In An Exclusive Interview, Kye Nguyen Reflects On His Successful Journey As A Renowned Fashion Stylist.

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Kye Nguyen, whose full name is Nguyen Tuan Kiet, is renowned among fashion enthusiasts as a prominent stylist with over a decade of experience. 
Kye has been a Creative Director and Fashion Advisor for many top Vietnamese artists, including Ho Ngoc Ha, Huong Giang, Ngoc Trinh, Tran Thanh, Ngo Kien Huy, and Chau Bui.

He is also the current Fashion Director for The New Mentor, a highly popular reality TV show about fashion.

Furthermore, he has styled influential figures in the business world like Duong Thu Huong (former CEO of Forbes Vietnam and External Relations Director of IDG Ventures Vietnam), Tien Nguyen (Deputy General Director of luxury fashion development at DAFC), and the Vietnamese-American billionaire Mimi Morris.

In the realm of entrepreneurship, He is the CEO/Founder of F Fresh Spray, a pioneering gender-neutral perfume brand in the market, and the Founder and Creative Director of Kye Agency, a leading agency specializing in fashion styling and image consulting.
Kye Nguyen Reflects On His Successful Journey As A Renowned Fashion Stylist.
When did you realize you had a passion to become a fashion stylist and how did you do it?
My passion for fashion was ignited at a young age. As a teenager, I came from a family without significant financial resources and no connection to the fashion industry.
I relied on my instincts, I utilized available clothes, accessories from home, or affordable second-hand items, creatively modifying them to make outfits stand out. Back then, I simply pursued this out of personal interest, not realizing it would become my lifelong career, especially since the role of a stylist in Vietnam's fashion industry was still nebulous and lacked a clear definition.
It was only when I participated in the “Fashion Star” competition in 2011 that I recognized the allure and excitement of the fashion world. Seizing the initiative, I proactively sent applications to magazines, brands, and TV stations to dive deeper into the fashion landscape and pave the way for my budding career as a fashion designer.
Do you remember your first experience as a Stylist?
The proudest and first experience I had as a stylist was when I organized a fashion photo shoot for a magazine, and the photos were chosen for the cover. Back then, I was just a newcomer to the vast world of fashion. I had no reputation, influence, nor did I have any introduction or endorsement from reputable organizations or individuals.
I was just a student, a collaborator of the magazine. What I possessed was a passion for the craft, 
and a desire to immerse myself, learn, and achieve goals in fashion. I sought out ideas, created concepts, contacted fashion brands, locations for shoots, make-up teams, and photographers, presented my creative concepts to them, and persuaded them to collaborate. Everything I did was not based on a solid foundation of professional knowledge or support, but rather on instinct, talent, and a can-do attitude. Fortunately, I met like-minded partners and seniors who saw their younger selves in me and agreed to collaborate.
Lo, and behold all the hard work paid off – the magazine chose my photos for its cover. It was then that I vowed to conquer the world of fashion and dedicate my energy to bringing the greatest value to Vietnamese fashion.
What’s your approach when you first start styling someone?
One thing I always insist on when styling is observation, listening, and analytical thinking.
Before styling any client, I always take the time to sit down and chat - partly to understand them and partly to build trust. I always see myself as their most devoted servant, bringing the best values to them, as they are customers and I am a top-notch salesperson.
As you work with more special clients, you realize that there’s often only one chance, and you must provide a perfect experience right from the first collaboration. Perfection often lies in the details, hence the importance of continuous observation and keen sensitivity.
Perhaps it’s because everything I did came from the heart, coupled with dedication, that I’ve endeared myself to the influential figures I've been fortunate to meet. This has helped me cultivate and expand my network over the years.
How big a role does Fashion play in your life? 
Even after nearly two decades in the fashion industry, having tackled various roles in this field, to me, fashion remains my greatest passion, something intrinsically linked to who I am.
It’s not enough to just talk about fashion. For me, fashion and the job of a stylist aren't just a fleeting passion that can be easily abandoned for profit. It’s an ideal I pursue; it’s how I wholeheartedly dedicate myself to art and create new values in the standards of beauty for the age.
