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Thien Le has made a prominent name for himself in the fashion world due to his penchant for brilliant geometic patterns which are tailored into garments of luxury and comfort. The Vietnamese Canadian designer’s portfolio is broad, including sporty golf attire, exclusive couture and luxurious men’s and women’s cashmere garments. Plus, an impressive roster list of corporate clients that he has collaborated with in the past such as Miele, Virgin Mobile, Lancôme and Elizabeth Arden.
Inspired by elegant creations of the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s, Thien likes to work the red carpet with his bold fashions. Choosing hand-painted fabric and chiffon silks in spectacular colors, he creates striking designs that are internationally recognized.
Thien is often solicited for media events across Canada and asked to challenge his creativity by stepping out of his comfort zone. An example is the “Kimono Dragon.” At an event to raise money for an orphanage project in Vietnam and hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, Thien’s genius mind shone as he worked with a single piece of rectangular fabric. The exquisite purple-silk lined gown was an astonishing show finale. The kimono showcases Thien’s trademark attention to detail.
These humanitarian events capture Thien Le’s heart. He is very concerned about human trafficking and violence against young girls in Vietnam, Southeast Asia and even in Canada. Thien is determined to help make the public aware of this disturbing global problem.
Fashions for Passions was launched in 2013 to create awareness and support to organizations working against violence and modern slavery of women and girls. Culture Magazin® has been a proud media sponsor of Fashions for Passions special events through the years. An annual gala features socially conscious and ethical local designers. It is a platform for guest speakers to empower and educate the audience with informative speeches. The gala creates a sophisticated space to discuss how various forms of violence and modern day slavery affect everyone and how can we as a community contribute to solving these pressing concerns. In addition, to shedding light on the growing need for programs and services which promote the safety and equity of these vulnerable victims. Proceeds from Fashions for Passions benefits Vietnamese Women’s Association Of Toronto (VWAT), Family Services, Sistering, and Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto.
Thien Le: It’s not a vision; it’s more nostalgic and the interpretation of how I think of this period. Attention to detail is a type A personality. I believe that if you do anything, you should give it 110 per cent or don’t do it at all. With any decision you make, be sure that it’s the best decision you’ve made. Whether you’re successful or not, you owe it to yourself to give it a chance.
CM: How did you become aware of trafficking of woman and young girls, especially in Canada?
Thien Le: Since our products cater to women of all shapes and sizes, we must understand who they really are. We give respect and admiration back to preserve the beauty and profound strength of womanhood. I always try to give people an opportunity to succeed so that we all can make the world a better place. We should always be aware of our surroundings. Not everything is about your self. That’s why I am involved with a non-profit foundation. I don’t believe in doing this to establish more wealth or fame but I truly believe in giving back. I created a foundation to support orphans and that is how I was lead to anti-human trafficking and violence against young girls. Shortly after, I was introduced to Senhoa Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating modern slavery, but quickly realized that we have our own problems in Canada, which inspired the birth of “Fashions For Passions.”
My happiness is everybody’s happiness.
CM: Where do you see Fashions for Passions in the near future and what type of outcome would you like this event to bring?
Thien Le: A small group of us started the event together with the president of VWAT family services, Emillie Nguyen, and Jasmine Do. It’s not easy to start raising awareness when we all think that does not happen in our backyard. But modern day slavery has significantly increased. Just like any business, you have to start from scratch to raise awareness. So far we have reached that goal but want to build on the momentum to reach a larger audience and gain more supporters.
CM: When you prepare for the Fashions for Passions gala each year, how do you delegate and plan to make the event such a success?
Thien Le: My role is to execute on all cylinders, with help from my team. We all have a blue print to follow and the fact that we’re all on the same page shows in the success of our past events. Though the team is small, we’re extremely efficient and have one common goal of raising awareness for this worthy cause. Fashion is only one component of the event and we have an amazing partner from Fashion Art Toronto (FAT).
CM: How do you find the time to be still, be solid and be true to yourself while utilizing your artistry to help others as well?
Thien Le: You must believe in yourself and trust your gut intuition. Then everything is going to fall into place. If you figure out what you want and how you want it, everything else doesn’t matter. My happiness is everybody’s happiness.