A fear of being judged can ruin a fresh take on fashion. Fortunately, a select few, such as Shominic Nguyen, have suffered their way to fearlessness — for the benefit of us all.

When she shocked us with her fashion-forward, avant-garde streetwear at Fresh Cut: 2019 — a bridal fashion show from Emma & Grace, which presented its new collection of fifteen in-house designs last month — we knew we had to chat with her.

In that conversation, Nguyen, a graphic artist, web designer and illustrator, talked about what inspires her look and what she thought of Emma & Grace’s new offerings.

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Westword: What did you think of the fashion show?

Shominic Nguyen: The fashion show was beautiful overall. I adored the dresses and all the different takes the designers had on wedding dresses: from the more traditional, elegant looks to the more modern, sexy looks with the deep V-necks and low, open backs. I was also very impressed with the professional construction of all the pieces and love how some designers used the bridal theme to make more casual, fun looks paired with items like denim jackets and cowboy hats. I also especially loved the decorations around the venue, with the flowers and soft, warm color palette. Everything was so lovely and cute.

Some fashion designs at Emma & Grace bridal boutique.EXPAND

Some fashion designs at Emma & Grace bridal boutique.

Mauricio Rocha

Who or what inspires your personal style?

My personal style is very inspired by street fashion, particularly in Asia. I also get a lot of inspiration from designers like Yohji Yamamoto, Juun.J, Junya Watanabe, Raf Simons, Yu Amatsu, Chanel and Gucci. The Naruto characters’ costume designs give me a ton of inspiration as well.

What is your favorite color?

I love black, white and gray.

Contrasting colors in Nguyen's hair add an element of surprise to her look.EXPAND

Contrasting colors in Nguyen’s hair add an element of surprise to her look.

Mauricio Rocha

What is your favorite accessory?

Hats and beanies — or bags. I’m not big on jewelry, but I love how a nice hat or beanie or bag adds so much to an outfit and can either blend in with the overall look of an outfit or be a statement piece that elevates the look entirely.

Where do you shop?

I’m a big online shopper, so I rarely shop at physical stores. Not only is it more convenient, but it also gives me more options and variety to choose from. Plus, as a Colorado resident, many of the brands I enjoy wearing are, unfortunately, not sold at the stores here. So I shop at the online stores of the brands themselves, anything from Y-3 to Acne Studios to Stüssy, or just stores like Zara or Uniqlo. I also love thrifting!

Nguyen wears a monogrammed, painted Gucci purse borrowed from her mother, "because she never wears it."EXPAND

Nguyen wears a monogrammed, painted Gucci purse borrowed from her mother, “because she never wears it.”

Mauricio Rocha

What is your favorite film?

I’m a huge movie and anime nerd, so if I had to choose one, off the top of my head, I might have to say Spirited Away, but a more current favorite would be Koe No Katachi, or A Silent Voice.

What is your jam of the moment?

An older one from 2017, “Fanxy Child,” by Zico and Fanxy Child.

Fashion from Emma & Grace.EXPAND

Fashion from Emma & Grace.

Mauricio Rocha

What is your style mantra?

I’ve been through so many phases and styles since middle school and have experienced all kinds of judgment by peers and verbal bullying because of my style that whenever I’m putting together an outfit, I make sure, first and foremost, that I don’t let myself get scared of what other people will think of me if I wear so-and-so or look a certain way. I’ve just gotten to a point where I’ve learned to stop letting that kind of judgment and the fear of it hinder my style. If I want to wear something, I’ll just do it, and I guess that’s just a mixture of both the confidence I’ve gained in myself since middle school and generally caring less about what other people will think.

What three words would you use to describe your style and fashion sense?

Monochrome, tech-wear, unisex.

Follow Shominic Nguyen on Instagram. Click here to see more of Emma & Grace’s Private Label fashion designs.

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