Fashion is my passion, talent, and the flame that has shaped me into who I am today. To me, being a stylist is a very humane profession. It’s not just about transforming someone’s appearance. A stylist also contributes to defining new standards of beauty and elevates someone’s lifestyle on their journey to success. Therefore, no matter what field I try my hand at, my desire remains to contribute and create new values in fashion in general, and the job of a fashion style expert in particular.
Kye Nguyen Reflects On His Successful Journey As A Renowned Fashion Stylist.
VANITY FAIR Styling by Kye Nguyen
What was the inspiration behind the launch of your brand “Kye Agency”? And the launching of your fashion brand “DEAM by KYE” in 2021.
After 5 years of independent work as a stylist, starting alone and eventually accompanied by assistants, I set bigger goals for my career. I realized that I needed to create a more empowering work environment, where assistant stylists were not just “errand runners” but were actively trained to become stylists. I couldn't be the only decision-maker in the operations, and I had to provide opportunities for my assistants to practice, encounter challenges, and develop.

This is the reason behind the inception of Kye Agency. My aspiration was to build a collective of talented stylists and manage the profession in an organized and professional manner. I wanted to reshape the definition and value of a stylist's work in the fashion industry and for the general public. Moreover, by establishing a professional styling organization, clients can have easier access, and the stylists can generate a higher income.

With “Deam by Kye”, a fashion brand influenced by the allure of feminism, I desired to bring to life a fashion label that embodied feminist ideologies. The core spirit of the brand is the “power in fashion”. 
Designs under Deam by Kye are envisioned to craft the style of modern female entrepreneurs, redefining the contemporary “girl-boss” style – women who are in command, targeting elegant, sophisticated, and powerful businesswomen.
Kye Nguyen Reflects On His Successful Journey As A Renowned Fashion Stylist.
Tell us more about why you chose the lovely color “black” (which is my favorite by the way), as the identity for Deam by Kye? And tell us about the inspiration behind the “Equalism collection”.
I decided on black as the signature color for Deam by Kye. Aiming for a clientele of successful businesswomen with an elegant style, aged 35-45 years, mostly female CEOs in the beauty industry, cosmetics brands, and real estate. Black is an indispensable color in their wardrobe. It flatters the figure, conceals imperfections, exudes elegance and timelessness, and is powerful and striking. Black meets all the clothing needs of this customer group.
While black remains timeless in fashion due to its versatility, with each season, I will incorporate striking and trending colors so that customers of Deam by Kye always have access to the latest styles. But black will always be a staple of Deam by Kye.
Kye Nguyen Reflects On His Successful Journey As A Renowned Fashion Stylist.
Let’s say you could travel back in time to one fashion era, Where would you end up? What did you like about that period?
If I could travel back in time to one fashion era, I would go back to the 1980s and immerse myself in the fashion style of YSL (Yves Saint Laurent). As I've mentioned, I’m always captivated by feminist styles, and YSL’s spirit in the '80s embodies that sentiment. The empowering, menswear-inspired, captivating style. 
In the 1980s, YSL celebrated the ideal woman. The fashion of that decade emphasized bold combinations in color, size, and cuts, and always encouraged wearers to experiment. Form-fitting mini dresses, shimmering suits, and rock-inspired leather jackets epitomized the strong, powerful, and daring image of women.
I believe a fashion stylist must have a personal brand that can communicate. A brand is what you put out into the world that allows people to know who you are and what you stand for. The most important part of a personal brand is the story you tell; so tell us Kye, what story do you wish to tell the world through your brand? 
I have countless stories about my journey to become the top stylist in the Vietnamese fashion scene. However, if I were to choose one story to share, it would be about changing people's perceptions of the stylist profession. In my early days in the industry, people in Vietnam had a vague understanding of this profession. Once I chose it as my career, I was determined to redefine and elevate its value through my experiences.
A stylist plays a vital role in the fashion industry, demanding a great deal of thought and spirit. Passion alone is not enough; one must also have a keen eye, meticulous observation skills, and a high aesthetic sense. A stylist is influential, not just to clients but also to fashion brands. They help clients better understand their personal style and boost their confidence in their best features. A stylist can make a brand's piece look better or worse with their mix-and-match skills.
