Cover Looks from Commission’s spring-summer 2020 collection (Photo: Courtesy of Commission)

The passionate designers behind the emerging New York label Commission share their journey into the fashion industry

Hailing from South Korea and Vietnam, friends Jin Kay, Dylan Cao and Huy Luong pooled their design talents to launch hip New York City-based label Commission in 2018, and are now finalists for the 2020 LVMH Prize. The brand, home to tailored pieces inspired by East Asian working mums, is also the result of the designers’ diverse experience across Gucci, Narciso Rodriguez, 3.1 Phillip Lim and R13. Find them on Net-a-Porter and Ssense as they expand online.

What was your first reaction when you got the LVMH nomination?

We were on set for our fall-winter 2020 look book when we received the call from LVMH. It was a surreal moment and we were all speechless. We were instructed to keep the announcement a secret for another week, so it was challenging to process the news without showing much emotion to everyone around us.

What was the first roadblock you had to overcome?

With our previous design backgrounds at larger houses, where production is usually taken care of by a dedicated team with specific skills and experience, sourcing materials and manufacturing was new territory for all three of us. We’ve also had to learn to have patience, and to be reassuring and uplifting towards one another.

See also: Made In Hong Kong: Robert Wun On Heritage And Rejecting Stereotypes In Fashion

When was the first time you realised your brand was getting attention?

While we’ve gotten attention, it was definitely not instant nor is there necessarily hype around the brand, as that was not what we set out to build anyway. We were fortunate to secure some key press coverage in the beginning, and had tremendous support from Net-a-Porter, as well as our small circle of friends. The moment we realised we were on the right path, though, was when our personal stories of our mothers and childhoods started to resonate with people who came from different backgrounds.

How did you first realise you wanted to do fashion?

From a very young age, we all realised the power of clothing and having a uniform. We all grew up with a good mix of countryside and urban environments, and our mothers worked in all these different occupations, but it was very interesting to see there were a lot of commonalities in the way they dressed. Jin’s mother was a doctor who dressed strictly in pencil skirts and blouses underneath a lab coat; Dylan’s mum worked in human-resources, so you’d never see her in a dress; and Huy’s mum had the flexibility of being a business owner, so she had the most fun dressing up. It helped also that she had a glamorous style and was an incredible singer at her own restaurant.

Tell us about your first collection—what was the idea behind it?

Our first collection centred around the idea of an East Asian mother going about her daily routine, dressing up for work, dropping the kids at school and dashing to the market. It was an introduction to our signature tailored shapes with a subtle sense of humour in details derived from a purse strap attached to the shoulder of a jacket. We made a ruched skirt hem mimicking how a skirt might hike up while the woman rides a motorcycle.

Who’s the first celebrity you dressed?

Laura Harrier wore one of our signature chain strap dresses on her BlacKkKlansmen tour which was quite special.

See also: Meet The London-Based Fashion Designers Behind Bridal Brand, Wed

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