Vietnamese fashion influencer Chau Bui on connecting through creativity and authenticity, as she uses her platform to advocate for the greater good.
For Chau Bui, one of Vietnam’s most influential social media figures, fashion has always been a means of self-expression. The 26-year-old recalls how she got her start, raiding her parents’ closets, and thrifting at second-hand stores, not really expecting the massive attention her unique stylings would get online.
These days, she’s often seen in eye-catching outfits at high-profile events, or at fashion weeks all around the globe. “Fashion was my playground to get creative. And until now, what I love about working in fashion is the boundless creativity of it all,” she tells Vogue Philippines.
With millions of followers across her many online channels, the model-slash-influencer has won various awards in her industry, been on numerous magazine covers, and was even listed as one of Forbes Vietnam’s 30 Under 30.
Inspired to make a difference, she is keen on championing worthy causes like promoting local talent. “From fashion designers to creative directors, from makeup artists to photographers, it’s so inspirational to see the industry thriving in such a relatively short period of time. I want to do my part to bring these amazingly creative minds and products from Vietnam to the global fashion scene,” she declares.
Having been working in fashion for nearly a decade, Chau is also a supporter of mindful consumption. “I understand that in order for the industry to continue growing, we need to prioritize sustainability, not only in what we produce, what we wear, but also in our daily habits and choices,” she shares.
Aside from creating content around the concept of a more sustainable lifestyle, she also initiated a project called “Sharing is Caring” five years ago, which raises funds by reusing and recycling clothes for the benefit of various charities around Vietnam. The annual event now attracts thousands of young people eager to create a meaningful impact on their communities. “I got to work with social workers who tirelessly support orphans, human-trafficking victims, underprivileged children and so much more. To see that my platform has the ability to connect and empower people through these projects has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my professional career,” she shares.
She is also set to launch an affordable skincare brand called Good Day this year, which she says will be formulated with all-natural ingredients from Vietnam. It will debut with a line of serums. “Beyond taking care of your skin, I want users to wake up each morning with a renewed sense of confidence and energy, knowing that you have everything you need to look your best,” she says.
Despite her many successes, and various brand partnerships and endorsements, Chau has likewise faced her share of challenges. Her most recent one was health issues late last year that required her to take a break. But this also allowed her to reflect on her career, and what impact working in the spotlight has had on her life and relationships. “What I realized was that working in such constant presence of social media and technology, a lot of people my age had been under a tremendous amount of pressure to build a certain persona in the public eye, without proper tools and support for self-reflection, self-love and self-balance against these pressures,” she says.
This then inspired her and her team to come up with “Introspection,” a project that she says wants to “provide the platform and tools for young people to empower their inner self.” This kicked off with a healing retreat where Chau, and a handful of their country’s top content creators, gathered for a series of special activities facilitated by experts and specialists. “In Vietnamese culture, we often say, ‘Take one step back, two steps forward.’ Sometimes it is extremely important to slow down, to look within, instead of outward, to find what’s most important to you at the moment, to find your own inner peace,” she shares.
Knowing that almost 70 percent of her followers are young women, Chau also believes it is important that she use her voice to promote the importance of female empowerment. She considers Gucci’s commitment to raise awareness against gender-based violence “an extremely important initiative.” The Italian brand has pledged that for a certain time period, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of their Signoria sling-back in Rosso Ancora red will help build Casa delle Donne, a new haven in Florence.
Chau believes self-awareness is the first step to loving oneself. “By being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, by being honest and vulnerable to yourself and those around you, we connect better to our inner self and open up opportunities for growth,” she says. “My platforms will always be a space to celebrate, to express, and to empower individuals.”
By MARIANE PEREZ. Photographs by ZANTZ HAN. Fashion Director: PAM QUIÑONES. Stylists: Bryan Ho, Jasmine Ashvinkumar. Makeup: Lai Weeming for Chau Bui, Mickey See for Liza Soberano. Hair: Ken Hong for Chau Bui, Renz Pangilinan for Liza Soberano. Talents: Chau Bui, Liza Soberano. Producers: Anz Hizon, David Bay. Nails: Belicia Gwee of Risual Nails, Zi of Auum. Photographer’s Assistants: Alexander Titus Ng, Sin Yean Yam. Stylist’s Assistant: Sri Anggreni.