A stylist inspires people to create beauty, helping clients become the best versions of themselves without the need for cosmetic surgery. Everyone has their own inherent perfection, and a stylist’s job is not just about providing beautiful clothing, but also uncovering that perfection, guiding clients to recognize the best aspects of their physique and the style that best suits them.
Kye Nguyen Reflects On His Successful Journey As A Renowned Fashion Stylist.
Project- THE SALON Styling by KYE NGUYEN
Very well put Kye!!. As a celebrity stylist, what are some opportunities you have been blessed to get your hands on
Fashion has been a part of my life since I was young, so after graduation, I immediately pursued a fashion-related job that suited my dynamic and creative nature: a stylist. Entering the industry as a newbie, I felt fortunate to connect and work with top artists. Many opportunities stemmed from those initial connections.
Who have been some of your inspirations, mentors, or role models?
In everyone's developmental journey, we need mentors - people who teach us life and work lessons, providing wisdom for growth. I was no different. Inspirational figures who have influenced me span business, fashion, and entertainment sectors, including Mrs. Duong Thu Huong, Mr. Do Long, Mr. Tran Thanh Trung, and photographer Milor Tran. Each of them excels in different areas and has contributed to my well-rounded development. Mrs. Duong Thu Huong taught me leadership and interpersonal skills; Mr. Tran Thanh Trung taught me to push my boundaries; Mr. Do Long instilled in me a drive for fashion creativity; and photographer Milor Tran imbued me with precision, attention to detail, and professionalism. He significantly influenced the work ethic of Kye Agency.
As for role models, I don’t have a fixed one. Instead, I accumulate value through interactions and learning. I observe and internalize the values bestowed upon me by influential figures, always striving to grow daily. If there’s any comparison to be made, I compare myself to my past self, always ensuring I'm better today than I was yesterday, constantly demanding today’s version of me to be superior to the one from yesterday.
Most fashion stylists, when they first start out, are primarily attracted to editorial work. How do you balance editorial and commercial work?
I have always held the belief that everything I do contributes value to the fashion industry and affirms the role of a stylist. Pouring my creativity and passion into my work helps me strike a balance between all job requirements, whether it's editorial or commercial.
So far, I have collaborated with top Vietnamese celebrities like Ho Ngoc Ha, Thanh Hang, Huong Giang, Tran Thanh, Ngoc Trinh, Vo Hoang Yen, Gil Le, Chau Bui, and Miss Vietnam 2016 -Do My Linh. Each of my projects incorporates both editorial and commercial aspects.
For individual clients, who are mainly entrepreneurs, the commercial aspect is evident in the way I balance their stringent requirements with their inherent values. Making an ordinary person look as gorgeous as a star is both a passion and a challenge for me. It demands a deep understanding, style direction, and foresight.
To balance commercial and editorial elements, I have to weigh both objective and subjective factors. I need to decide what’s best for my project and emphasize its crucial components. I delve deep into the core values of each project, approaching it with an understanding to meet client demands while expressing the spirit of the concept.
How would you describe your brand aesthetics and Personal Style?
I'm not just a stylist. I am also a Creative Director and an Entrepreneur. Hence, my appearance must be polished, professional, and elegant. At the same time, it should reflect my aesthetic taste and individuality.
Regarding my personal style, I gravitate towards the elegance and practicality of fashion. Keywords for my style include 'Maximalism', Colorful, High Fashion, and Luxury Brand.
How do you define success for yourself as a fashion entrepreneur?
The success of anyone in the fashion industry, especially a stylist, lies in the trust, respect, and love from clients and celebrities alike. Moreover, I feel I have achieved success in establishing and growing the Kye Agency into a renowned fashion style-shaping agency, redefining the concept of a stylist’s role.
Even with the accomplishments I've achieved today, I believe my contributions are modest compared to those who preceded me. I constantly remind myself to be humble, open-minded, and listen actively. This attitude drives me to improve every day and achieve the success I have today.
Working with Billionaire Mimi Morris
What would you say has been the most defining moment of your career so far? 
A pivotal moment in my career was when I realized that being a stylist isn’t just about following one’s passion or hobbies; it must be approached as a business with strategies and professional development processes.
