It’s My Dream, My Life…831MINHLE
Interview Alexandra Stevens
Amidst all of the calculated chaos of New York Fashion Week, genuine excitement can be surprisingly hard to find. Fashion editors are jaded, models rush from show to show, and attendees wear an air of practiced blasé for the cameras. For designer Minh Le, however, there was no suppressing the thrill of debuting her collection. The South Carolina based designer brought 831MINHLE designs to the NYFW runway for the first time, and she described her experience with the apt excitement of a real-life dream come true.
“When I saw my name on the schedule for New York Fashion Week, I said ‘Oh my god, this is real, it’s happening.’ I ran to the bathroom [and cried], I couldn’t take it,” said Le, beaming. “It’s what I’ve been waiting for, and I’ve worked so hard.”
Le found solace at the sewing machine at a young age in her native Vietnam, working her way up from self-taught creations to working as a teenager at a local tailor. She currently works full-time to support her burgeoning dreams of selling her designs around the world, using every spare moment to bring her visions to life in her Lexington, South Carolina studio.
“There’s so much in here,” said Le, gesturing to her head, “I need to have time to sit down at the sewing machine and make something new. Every time I come up with something, I just get so excited.”
Her debut collection is distinctly feminine, rife with ruffles, embroidery, and textured florals in a palette of nudes and creams. Le hopes to create pieces with lasting impact that transition effortlessly within a wardrobe regardless of the season. She emphasizes the idea of confidence through clothing and feels that her designs should make a woman feel good, look good, and believe in themselves. She describes her design process as not only as a passion, but something much deeper.
“It’s my dream, my life, it’s all I want to do,” she said. “Sitting at the sewing machine to make a new thing, it calms me down. Everyone has [something], they read a book, they go to the beach, but me? I sit down at the sewing machine and I think ‘That’s it. This is me.’ I’m so comfortable sitting there, creating something, using my vision to show people what I’m thinking.”
As we spoke backstage, models were lined up behind Le, waiting for their turn to step out on to the runway for rehearsal. The Hudson River lay glimmering just outside a wall of windows, the afternoon sun filtering in and bathing the waiting racks of Le’s designs in light.
“I couldn’t have imagined all of the love and support I have right now,” said Le, glancing around at the production around her coming together. “It’s so touching. I feel it right here,” she said, placing a hand on her heart.
Runway Images Courtesy Of 831MINHLE
Backstage Images Alexandra Stevens
Special Thanks Madison Shimoda At Bradbury Lewis