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Project Runway Season 6: Meet Malvin Vien

Malvin says he's "inspired by vagabonds, beatniks his travels in rural China, Japanese ghost stories and insect anatomy." Oh, honeys. We like this one.



Malvin Vien
Age: 24
Birthplace: Englewood, CO
Current Home: New York, NY
Favorite Designer: Himself (He likes what he has to say)
Style Icon: The farmers of rural China
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Jay McCarroll, Season 1

Malvin attended college at the University of Redlands, where he earned a degree in Social Medicine and Creative Solipsism through the University’s Center for alternative studies. He gained some of his early design training at the university’s costume department and later went on to study fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design. Malvin’s designs are inspired by vagabonds, beatniks his travels in rural China, Japanese ghost stories and insect anatomy. His fashion must is to have the courage to wear what makes you feel right.

Why he’ll win?
Malvin believes his designs have substance and a philosophy which separate him from other designers. He understands that fashion goes deeper than aesthetics, marketing or business.

Tim Gunn: "When you see this guy, you won't believe he's from Colorado."

TimSpeak: Look at the little podunk sew!







Aww. He seems sweet. Maybe we just have warm feelings for him because he had to grow up with the name Malvin. That couldn't have been easy.

As for his portfolio, there's not a lot out there, but we do like what little we see. That print dress is gorgeous.











Check out more of Malvin on his myLifetime.com page.

And a reminder that if you want to speculate on the finale collections, please take that discussion to the finale collection posts which you can find on the scrolldown menu at the bottom of the page.

Tim Gunn's
Quotes: Meet Project Runway's Newest Designers! [People]
[Photos: myLifetime.com - Videos: myLifetime.com]


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80 comments:

I want a degree in creative solipsism. Did he have to knit a sweater out of his belly-button lint as a senior thesis?


Western people wearing indigenous clothes?


He sounds mature beyond his years, yet doesn't speak of obscure concepts but sounds grounded. A rarity for PR. And not too full of himself, yet confident. I like the possibilities here.


" TampaBay said...

Western people wearing indigenous clothes?"

Fucking enough. Jesus Christ.


I don't know.... I just don't know....

So long as he doesn't mope around and get all social activism-y on the show, he could be fun. But if I hear a word of 'they just don't get me' or 'I'm just too ahead of them' kind of talk, I'll be very quickly ready to pull out some of that teased hair.


As a person, I totally love him. Totally. His clothes seem great too, but what really impresses me is how smart he is. I honestly think it takes someone smart to be successful on PR, and he seems like the first you have profiled that I could have over for dinner, and would enjoy having him there.

Me likey.


I agree folks. Let's get over this "Tee hee all conceptual clothing is the same and ridiculous. We want clothes REAL WOMEN can wear!!!" crap. It's tired. Malvin is not James-Paul just because they're gay little Asian dudes with big ideas. Superficial much?

I like him, he seems interesting, his inspirations are intriguing, and is able to delineate his ideas fairly eloquently. I would like to see more finished pieces, however. I think the couple things he showed in the first video are also featured in the pictures below. (He's only 23, so maybe that's somewhat understandable.)Ideas and drawings are nice, but seeing more finished products would be ideal.


bitch can SKETCH


Hmmmm....I don't know. I like him as a person so far, but like Another Laura alluded to, I'm a bit cautious about his social activism possibly making it too much into his explanations and rationalities of his designs. I like his sketches, but how would they translate into real clothes?? I'm on the fence right now regarding Malvin.


Anyone else think Malvin's model looks enough like Malvin to BE Malvin?

If that is Malvin in a wig, that's even more reason for me to cheer for him. I love men who have walked a mile in my platform heels.


I expected his to have a sash draped across his chest and a tiara on his head. His speeches sounded like, "I like puppies, feeding poor children and world peace" and I'm going to use this platform to solve the world's problems.

ANd his comment about "eating their prey" , um I'm thinking he said that backwards?

But while he reminds me of a pageant contestant -with out the jumping and squealing - he does seem like a nice guy and the little we see of the women's clothes look interesting....
(although that beige snuggie he had on does make me worry)


Shemima:

I agree folks. Let's get over this "Tee hee all conceptual clothing is the same and ridiculous. We want clothes REAL WOMEN can wear!!!" crap. It's tired. Malvin is not James-Paul just because they're gay little Asian dudes with big ideas. Superficial much?"