This shift in perspective allowed me to create a work environment where what seems like an impulsive job becomes a sustainable profession with potential growth into higher roles in fashion, such as Fashion Designer, Fashion Director, and Creative Director. This ensures the lasting passion and commitment of fashion enthusiasts to the stylist profession, even after many years in the field.
What steps do you take to protect your physical and mental health during stressful moments in your line of work? 
Being in a creative profession requires high physical and mental health. Of course, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising daily is essential for physical well-being. However, what intrigues me more is mental well-being.
Not always can we focus on creativity and produce excellent results. There are times when we experience saturation and fatigue. In such moments, I believe it's essential to slow down, take some time for healing, and listen more to one's mind.
For a creative individual, inspiration is crucial. When you find yourself exhausted and running out of ideas, that’s when you need inspiration the most. Resting doesn’t always mean laying in bed; it could mean meeting people who excel in arts, and influential figures, to listen to and gain inspiration from them. Perhaps, through such encounters, you might find a new creative spark and rejuvenate your spirit, like a healing potion for the soul.
OTS MAGAZINE UK- Exclusive Interview with Fashion Stylist Kye Nguyen
Given your prominence in the fashion and entertainment industries, what do you believe to be the most crucial factors? 
After an extensive search and training period, I realized that the most critical attribute in a team member is their innate quality. This “quality” is something I can discern in a young professional pursuing their passion. Specifically, at my Agency, while working together, I can gauge whether they have good taste or not, which is reflected in their work results.
However, for a long-lasting relationship and joint collaboration, I look at their dedication, efforts, receptiveness, and self-esteem. Self-respect translates to responsibility towards one's job, recognizing flaws, striving for improvement, and always seeking to better oneself each day.
What are the biggest misconceptions people not working in your field have about your job?
Some stylists are merely people borrowing clothes from brands for their clients” – this is a narrow viewpoint and misconstrues the profession.
For me, a stylist doesn’t just pick and force clients into predetermined outfits. There’s a process of listening and exchanging ideas. Depending on all the gathered information, I direct the appropriate path. 
For instance, when styling any client, it’s essential to know the event they are attending, its nature, and the attendees, to craft an elegant yet standout image. I then dispatch my stylist team to inspect clothing options, report with visuals, and even hunt for the latest designs, never worn before, by directly visiting stores.
I want to reiterate, that a stylist isn’t merely about handing an outfit to a client. It's about providing the best choices, enabling the client to attain the best version of themselves. That’s why they seek stylists.
What challenges do you face as a stylist? 
Fashion is a race, and stylists are the drivers. They need not only to be swift but also agile, adapting to the relentless shifts in fashion. In recent years, while the stylist profession appears lucrative and glamorous with high-end brand interactions, for insiders, it’s a thrilling race. A momentary lapse can quickly throw you off track.
The most pressing concern for me, Kye Nguyen, is how to constantly innovate while maintaining a consistent personal touch for clients, creating a sustainable personal brand. This way, the clients can clearly recognize their unique traits, helping them uncover and further develop their self-worth.
What kind of fashion advice would you give us?
If I were to offer a piece of fashion advice to everyone, I would talk about creativity in fashion. Creativity has value when it shows its applicability, being creative but not “over-the-top”, and sticking to 3 principles: restraint, subtlety, and coherence.
Restraint means understanding the materials of fashion, and knowing what to include or exclude so that the end result achieves the highest aesthetic balance.
Subtlety is about careful selection, emphasizing the most valuable and crucial elements for one's design.
Coherence is a standard for combining various fashion “materials” in terms of color, layout, spirit, texture, and structure, ensuring that, no matter how avant-garde, the pieces are always interconnected and complement one another.
Since you style a lot of people in the public eye, do you consider yourself to be a trendsetter?
Of course, creating or leading a trend is something not only I, but all fashion creatives, aim for. There have been many times when I’ve produced pieces that garnered significant media attention and fashionista interest. However, at this point in time, as fashion increasingly takes a vital role in life, I believe I should not only be someone capable of creating trends but also someone who grasps, comprehends, and controls the existing ones. These elements allow me to “master” market movements and work with multiple clients of varied styles without any repetition or imitation.
