Mr. Pham Huy Can, CEO of the DMC Company, owned by famous Vietnamese designer Do Manh Cuong, talks to VET's Huong Hoang about Vietnam's luxury fashion market.
■ Can you tell us about DMC’s fashion show being held in the US on June 14?
The fashion show for the Spring / Summer Collection 2015, entitled La Vie En Rose and designed by Do Manh Cuong, will be a little different to our previous shows. This year, instead of in Vietnam it will be held at Geystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, a 100-year-old castle in Los Angeles. Also different to our previous shows, which were held in the evening, the show for the Spring / Summer Collection 2015 will take place in the daytime, so that it blends into the local surroundings. It starts at 3pm on June 14.
About 300 guests, who are customers of the company from all around the world, will fly to the US to attend. This is a romantic collection, so California is a suitable location given the ideas of the designer. Holding it in the US makes it easier for our overseas customers to attend. It’s also an opportunity to introduce Vietnam’s fashion industry, especially the technique of using craft and embroidery, to international customers and partners.
■ Is this a special step for DMC in entering the international market?
Every year we organize two shows. The change of location will bring a freshness to the show and suit our customers. Vietnam still remains the main market for DMC. Although the show is being held in the US, our products are sold in Vietnam. Building a strong brand in Vietnam will provide a foundation for the company to enter into international markets in the future.
This is the first step in DMC targeting foreign markets. The show will be a chance to observe the reaction of those present and an opportunity to meet experts in the fashion industry and the media to promote our brand. DMC has received many invitations from high-end fashion outlets in the US and other countries. In the near future we will seize the potential of these markets.
■ What customer segment does the company focus on?
Obviously, customer segmentation is one of the key factors in the success of DMC. Our main customers are elegant and successful women. Specifically, we target businesswomen who hold high positions and have stable incomes. A small proportion of our customers work in showbiz but are also known as entrepreneurs or successful and talented people, such as Linh Nga, Ha Kieu Anh, and Ngo Thanh Van. This customer segment understands and are suitable with our simplified yet elegant style.
■ Many Vietnamese companies in the fashion industry face difficulties in competing with major foreign brands. What difficulties has DMC encountered and what strategies did it adopt to overcome them?
Do Manh Cuong is a talented designer, graduated in France, has a companion who has a deep knowledge of marketing and branding to support his business, and also has a professional company and a network of outlets in beautiful locations in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. As a pioneer in simplified yet luxurious fashion, DMC has been subject to a lot of pressure from public opinion. I am proud to say, though, that DMC created the trend in Vietnam of using one color and simple designs, which was adopted by celebrities and then picked up by others.
Despite having an appearance of simplicity it takes about five days for an experienced craftsman to complete a dress, so the value of each product is quite high. DMC is also proud to be the first to spend large sums of money on two professional shows each year, and this is a serious investment in differentiating our brand and providing extra benefits to customers. DMC does not use a media marketing strategy. At an event, 70 per cent of the guests are our customers and the remainder are media and our partners. We expect to see a spillover effect from our marketing strategy and provide high quality products to our clients. In the last five years we have not had any failed products and demand is always higher than supply.
■ What advice would you give to local fashion brands?
The key in the fashion industry is to foresee trends and have a serious working attitude. Fashion will only be successful if it can creep into daily life. Fashion that is only for looking at is a work of art. Therefore, designers at domestic companies need to think about real trends instead of creating outfits that are only suitable for the runway and can’t realistically be worn in daily life. They should also embrace their own look and not be copycats. Beside the talent and knowledge of a designer, a company needs to understand the market and effectively build their brand.
■ Do you think Vietnam has potential for luxury fashion brands?
For DMC, Vietnam has great potential and is an attractive market. Although Vietnam has many fashion shops, few of them have their own brands. So this is a gap for domestic fashion brands to enter into, as Vietnamese people seem to have a positive attitude towards fashion and clothes.