THE MOVERS & SHAKERS
Here is a selection of the people and places we collaborate with for our Hidden Saigon Journeys and other activities and experiences. Contact us for more information of the other Movers and Shakers we work with.
UuDam Tran Nguyen
UuDam Tran Nguyen is a Visual Artist based in Saigon. He studied in Vietnam and the USA, and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. and from the School of Visual Arts in NY with an MFA.
He has been exhibited internationally, including various Biennials. He won the Jury Selection prize of the prestigious 18th Japan Media Arts Festival for his installation robotic app art License 2 Draw.
UuDam is also the co-founder of the experimental art magazine XEM.
Leo Huynh Trinh
Fashion Designer, Sinhtolina
Leo Huynh Trinh was born and raised in Nha Trang, which plays a major influence in her clothing brand Sinhtolina. As a young woman, Leo began altering her own clothes to create original designs that had a sense of freedom and liberty. As a trained interior designer, the materials are the focal point for her designs.
Establish in April 2014, Sinhtolina strives to provide the world with beautiful custom dresses for women who share an appreciation for summer dresses and a bohemian lifestyle. Leo's designs are casual daily wear, breezy holiday attire as well as wedding dresses.
La Viet Coffee
Husband and wife team, Nguyen Thi Nhu Ngoc and Tran Nhat Quang are the brains behind La Viet Coffee. With no background in coffee making, the couple wanted a change in their lives and decided to try their hand at coffee production with the lesser known Vietnamese Arabica beans.
La Viet Coffee has come to be one of the leaders in specialty coffee in Vietnam. They started to create different spins on the coffee drinks, including their bestseller, Margarita Coffee, which takes the flavor of this tropical drink complete with salt rim. La Viet spends hours researching and developing new drinks, pushing the specialty coffee scene forward, all the while respecting and developing the Vietnamese coffee culture.
Trang (Tricia) Nguyen
Founder, Wintercearig & Lang Spot
Tricia is the founder of the Wintercearig Project, a project that aims to raise awareness of mental health issues in Vietnam through contemporary art and dance. The festival includes performances, installations, collaborations between artists and dancers and workshops for the community using the practice of art and dance therapy to create safe spaces for people
She is also the co-founder of community arts space Lang Spot. Its goal is to provide a space a safe space for creatives and the public to hold events.
Mrs. Khanh is a stay-at-home mom who has been living in her family’s home in Cholon (China Town) since she was born. As close as one can get to time travel, this immaculately preserved apartment building complex is a throwback to the early 1900s. With a development boom in full swing in Saigon, here in the heart of Cholon with its herbal medicine stores and antique tea rooms time stands still.
Many of the residents here, like Mrs. Khanh herself, are of Chinese descent, which is reflected in decorations and religious symbols that we will encounter during the visit. Take your time exploring Mrs. Khanh’s home that was originally built by the French and changed very little since
Nguyen Kim To
Saigon born Nguyen Kim To has done it all to survive and bring up her family of artists. She met her husband - himself a major player in the 1990s Saigon art scene - in art school when they were both 12 years old and together raised two daughters, both working in the arts.
Kim To took a break from her practice during wartime when she worked at an advertising company making hand-drawn product packaging. When the war ended, she landed a job at the Ministry of Culture making large-scale propaganda posters peppering the streets of the city.
Now that her daughters have grown up, she has free time to paint once again.
From the branding to events to their taproom, Deme Brewing epitomises DIY culture. It was launched in 2019 by four friends, who loved craft beer and wanted a change of career: filmmaker, Siro, street artist, Cheeky, interior designer, Chicko and graphic designer Liger Pham.
Their goal was to integrate their appreciation of street culture with their love for craft beer to provide a lifestyle experience. They sought advice from other brewers and after countless hours of trial an error, the team launched their first beer, Ba Hoa IPA. This young brand was welcomed to the ever growing craft beer scene and placed 5th in the IPA challenge as hosted by Beervana
Since then, they’ve released a second beer, Hoi Hoi and opened a small taproom in the heart of Cholon.
Founder, Hemp Oi
After graduating from University, Thao Tran moved into the world of Vietnamese television as a presenter for various talk shows. After years of TV work, Thao felt she needed something a bit more fulfilling.
While driving through the countryside on vacation in Northern Vietnam, Thao noticed the acres and acres of hemp plant that the H’Mong ethnic minority group, were using for their everyday lives. Fascinated by this sustainable product, Thao started on a journey to learn more about this plant. She quit her job at the TV station, began to work closely with the H’Mong people and threw herself fulling into launching Hemp Oi.
Thao continues to expand Hemp Oi products and message of connecting people with nature through sustainable fashion and living green while preserving the national identity and supporting the H’Mong people’s life.
Danh Thanh Long
Kho Muc Studios, Inpages, Saigon Artbook
Saigon born Danh Thanh Long is an independent publisher and co-founder of Saigon Artbook, an independently published book that features Saigon-based artists.
Founded in 2013, its dual mission is to provide motivation and exposure for artists based in Saigon, whilst encouraging new audiences to engage with contemporary art.
In 2016, Long along with 2 other partners, co-founded and opened InPages an independent bookstore focusing on independent and small print publications.
He is also the co-founder of Kho Muc Studio, the first Risograph print studio that provides riso-printing services, workshops and creates paper good products.