Which trends are you loving right now and what trend do you want to see disappear?
My perspective on trends is about their story and their impact over time. Any emerging trend carries with it the era’s zeitgeist and fashion essence. For me, it’s not so much about liking or disliking but about whether it aligns with my aesthetic sense or not.
Now, I’m still fond of fashion trends that showcase women’s empowerment, the modern feminist movement. Styles that can articulate women's formidable power, significant achievements, and self-mastery.
Another trend I particularly appreciate is the Futuristic fashion trend. It embodies a forward-looking spirit with creations that seem detached from reality, designs with bold ideas that intrigue visually, and simultaneously represent the individualism of fashion creatives in particular and art enthusiasts in general.
What does a “typical” day in the life of Kye Nguyen look like?
Like any regular person, my day starts at 8 a.m. and I am a “work-centric individual”. Except for the time I spend on physical exercises and 1-2 hours for meals and breaks, the rest is devoted to work. I work until I've completed at least 85% of the day's agenda.
My main tasks include meeting partners, communicating with clients, managing, pushing, and monitoring the progress of subordinates to ensure all operations are following the set procedures and trajectories.
I dedicate 1-2 hours a day to learning new languages or additional soft skills to enhance my role as a Creative CEO.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned since you started your brand?
Up to now, with owning various brands like Deam by Kye, Kye Agency, F Fresh Spray,... I’ve realized that each product is a “masterpiece”. The most valuable essence of these masterpieces is the meticulousness and passion the creator put into them.
At the same time, solidarity and team spirit are crucial. I couldn’t succeed alone without a team that understands me. People often say, “Going alone might be faster, but going together is further”. But for me: Going together is both faster and further!
There’s so much talk these days about inclusivity and diversity but is enough really being done?
I believe I’m currently on the journey to achieving this, striving to be better every day. I've experienced numerous roles in fashion like a Stylist, Fashion Designer, Fashion Director, Art/Creative Director,... As such, my experience is more comprehensive and diverse. Beyond creative fashion tasks, I also shoulder the responsibility of a CEO, managing a perfume brand. I've transitioned from an artist to a true entrepreneur. Management, business operations, and strategic planning are challenging. On this journey, I bring all my experience and passion from over 10 years to build a community that connects and develops talents in fashion.
Business and styling complement each other. They help me balance the creative and artistic side with a financial perspective to sustainably develop a team. One project is nurtured by another, creating a diverse and comprehensive ecosystem.
An Exclusive Interview with Kye Nguyen
What advice do you have for emerging designers or stylists who are looking to break into the fashion industry?
Every job has its unspoken rules, which aren't taught in any book. With enough time, you’ll understand what to do and what's taboo, and styling is no exception.
For A-list celebrities, always prepare unique designs to avoid overlaps or being compared to “wearing someone else’s outfit”. They don’t want to be a copy of someone else; a stylist helps them stand out in the best possible manner.
Outfits must be fitted at least 1-2 days before their appearance. Always know the client's measurements and adjust the outfits accordingly. Always keep the client informed about the details of a shoot at least 2-3 days in advance. A-listers have hectic schedules, so as a stylist, one must be adaptive.
For all projects, keep photos confidential until they are used and released. Behind-the-scenes images shouldn’t be disseminated without their consent.
A stylist is also the one arranging and producing for artists. Therefore, when producing for A-listers, always choose a capable and professional team.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
I will devote my heart and soul to developing fashion projects related to education. I've long harbored the dream and am currently working towards establishing a Stylist Academy. I firmly believe that it's time to prepare for the next generation.
The Stylist Academy I aim to establish is not just about training for the styling profession. Above all, it provides a comprehensive environment where every student learns the most professional workflow of a stylist, and connects with a fashion ecosystem to have stable jobs and a clear development path.
This academy is my ultimate goal in dedicating myself to the fashion industry. I want to meet, and uplift young talents in the fashion sector, contribute to bringing Vietnamese fashion to the international stage, and build a strong ecosystem to nurture the passion of the younger generation or those who haven’t had many opportunities in the fashion realm.
