Nils Binnberg
Michaelkirchstraße 12
10179 Berlin

Wallpaper Magazine

April 2019

Code breaker

While other young brands may draw their inspiration from street culture or the club scene, Standard Clothing, a new womenswear label based in Berlin, takes its aesthetic lead – and its name – from a more unusual place: Standard Möbel, a German furniture company co-founded by Marcel Breuer in 1927 (and bought by Thonet a few years later).

I have always had a fascination with the Bauhaus philosophy, says Nam Nguyen, the 25-year-old fashion designer who launched Standard Clothing last year. ‚The idea of multipurpose design still feels relevant, even 100 years after it was first conceived. Far from being purely functionalist though, Nguyen’s pieces contain unexpected gestures that distort the familiar – a slinky windbreaker with detachable arms, a smocked shoulder on abra top that uses sleeves as ties at the back, a swanky blouse sliced high from the cuff swishing with each movement. Many of the designs can be worn in multiple ways. ‚All the pieces can be adapted, says Nguyen, who cites uniforms and sports such as motorbiking and fishing as influences. They can become something really personal.

Standard Clothing’s debut – comprising Nguyen’s graduate collection for Weissensee Academy of Art in Berlin – has certainly garnered attention. Nguyen’s playful and sophisticated tailoring recently caught the attention of the LVMH prize jury. ‚The most interesting thing about Nam’s work
is that it is proposing new silhouettes, not just for the sake of fashion, but for the sake of practicality, says stylist Ben Perreira, a scout for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers. ‚Standard Clothing provides solutions to problems while creating new and interesting shapes.

Another influence on Nguyen’s designs is his cultural background. He is a first-generation German of Vietnamese descent, born in the outskirts of the northern German city of Hanover. ‚Nam will not admit it, but in his designs a German strictness meets an Asian playfulness. The duality is undeniable‘, says fashion designer Kostas Murkudis, at whose studio Nguyen worked for two years. Nguyen is keen to point out that his roots are
thoroughly working class. Both his parents are employed at a machine engineering plant and worked hard to afford a house of their own. ‚My parents have always been go-getting people, a trait I’ve inherited‘, he says with a smile.

His work ethos and talent have earned Nguyen an internship at Stockholm’s Acne Studios and designer positions at Courrèges and Mugler in Paris. Today he continues to work with Mugler while running Standard Clothing, collaborating with a team of talented creatives including stylist Natacha Voranger, graphic designer Frederic Heinsohn, photographer Joseph Kadow, filmmaker Fritz Marlon Schiffer and product designer David Kaltenbach. ‚I dubbed my first outing Collection oo1 for a reason‘, says Nguyen.
„It depicts my obsession with organising everything in spreadsheets, and my optimism that this was my first – and not my last collection‘.

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