Ok here's the ice breaker (no pun intended). So you guys shot up in cool points after we found out the name 'Kaarem' comes from the word 'ice cream'. What inspired you to choose your brand name?
Cà Rem (ice cream in Vietnamese) is something we all love and something to be shared and enjoyed with each other, family and friends.
What's your favourite way of enjoying this summer treat?
Getting a scoop or two of Vanilla Cherry from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory in NYC and eating out on Ben’s stoop.
We can see the influences of Vietnamese traditional costume (áo dài), how does KAAREM reinterpret these cultural nuances to reflect the woman of today?
We really love the traditional craft of making an áo dài, specifically the use of the blind stitch. Though it can be challenging, we work to integrate handsewn details and blind stitches in our own pieces. We hope that women who wear Kaarem find value in the attention to detail and craftsmanship in each of our pieces and feel confident whenever they put one on.
How does the blind stitch enhance the look of KAAREM and that 'code' that your team believes speaks in each garment? Are these all hand finished?
The blind stitch is a subtle detail that creates a clean aesthetic on not only the exterior of the piece, but the interior as well. The finishing is done by hand, and the majority of each piece is done by hand as well.
Describe the KAAREM woman in three words:
Thoughtful, Functional and Resilient
If you could see any woman in your clothes, which celebrity/person would be the dream model?
Our friends and family.
Tell us about the homegrown workshop in Vietnam! Who are the people behind it? Was it hard to set up something like this?
We built our homegrown production studio from ground up, working with a small and close-knit team of designers, patternmakers, seamstresses and artisans. Creating through collaboration is one of our core values. It’s challenging to produce each Kaarem piece in our own studio from start to finish, but we enjoy the process and believe in the craft.
The KAAREM woman seems to celebrate a quiet minimalism with a fluid mix of feminine silhouettes and masculine detailing. Can you explain how you came upon the process of this aesthetic?
Simplicity triggers curiosity in our designer, Chuong. He finds it inspiring and challenging to design within boundaries, always exploring ways to make the form and function work together.
We see your team seems to be an international mix of cultures clashing and working together. How do you see the New York woman dressing up your pieces versus the styling of a Vietnamese woman?
We think each person is influenced their own special mix of geography, environment and exposure to different cultures. Though the functional element of dressing up our pieces may be a bit more geographically specific, such as layering to keep warm in NY or covering up from the sun in Vietnam.
So you guys are a team of three people- how do you guys work together and make decisions as a fledgling brand?
All of our experiences complement each other really well, and each person brings something different to the table. We’re fortunate to have been friends for over 15 years now, so we have a lot of trust in each other and really support one another. We make a lot of decisions together while traveling, playing tennis, and eating. And we a owe a big thanks to ever-improving tech resources (e.g., seamless video chats and cloud-shared documents).
Fill in the blank: sustainability is….