Thuy Pham

"It was a basic business idea, but to me it was a foreign concept."
Interview & Portrait by Asher Penn
Photography by Cris Moor

United Bamboo Le Bac Fall/Winter 2011. Photo by Cris Moor

That’s a really nice way of looking at it. 
The brand is not in my name so I don’t have a personal attachment to it. I try to look at the brand as something that we gave birth to but took a life of its own. 
The brand dictating to you the next logical step.  
Yeah, exactly. A lot of people don’t actually understand design. They think it’s like sketching, but the sketching part is just the beginning. Making clothes involves a lot of organization, especially making an entire collection. The parts have to fit together. You choose a fabric and consider at least a certain amount of styles. They require a certain minimum and if I can’t sell that amount of stuff, then I can’t use the fabric. For me, I judge a designer not on how good the product looks, but on how they make everything work together.
You mean how they can run an effective business?
Yeah. Design students often send me portfolios, but I can’t tell who will be a good designer just from sketches. When you work with people you can tell if they are going to be good or not because the good ones make things easy. 
What does Miho bring to your collaboration?
We mainly design women’s clothes and somehow I never really trust my instincts. Before we design something I talk to her a lot. I usually do more of the actual design part. I'm more technical in our team. 
How did the Cat Calendar come about?
Ten years ago we made little clothes for our cat and a friend photographed it. We put the picture on our wall. People who came over really liked it. We did nothing about it until our press office said, why don’t you make a gift, a swag or whatever, to send out to people, like how companies send out Pirelli Calendars? We decided to make a calendar.
Pirelli calendars are great. 
We just made one and it got a lot of positive response. I read a statistic on YouTube that said cat videos are one of the highest ranked topics for videos.

Hobbes, United Bamboo 2013 Cat Calendar. Photo by Noah Sheldon

From Sex Magazine #2 Winter 2012
Labelled Fashion