Shemima, I don't know if you were aiming that littl flame at my post, but if you were, I think it's uncalled for to essentially accuse me of being racist based on my comment above. Can you tone it down a bit? FWIW, which isn't much, I'm happy to see a conceptual kind of guy on PR, but people who can't also adapt their particular skills to the challenges and complain about not being understood bother me.

Anyway, let's have cocktails later, okay?


Anon said, "He sounds mature beyond his years,"

Well, to me he sounds like a 23 year old, someone just out of college, reveling in all the "new" ideas he's been discovering.

Which is exactly how it should be when you're 23 and stretching your wings. He does, to his credit, seem more modest than many of the other young contestants we've seen on PR & TFS, who've put on big shows of confidence.

He seems likable, as do some of his designs.


Another Laura, I was referring to TampaBay's cooment, and the 8 million similar ones that have preceded it the past few weeks. Where did you get the idea I was referring to your post? James-Paul never said anything about social activisim, did he?


His sketches are gorgeous! I would hang them on my wall.

He's my second pre-show favorite after Louise.


Shemima, my bad, then. My post at least referred to JP's camera interview during TFS of being misunderstood, ahead of his time, etc. so I thought maybe you aimed at me. No harm, no foul, babe!


.."hornets that eat their prey"
I went back to the 1rst video for the quote.

the unconstructed jacket, the beige snuggy, the bug and chinese farmers, the complicated social studies like descriptions of his influences...
just saying I can see how someone can get a JP vibe from that little bit of info. But the women's clothes kind of contradict.

Wait and see?


How can he say fashion goes beyond "aesthetics, business, and marketing" with his degree in "creative solipsism" when his designs and sketches look like the project of a third semester fashion student's?

I wish people weren't so full of hot air sometimes; dude, you're on a reality show on Lifetime. Call a spade a spade, you want to win $100,000, not alter the consciousness of every mind on earth.


Another Laura, I see what you mean now, I didn't catch that at first. It was just an unfortunate coincidence that yours directly preceded mine. (I only even brought the whole thing up because I think that Malvin's ideas AND his work are markedly different than James-Paul's, so [to me] there's little reason to compare their actual concepts except on the most superficial levels. Personality-wise, I have no idea.) Anyway, no harm, no foul, haha.

I can't wait for this season to start!!!


another laura and Shemima,

I meant my comment to be a joke as I made a play on JP's "words" describing his finale collection. If I offended anyone I apologize.

Let's all go have a drink. On me!

TampaBay


He is very likable for someone who, in his audition tape calls himself a social activist & describes PR as a platform for his statements. That bodes ill, but if his statements are the garments and not declamations of the heartfelt theories behind his social activism, it's all good.

I like his inspirations, am neutral on the portfolio - how those sketches make up, the fabric chosen, the colors and drape make are all-important. Seeing how they fall and *move* over/around the body makes the difference in the genre within which I perceive him to be working.

Total side note: Ms. Bennet looks marvelous here!


Particularly intriguing sketches.
He's the second one who said he's inspired by Japanese ghost stories. What does that even mean? I certainly didn't see Japanese ghost stories in Jeffrey's collection. Maybe Malvin will shed a little light on it :)

I also had to post because this guy looks strangely like my boyfriend (aw)... but somehow crossed with his older sister (ew).


I looked up Solpisism:

a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing ; also : extreme egocentrism

That is wild! I am betting he spends alot of time explaining that. That makes his comment :'Favorite Designer: Himself (He likes what he has to say" even funnier. I like him because I like that answer.


This debate will never, ever make sense to me. OF COURSE concepts and ideas are a part of fashion! EVERY designer of note uses them. No, that doesn't mean you need to buy into the erudite ideas and references behind some of the clothes to like them, and no, you don't have to read a mission statement before you buy something (and no, actually, it doesn't always result in weird clothing that looks like baggy organs hanging everywhere or ten yards of fabric swaddled haphazardly all over the body), but interesting and unusual inspirations and ideas are what MAKES fashion. It's not all "Oooh, what a beautiful color of blue! Fabulous!" at all. You guys fall all over the Galliano and Gauthier stuff. If you don't think they've got equally ridiculous ideas and stories behind their collections, you are crazy. If you don't like the clothes, knock the designers, not the very idea of conceptual clothing. Those very concepts are indeed what separate fashion from mere clothing.


Tampa Bay, I'm sooo ready for cocktails! Shall we make it 5:00 PM EDT?

I hope TLo reopen the TLounge for PR.

Lifetime's campaign sure is working. 3 weeks and I'm salivating.


