Thank You All by Thu Nguyen

Today, an article about T Collective was published in the online magazine called Houstonia by a friend, Miranda Proctor. Again, thank you so very much, Miranda, for giving me the opportunity and basically creating one of the highlights of my life so far! Check out her other articles on Houstonia for more fashion articles on locals!

But T Collective, though born in my imagination some time ago, would not have become the physical manifestation that it is today without the unwavering support from my friends Cindy and Linh. Whenever I was in doubt, and even now when I am in doubt, they put up with my second guessing and questions and are always there to reassure me or help me with the production of the brand itself. Thank you both.

Getting into the fashion scene this seriously began from the moment I was taken on as a freshman blogger of 6100 Main: Fashion of Rice, by the original founding team: Nathan Alison and Linda Cheng. Thank you both for the, honestly, life-changing opportunity! And thank you to Brittney Xu for providing inspiration through your personal blog!

To my cousins who are on my Facebook, thank you for your constant support as well. But also, Di Muoi and Duong Muoi don't really know the scope of my project and how serious it is, and I'd rather keep it under wraps that way for the time being, lol. Thanks y'all <3

And to all of my friends and followers, from the very bottom of my heart I would like to thank each and every one of you. Honestly, if I didn't get good response, I would have never gone this far no matter how many pep talks Linh and Cindy gave me. So thank y'all so much.

NOW FOR A LIL SURPRISE!

Collection ooi will indeed be named Friendspiration. This may be a multiple season collection because ALL of my friends inspire me in one way or another. It was initially planned that the names of the clothing items in this first collection would be kept strictly under wraps until they were released but in celebration of the amazing response and support I've gotten today, I'd like to give you a little sneak peak at the line-up for this fall:

Dress oo1 - Amber (already released)
Dress 002 - Cindy
Dress 003 - Sofia
Shirt 001 - Jeremiah
Shirt 002 - Raymond
Knit 001 - Bo Sung
Knit 002 - Jin Sung (yes, just like the humans, these two Knits will also be a twin set of sorts.)

The names are specific to the clothing item because each was designed as a result of seeing that friend wear something or talk about something. The clothes were made specifically with that person and their style in mind - but I hope these will all be pieces everyone enjoys! (Bo, you're reading this and thinking maybe this was because of that one comment a while back but this was all planned before Dress001 even released.)

The timeline is a little iffy right now, but I anticipate the release of Dresses 001-003 by the end of August, Shirts 001 and 002 by the end of October and Knits 001 and 002 by hopefully December (depends on my fabric hunting.)

T Collective is currently a made-to-order clothing brand. With the launch of each piece, I will only be accepting 1-2 orders due to the fact that everything is hand made by yours truly.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have at thudawin@gmail.com or on any of my social media @thudawin ! And once again, thank you.

Much love,

Thu
 

Why "t collective"? by Thu Nguyen

Someone who has played a huge part in motivating and enabling me [by humoring my questions and crazy ideas] is an artist I've collaborated with and soul sister, Cindy Nguyen. It just so happens that our Vietnamese names are exactly the same, last middle first: Nguyen Anh Thu. So naturally, when it came to naming this project of all projects, I knew I wanted it to be fitting for both our names.

Rewind to the beginning. After flipping through so many amazing magazines from Thirty Magazines and TOMO, I began to dream up a magazine club, instead of a book club. I could turn my dorm room into a space where students could kick back and chill, pick a new indie magazine they probably haven't heard of before, and read for fun. They probably wouldn't want to drop $10-30 a pop on these zines but I would (they're a hobby now I suppose, collecting them) and I want to share all these great finds with my community! Magazines are light and extremely quick reads but are not inferior in content to books in the least and I have fallen deeply in love.

So then I thought, a dorm room is a little cramped. What if I opened an actual space to do this? It'd probably be a cafe of sorts. Serve coffee and tea alongside a good dose of zines! And my design aesthetics for this are not already offered by any other cafe in town (if you follow me on Instagram you'd know that I'd know a good deal about them all #coffeeaddict.) This space... I could use it for gatherings as well, let people use it for pop-ups or host small parties - promote artists and craftsmen. A space where people could spend quality time together with new and old acquaintances. A space where reclusive people like me can wander to on their own and spend quality alone time amongst good reads and a comfortable space. And while I watched over this space, I could be doing some other side hustles as well.

Everything simplifies down to the tagline "studio | shop | communal space." This side hustle of all side hustles is a combination of all my passions in one place, which gives "collective." And if you pay attention throughout this post, you'll find where the "t" comesfrom.

Of course, unlike many others before me, I am not quitting a corporate nine to five job to do this, I have not worked many years (well, I sort of have, part-time, at the salon since I was eight, you could say), I have not even earned a diploma beyond high school yet. Which is why I'm taking this entire concept and putting it online first - to build reputation, repertoire, and experience. Not to mention a stronger financial base.

All the different parts of this concept, I have dreamt up at different times the past few years, but once I put it all together last Friday, and told Cindy about it, I could not shake the thought off. Pursuing one or any of my hobbies as seriously as this has been a scary idea and totally not in line with my or my parents' professional goals for myself. But this concept, this brand, was just too good, too attractive. I thought about it while eating, doing nails, chores, I literally had dreams about it, and over the course of the weekend, I had a Pinterest concept board going, a to-do list and had begun compiling a list of different costs like blueprint fees and business licenses. Before I hit the post button on Monday, I was a ball of emotions. Putting this out on social media meant a serious commitment, like announcing your engagement and wedding save-the-date. People might take me seriously, people might laugh it off and say "Oh Thu, so ambitious, so naive." Yeah, I'm still pretty naive. I'm only twenty after all, and not a single significant decision in my life has been made by me, having lived under my parents even throughout college. But I'm ready, armed with support from my loving friends and loads of inspiration from locals I know, to fail and try again, until I succeed.

(P.S. Wow this sounds so serious for a side hustle... but it's the side hustle of all my side hustles so it's a pretty big deal for me.)

"A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" by Thu Nguyen

And I've been dreaming of something new. Not big, but not small in the slightest. Getting to know the local Houston scene as been a huge privilege, and I just fall deeper in love with my city as time passes. I love all of the mom and pop eateries, coffee shops and boutiques - you could even say I'm part of this scene, coming from a local nail salon. Except, they're not mom and pop, not really; they're a new generation of craftsmen and artists all in their own different ways. The past few years, I've been trying to document them all on various forums, most notably the school fashion blog I run or my Instagram account.

t collective is something my heart has been longing for for a while, but too afraid to go after it because I've always been on a one-way train, never looking at possibilities to do other things in life. Boring personal details aside, t collective will be my serious attempt to document the local scene of Houston, share my own passions for creating (be it a good a** manicure, a dress, or a pastry) and maybe one day, open a space for everyone to get to know and share the local scene and their craft.

A look book of services and items is in the first stages of planning, but I hope to be able to release it by the end of Summer 2016!

To Linh and Cindy, thank you both so much for supporting me in whatever I do and putting up with my incessant questions for your opinion, I love y'all <3

And to all of my other supporters, thank you for liking my posts and reading my blogs and just giving me encouragement in general. This will be my biggest, most ambitious project yet (which may become a main project in my life...), wish me luck!