A Class of Her Own on a national Vietnamese newspaper! - A Class of Her Own
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A Class of Her Own on a national Vietnamese newspaper!


YAY! The Unorthodox Orient was published on LAO DONG, a national Vietnamese newspaper!

Article on Lao Dong Newspaper


Having chosen the name Ca Dao for their daughter, the parents must have had deep affection for the true beauty of their motherland, and expected their daughter to carry this beautiful grace that is the essence of the country’s tradition. With that expectation must have come great discipline.

Ca Dao wrote on her English blog:

“I was born a Vietnamese girl, to be raised with values that a typical Hue girl should have… My parents put so much effort into teaching me how to talk, how to eat, how to sit, how to stand, how to behave….

I have probably turned out not exactly the way they wanted me to be. I respect them so much and I’m really proud of my culture… But, unfortunately I’m no typical Hue girl… Mother used to say “Why are you so different from me?”… I was loud, I was extrovert, I was careless…. I never wanted to stay at home, I never talked with a soft voice, sometimes I ate without leaving some for others, I did Hiphop dancing, I wore clothes that were deemed inappropriate, way too liberal….

Yes, I was a rebellious kid indeed…

As much as I loved and respected those values they wanted to embed in me…. I also wanted to set myself free, to be rebellious, to be outrageous, to be…. DIFFERENT….

This photoshoot originated from that idea of being different…. Asian but not Asian, Vietnamese but not Vietnamese!

Things that are not conventional…. Things that are different according to various perceptions… And this photoshoot shows Vietnamese, or Vietnamese Ao’ Da`i if you would prefer…. from a DIFFERENT angle….”

Apparently I became truly eager to see these “Ao Dai” photos from Ca Dao – the stylist – after reading such a cute, full of confidence and, in a sense, provocative introduction. I then found myself smiling as I opened those photos of “Vietnamese Ao Dai”, which reflect an image of the girl who created them. Mischievous, yes; Different, yes; but they are, above all, Beautiful.

The Unorthodox Orient photoshoot
Model Kira Zumkley, Hair Stylist Crystal and photographer Oat Chaiyasith – Ca Dap’s friends – all contributed to the beauty of this “collection”. I also liked the “amater’ish” captions from Ca Dao: “borrowed from my friend Trang Nguyen”, “borrowed from my flatmate Heo Mu.p”, “Strawhat: my grandmother’s”, etc.. For Ca Dao, who majored in Finance and currently works in the financial industry, “amateur” could likely be an appropriate word of description.
The Unorthodox Orient photoshoot
The impression I was left with after seeing this “collection” from Ca Dao Nguyen and friends, however, was neither the “rebelliousness” nor the “difference” in the younger Vietnamese generation living abroad. Instead, I was struck by how the traiditional Ao Dai manages to follow the VIetnamese people away from its homeland, even though transformed in a “mould-breaking” direction. I also realised how the Vietnamese culture remains an invisible thread that follow the soaring kites, a guiding lighthouse that continuously signals the way home…
Happy, and touched….
By Vinh Quyen