Starlite--

I agree with you for the most part, and I am a huge fan of conceptual clothing.

My only problem is all concept and no product. His stuff looks cute, but nothing particularly socially conscious or earth-shattering. That coupled with the whole "I'm my favorite" answer makes me think he's more about his image than his clothing's.


I wish that there were more actual clothes in the portfolio. The conceptual stuff doesn't bother me. I think he is very talented in illustration and has a good chance to make it far in the competition.


NYCourier, I completely agree. Concepts are not everything, and do not have substance in and of themselves. Ideas are worthless if they are not executed in a creative, thought-provoking, or beautiful way. It's hard to judge Malvin on so few pieces, but I am curious as to what he'll produce on the show.


I like what I see so far.


I am intrigued by indigenous clothing. The world is quickly losing its indigenous populations, so I think there's value in preserving that part of human history.

Also, indigenous people could not turn to technology for comfort and convenience. So their clothes had to fit the environment they were in and suit the tasks they had to do. As we try to reduce our impact on the earth, looking to many of those indigenous styles might help us solve some of the comfort and utility issues that we have with our clothes.


Brooklyn Bomber said; "Well, to me he sounds like a 23 year old, someone just out of college, reveling in all the "new" ideas he's been discovering.

Which is exactly how it should be when you're 23 and stretching your wings."

BB, I laughed out loud at your unintentional pun. This is a guy who takes his inspiration from insect forms and whose audition jacket design was inspired by a hornet that eats its own young.

"Stretching your wings" indeed.

*snort*


BlueJay
7/31/09 11:46 AM " TampaBay said...

Western people wearing indigenous clothes?"

Fucking enough. Jesus Christ.


Oh honey, you just read my mind. LOL!


Screw it. I like this one, too!


Vive la conceptualization and creative freedom! Where would we be without them? Love him!!


Anonymous
7/31/09 11:51 AM bitch can SKETCH

The solipsismist in me is convinced that I just wrote that.


Just coming back from some very rural areas of China, I'm not sure if I see the rural Chinese farmer look translated. To be frank, rural Chinese farmers (if they are Han farmers; there are several ethnic minorities in China and their dress will usually be more true to their ethnicity if they live under very rural conditions) dress very plainly (button downs in rather drab colors, lots of navy blue, straw hats, mid-width pants [I wouldn't call them wide leg in the commercial way we see wide legged pants, canvas shoes, etc). To be truthful though, Chinese farmers in moderate rural conditions will probably just dress in graphic tees. It's only in very traditional and very rural areas where you would see what I'd described as the 'uniform.' I could see some of the ethnic minority dress redefined as interesting modern fashion--minorities situated in Kunming, Dali, and Li Jiang are known for their silver jewelry and head dresses. I could also see Tibetan garb as interesting modern garments.

But, to be honest, I have real trouble liking Chinese street fashion. There are good dressers in China, yes. And I haven't been on the street in Shanghai for the past 5 years so I don't know exactly what it's like in that megacenter. But, overall, I find Chinese street fashion to be kind of gaudy. Of course, I am a minimalist and I like very clean lines in my clothing with minimal fuss--and, more importantly, I like substantial pieces. Chinese street fashion is usually the opposite of that. In fact, department store shopping in China has revealed most clothes on sale in large cities like Wuhan, Dalian, Anshan, and Beijing are quite busy-looking and light (this makes sense because most people in China hang up their clothes to dry so you don't want something that dries slowly). There are a lot of sparkles, bows, and other embellishments on the clothes. And you will find very few women who do not wear high heels in China. Over all, the look is super femme and usually so in a bad way. I am much more attracted to male clothing in China than female clothing and it's quite awkward when every shop I want to shop at is actually a menswear shop.

Over all, I do agree that what people wear impacts the people immediately around them and clothing is an indicator of lifestyle. Clothing in China [during summer] is very light because 1) lack of air conditioning in many places and 2) hanging clothes to dry is much more popular than using a dryer. Man purses are popular in China because most people do not own cars, which means you have to carry everything if you should purchase anything. The lack of menswear-inspired clothing available in stores (blazers were difficult to find, for example) also hints at Chinese ideas of femininity and feminine beauty. And, of course, someone's dress impacts the people who see that person's dress. It has inspirational value, yes. But, when you see someone who makes something you don't think would work work, it also causes people to reevaluate certain ideals of beauty. Over all, I like Malvin and he seems like a decently intelligent person--but, of course, I'm kind of worried about how he's going to bring Asia into the mix in an accurate (from what I've seen) manner.


