A young Vietnamese woman is running her project on promoting the image of the traditional Vietnamese costume ao dai to the world.
Nguyen Thi Thuy Thuy, 22, who is studying at William Angliss Institute in Melbourne, has created a Facebook page named “Ao dai around the world,” where people across the globe can share photos capturing them wearing the traditional Vietnamese costume.
The project was initiated out of the passion of Thuy, who said she owns 60 ao dai gowns.
Earlier she emceed several programs of the Ho Chi Minh City Television Station so she had chances to wear ao dai.
With her interest in the costume and experiences wearing it, Thuy has become a consultant to her friends in choosing fabrics, designs, and tailors for making their ao dai.
Besides, Thuy also has a habit of carrying the gowns and taking photos of her wearing them whenever she travels.
She said that she wants to capture the image of ao dai wherever she goes, and that like all other Vietnamese girls, she feels more confident, special, and beautiful wearing the traditional costume.
Thuy stated that living away from home has strengthened her dream of promoting the Vietnamese costume to international friends.
“I cannot bring ao dai to all cities in the world, but together we can do it,” Thuy said.
The Vietnamese woman added that students from other countries often bring their national costumes to wear during graduation ceremonies, cultural exchanges or special occasions.
Thus, Thuy started thinking about launching her own project to create a space to keep images of all people, no matter whether they are Vietnamese or foreigners, in ao dai from around the world.
On Thuy’s page, everyone can send pictures capturing themselves or their relatives donning ao dai.
Photos can be taken anywhere with no requirement for quality, no matter if they were captured professionally or by amateurs with their camera phones.
After receiving the photos, Thuy will pick up the suitable ones and post them on the page regularly.
Each day, about 2-3 photos are posted on “Ao dai around the world” with captions depicting the photo owners’ stories in both Vietnamese and English.
Quynh Nhu, a Facebook user, wrote, “We are Vietnamese girls who love wearing ao dai” and shared a photo of her in the dress. “I hope to share the joy with the women who don the Vietnamese ao dai.”
Thuy recounted a joyful memory that she once wore ao dai to watch a football (soccer) match in which Cristiano Ronaldo played, as she wanted to attract his attention.
“But surprisingly many fans of that match came and even waited to take photos with me,” she said. “I later brought home the friendliness of international friends and their curiosity about the ao dai.”
Thuy is also creating a website providing information on ao dai, with the help of her brother who is a programmer living in Australia.
She wants to have an interactive map on her website which will display ao dai photos together which the location where they were taken.
Viewers will be able to zoom the map in and out to get more information about those places.
The site will also be designed to allow visitors to post their ao dai photos and complete an information form.
Thuy and the web administrators will consider them before adding the pictures to the map.
In the future, the 22-year-old woman said she will boost the promotion of the project to Vietnamese student forums in countries like Japan, Russia, South Korea, and others, and urge them to submit their photos.