Today’s interview is with someone that a few of you may be familiar with – the fabulous Nini Nguyen. Nini is a stylist and successful designer with some pretty amazing clients. I’ve followed her through her site for over three years, and it’s been amazing to see her career progress to where it is now (most deservedly), and get to watch her beautiful style all along the way. I loved learning more Nini as I’m sure you will too – enjoy meeting her!
Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?
My name is Nini Nguyen and I am a fashion stylist and designer. I am currently living in Dallas, Texas.
You work as a successful stylist – a job which for many, is a dream career. How did you first get into this industry?
I was born in Vietnam, lived in Thailand for eight years, and eventually began working in fashion in America when I was fourteen years old. My goal was to get hired at Banana Republic and be a salesperson, but I barely knew any English. I had to start somewhere, so they hired me a few times a week as a janitor. One day a customer came in, and I was very sneaky and helped them. The customer walked out with a major sale and everyone at the store was like, “How did you do that?”
Eventually I became the top salesperson in the region, and then district. I then moved on to Neiman Marcus when I was seventeen for about three years and Barneys for three years after that. Then, I started out on my own as a stylist helping my existing customers – which allowed me more freedom in selecting garments worldwide.
You recently landed Rihanna as a client, who was not only styled by you – but who also wore some of your very own designs! What was it like working with her?
I can’t say much about this topic, due our confidentiality agreement. All I can say is that Rihanna is one of the sweetest clients that I have ever worked with.
What are some of your fundamental rules that you follow when styling clients? And what are some of your biggest fashion pet peeves?
My number one rule when I style my clients, is asking and finding out: what makes them feel beautiful and confident! I will start making suggestions from there, and if the client feels confident and beautiful in the items, you will start seeing their personal style and enhance that.
My biggest fashion pet peeve are wrinkled garments. I can’t stand them!
Can you share some favorite items in your wardrobe?
My favorite items are vintage pieces that I collect from around the world whenever I get a chance. My favorite piece would have to be my vintage Chanel pencil skirt! They are not made like they used to be. Another piece is yet another vintage skirt from Alaia, made out of python. I will never give these pieces away!
You’re always so beautifully dressed up – do you ever dress down? Something I struggle with is the fact that while I love beautiful and formal clothing, I often find it quite uncomfortable! Do you have any tips?
I would never put anything uncomfortable on my body no matter how beautiful it was, except for certain pairs of Christian Louboutin! Beautiful clothing should make you feel beautiful and should not add any doubts in your mind. Being uncomfortable will trick your mind into feeling that something is not right, and you won’t feel your best! So be sure to select beautiful, comfortable clothes.
What items are you wearing over and over again right now – that you have received great “cost per wear” from? Any favorite brands that appear frequently in your closet?
Currently the items that I am wearing the most right now are my Prada pumps, both in black and white. Both colors allow me to mix them easily with other garments and they are so comfortable to go shopping and meet with clients in. Rick Owens is one of my favorite brands, for its edginess and ease of wear which fits my style. Vince is another brand that I purchase from frequently for my basic items.
What are some of your other passions and hobbies?
My other hobby is cooking! I enjoy learning new recipes and trying new ingredients every chance I get.
Finally…please share something surprising about yourself!
I used to be very afraid of dogs since childhood. But since living with one with my husband, I now feel that every person on the planet should have a dog as part of their family.
I loved reading about Nini’s path to where she is now – it’s truly inspiring and a testament to both her hard work and persistence and the sheer talent she possesses. I really enjoyed hearing more about Nini and her style, and am looking forward to seeing the amazing places her styling and design career takes her in the future. Thank you very much to Nini for being here today, and for more of her, please visit her blog, here.