What role do you think social media plays in fashion and entertainment today?
Social media plays a pivotal role in today's fashion and entertainment world. It is a primary tool for promoting fashion brands, as well as personal brands of creatives.
Social media is not just for entertainment but also a highly effective tool for connecting service providers with their customers, and generating revenue.
What’s your most worn piece of clothing?
My favorite outfit consists of jeans, a T-shirt, and a blazer. I love the comfort, streetwear, and unconventionality. To be consistent with my personal brand, I choose characterful jeans paired with simple T-shirts, or ones with subtle graphics to maintain elegance, as a signature of my own. The blazer, on the other hand, serves to balance the image of a creative and a leader and is also handy for unexpected meetings.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
In truth, there’s one thing I've always reminded myself of, whether at the start of my career or in the present: I thank myself for choosing a passion in fashion and tirelessly working from the outset. I have to be stronger every day, strive to achieve my personal goals, and contribute more to the community.
How is working in fashion different today than when you started out?
Initially, I was just a stylist, but now I'm a Creative Director, a CEO, a leader, and a guide, leading a team of talented and passionate stylists. Essentially, the nature of the jobs hasn’t changed; it’s just that my position has risen to a higher peak. This is the result of learning and perseverance. From an unknown stylist intern to someone with an ecosystem in the fashion industry and influence, creating a new concept of stylist in the Vietnamese fashion market.
Before me, there were many seniors who have contributed immensely to Vietnamese fashion, such as Cong Tri, Tran Hung, Do Manh Cuong, and others who brought Vietnamese fashion to international red carpets. I still feel that what I'm doing is just a small grain of sand, and I need to contribute and build even more.
What are your latest and upcoming projects, Also tell us about a project that has been your greatest achievement?
Recently, I collaborated with Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing on a magazine cover project for Vogue and L’Officiel India’s July issue, serving as the PR and Creative Director. My greatest achievement after completing this project was to strengthen the bridge between Vietnamese fashion and the world, showing fashion aficionados that Vietnam is the budding fashion source of the world – a rich and untapped land ready for exploration and exploitation. To me, the proudest accomplishment is that the stylists at Kye Agency now have the skills and confidence to undertake such significant responsibilities. My constant effort is not just in training and mentoring, but in continually creating new opportunities and challenges for them to face.
Kye Nguyen Reflects On His Successful Journey As A Renowned Fashion Stylist.
Assuming the role of Fashion Director in The New Mentor – a trending reality TV fashion show not only in Vietnam but also in countries like Thailand and the USA is another of my proud achievements. My team and I at The New Mentor have poured our passion for fashion and respect for budding models into creating a reality show, a platform where all challenges aim to harness the powerful potential of the models, bringing them closer to the public and fashion brands.
Through The New Mentor, I also aim to convey a message: Despite differences in language or cultural identity, fashion is a universal language that allows us to connect on an international level, proving that Vietnamese fashion can indeed make a mark globally.
Where would you visualize “Kye Agency” in 5 years' time?
In the upcoming period, I am focusing on establishing a stylist training academy. Simultaneously, I am also upgrading the Kye Agency to become the top Styling Agency in Vietnam with professional working procedures and a vast potential customer base both domestically and internationally.
I believe that to achieve significant breakthroughs in one’s career, one must have clear plans and strategies to create opportunities, rather than just waiting for luck. This is the spirit that the Kye Agency steadfastly maintains throughout its development. With our current achievements, I believe that the luck we have received is, in essence, our partners - the talented designers who have provided heart-touching masterpieces, making us extremely confident and proud when presenting to international partners. Collaborating with top international artists is now the goal and vision I set for my team from now on.
Additionally, I will also establish a Fashion platform – a bridge connecting Vietnamese fashion with the world, allowing global customers to encounter Vietnamese fashion and facilitating Vietnamese designs to access the global market.
Any Last words you’d like to add?
One of the philosophies I constantly remind my team at the Kye Agency is that being a stylist is not a solo job. We can’t produce results by sitting alone; it requires a team, it requires collaborators. That's why I don’t just focus on my personal growth; I always value supporting and helping other industry colleagues, from budding designers, photographers, makeup & hair artists to set designers.
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