. I like to transform things, to design beautiful objects to make them fashionable. And technology allows me to reach and engage my customers and fans. It’s my passion. It’s part of me.
tFS: How did the partnership with WeChat come about? Can you tell us a little bit about the contest?
VT: I love WeChat! WeChat is an all-inclusive platform that allows me to communicate with my co-workers, business partners and fans. At my last fashion show, I shared the experience of front-of-house activities and backstage excitement with a global audience from my phone through WeChat. My fan base grew tremendously as a result. It’s amazing! With the launch of this model contest, I am taking the next steps with WeChat to connect with my fans and fashionistas by offering a life-changing opportunity to be a part of an event as exclusive as New York Fashion Week. The goal of the contest is to discover a “new face” online and to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the winner. This could be the launching pad to international stardom for her and is truly an example of how WeChat [offers] the global reach that I need to find her and allows me to have deeper engagement with fans. Even if you’re not an aspiring model, you can still have the opportunity to vote for the final winner to walk the runway in my Spring/Summer 2015 show at NYFW.
tFS: How do you go about picking models for your NYFW shows?
VT: Besides the usual industry standards, I look for models who have their own style and personality and are confident inside and out. And someone who can represent my collection well.
tFS: Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect from your upcoming spring collection?
VT: I cannot disclose any information just yet, but it will be very exciting.
tFS: What are your go-to fashion and beauty items?
VT: My yoga pants — perfect for travel and doing yoga poses on the plane and comfortable to sleep in. Moisturizer to keep my skin hydrated, lip moisturizer, bottled water (room temperature), an eye mask, a trench coat with many pockets and a big cashmere shawl to keep warm in the winter and on the plane.