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We all remembered our first exposure to western TV series. Seeing our parents’ TV screen studded with fair skinned caucasian actors and actresses interacting–sometimes appropriately and some other times not so much–woke our curiosity to understand this foreign culture deeper and deeper. The vast growth of the internet didn’t help either. What started as simple visual stimulations, inspired our younger self to turn it into self expression, especially in regards to fashion. Sadly, the consensus doesn’t lie, zooming out, while our culture remains, looking at a group of Asian youngsters striding the street nowadays feels more like seeing another group of teenagers from a random Netflix series.

“The media is very saturated with American and European street fashion. We think it’s important to have designs that reflect the Asian fashion history and showcase Vietnamese culture references,” the persona behind AEIE who chooses to stay anonymous tells Powderr Asia and we share their concerns wholeheartedly. It is isolating to bring out some level of bold identity out there in a landscape that is so heavily influenced by western culture. Trends of tradition inspired daily attire indeed has risen since 2017, while some would think that some of these tradition inspired brands lack teeth, AEIE bares their fangs and effortlessly pounces at you, splattering vibrant colors coming from every end of the spectrum, the way our ancestors proudly flaunt their silks.

Editorial AEIE Studios

Founded in Ho Chi Minh City in 2018, AEIE reimagines buildings, landscape, culinary, and people, the very elements that make Vietnam uniquely Vietnam, into fashion. When asked about their current collection at Powderr, “Unusual Usual captures the little moments and imageries we come across growing up in Vietnam,” pointing out the TUMBLER DOLL SET to be their favorite, “it played an integral part in the memory of our childhood.” Call it a memento if you may, the vibrant patterns of the set, which ends with lively green feathers on both sleeves, almost give some feeling of longing for our long lost naivete.

Unsurprisingly, AEIE’s first ever collection is a lot like any of their other collections, random, but coherent. Inspired by the reflection of Vietnam, their collections are not quite an organized chaos, or a structured mess, random in the way that’s adventurous, asymmetrical, at times, erratic, a rather unique energy shared by many Asian heritage, landscapes, and societies, “we just took inspiration from just about everything and aimed to create looks that were very effortlessly fashionable.

AEIE Studios Editorial

Located on the eastern edge of the Indochina peninsula, Vietnam’s industrial threatened scenic landscape and biodiversity gives a sense of urgency to the brand to be mindful of the environment. AEIE consistently utilizes deadstock fabric across at least 70% of their products, on top of its minimum footprint, this method gives AEIE collections a unique edge, “each item is very rare and can hardly be restocked.” A fresh premise in an age where Asian capitals have been exploited to produce endless restocks as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

Before skyscrapers stood tall, Ho Chi Minh City was known to be a home for the glamors during the 70’s. What’s now called vintage ethnic glamor, was a symbol of knowledge and elegance, where Ao Dai’s were beautifully paired with a head piece, and a swanky pair of sunglasses, and not one person would think that you are overdressed. “Asian fashion, specifically Vietnamese fashion from the past, has become one of our main sources of inspiration. As children, our designer team was fascinated by the glitz and glamor of the Vietnamese showbiz scene from the 70’s.”

ho chi minh

Fast forward today, Vietnam’s not all about tall buildings, picturesque terrains and delicious food. The country’s digital economy is set to become the second largest in SE Asia after Indonesia, according to “e-Conomy Southeast Asia (SEA) Report – Roaring 20s: The SEA Digital Decade,” by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company. Driven by its growing population that’s reaching over 97 million, Vietnam’s internet economy reaches $21B despite the pandemic, an impressive indicator that screams resilience from both its public and private sides. Answering this growth, “we are intending on partnering up with retail companies like Powderr Asia to ensure that our styles can reach a wider audience, one collection at a time.”

For AEIE, it’s now a matter of staying on track, and maintaining a sense of adaptability. Bringing glamor back into Vietnam inspired modern wear is not an easy feat, “while we want to create our own authentic and Vietnamese inspired designs, we can’t help but feel the immense influence of Eurocentric designs.” The homework lies on clever filtration on external influences, ensuring that none would disrupt the Saigon homegrown brand’s interpretation of their heritage. Rest assured, Powderr Asia is convinced, as up to today AEIE has managed to bring a plethora of flavorsome dishes to this particular table, allowing us to boast in an authentic vibrant style of the traditional Vietnamese touch of fashion, complete with the look of the contemporary, leveraged by AEIE’s first hand viewpoint on Asian creativity.