Video: Designer Kim Nguyen of Colturra on Working in New York and the Value of a Michael Kors Cosign
By Mike Conklin
What is Colturra?
Colturra is a men’s and womenswear brand. Right now I’m finishing up my third year at FIT. While I’m in school, I sell pieces here and there, mostly to friends—which I’m really happy about. They are the people that I ideally see wearing Colturra.
How has living and working in Brooklyn affected your work?
God, I was terrified when I first arrived, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I just really wanted to be in New York to work in fashion.
Living in Brooklyn, and New York in general, has been interesting to say the least. When I first officially moved to New York from Houston I subletted this guy’s tiny living room space in Greenpoint. He was a 45 year old DJ and graffiti artist, I met him the day I landed through a friend of a friend. I lived on his futon in his living room, which had shelves and shelves full of vinyl records, and and on the walls were pictures of him with his arm wrapped around a young Lil Kim and Kelly Osbourne. Anyway, he turned out to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in New York. He even taught me how to use his turntables! I wish I still kept in contact with him, shout out to Chino wherever you are. Experiences and people like that have probably in some way influenced the things that I design.
You were the first recipient of the Michael Kors Scholarship at FIT. Tell us about that experience.
Getting support from Michael Kors has been incredible. I honestly would not have continued school if it weren’t for Michael. I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. Once I got to New York I wanted to start working right away, and I figured going to fashion school would help me get a job, but I really didn’t have any intentions of finishing. Then I met with Michael, and he really liked all of the work that I showed him. So now I get to finish school, and I’m even studying abroad in Milan next semester. I’ll be graduating there.
You have a strong network of artists you work with. What is the value of collaboration in fashion?
Haha, I’m just grateful to have friends of all kind. For me personally, it’s important to have interests outside of fashion. That’s what makes designing fun and personal. Although at the end of the day fashion is a business. Clothes are meant to be sold and worn. But I think as a designer who is just starting out, it’s about the right people wearing the clothes. I couldn’t get the word out properly if I weren’t particular about the people I sell to.
What is next for Colturra?
More people wearing Colturra. And graduating.