Shemima, A. Laura, and Tampa Bay all made me smile with how they worked out their differences in the comments section.

I wish everyone that discusses things online could be like them and NOT throw sand at each other in the sandbox.

=D


Tim Gunn: "When you see this guy, you won't believe he's from Colorado."

My translation of that is "I don't remember anything about his actual designs." Or "Did he last two weeks or three? I can't remember."

It's hard to tell, given the slightness of his portfolio, whether it's the case, but he seems like another young'un who wants to redefine design without having a solid grasp of what he's rebelling against. All to often that seems to end up with not being able to get what's in your head onto the model.


Conceptual clothing is not a bad thing, but you can have all of the cool concepts in the world and if they don't come through in the actual garments you produce, it's all talk. My impression of Malvin is that he's about 98% talk, and will turn out to be insufferable on the show.

You're supposed to eat prey, by the way. That's why it's called "prey."


Fresca,
It could be that the concept part is about 98% talk and he could still be a decent designer. They have to come up with some big talk like that to get cast. Anybody remember Jillian's audition tape? She seemed like she was going to be a big flake and turned out to be one of the best designers with the least amount of drama.


Fresca, I get that you are supposed to eat your prey - but in context ... it sounds like he meant either "eat their young" or the hornets turn on their attackers.

forget it, apparently I'm the only one who found that odd


Enjoyed your post, Danielle. Personally, I love that an inspiration of his is rural Chinese farmers. I saw in his sketches some references to that concept. I spent time living in rural South Korea, and a lot of the older farmers wear simple, baggy cotton clothing that I think is similar to what you were talking about. I'm intrigued to see that translated into modern American fashion.

(For the record, I totally understood and appreciated James Paul's "Western people wearing indigenous clothes" inspiration as well).

What I like most about Malvin is how articulated he is. A lot of designers on this show have used big words to mask total B.S., but he gets his point across well.

I think I'm rooting for this one more than any other designers so far.


Anna said...(For the record, I totally understood and appreciated James Paul's "Western people wearing indigenous clothes" inspiration as well).

What I think JP said was "Indigenous people wearing western clothes" hence my play on words in my original post "Western people wearing indigenous clothes" which caused all the trouble. I was trying to make a joke on the over use of this "concept" but it went over like a lead baloon.

TampaBay


Okay, Sewing Siren, I didn't see Jillian's audition tape but she was a good designer so I'll reserve judgment. It's a fair point that if the clothes stand up well on their own (not literally; that would be scary), then it doesn't matter if the concept came through as it was supposed to. However, I will not hesitate to mercilessly judge those who expect their concepts to excuse poor designs. ;-)


I'm curious to see what he will do on the show. I like his thought process.


I don't mind "conceptual" clothing just as long as it actually looks good as actual clothing.

I don't care what ideas were going into the designers head or the message or theme their clothes are supposed to convey, I only care about the end product, and if that sucks, then no amount of thought is going to save it.

To me, the perfect example of that is Jay's final collection. He had a concept that he then translated into beautiful clothes, not necessarily wearable clothes, but gorgeous nonetheless.


Yeah, social revolution, concepts, activism, blah blah blah. He talks the talk, but can he walk the walk? We shall see.


" RussellH88 said...To me, the perfect example of that is Jay's final collection. He had a concept that he then translated into beautiful clothes, not necessarily wearable clothes, but gorgeous nonetheless."


He does name Jay as his favorite designer :)


I want to wear that print dress.


"Sewing Siren said...

Fresca,
It could be that the concept part is about 98% talk and he could still be a decent designer. They have to come up with some big talk like that to get cast."


I agree, otherwise they will never be picked up.


He's one of my top favorite designers this season. I have a feeling we'll see a lot of visually interesting pieces from him. Will Michael and Nick get it? We'll see.


That last sketch looks like a stylish zombie attack.


sixgables
7/31/09 5:19 PM That last sketch looks like a stylish zombie attack.


tehe... I thought I got SOME kind of horror film vibe...

When it come to the end product I don't really care about all the BS story or grandiose or warped ideas - show me the results.

But when it comes to the "talk", there are plenty of us who have enough of "peeing on my leg and telling me it is raining" - hope he produces.


Anna said...(For the record, I totally understood and appreciated James Paul's "Western people wearing indigenous clothes" inspiration as well).

What I think JP said was "Indigenous people wearing western clothes" hence my play on words in my original post "Western people wearing indigenous clothes" which caused all the trouble. I was trying to make a joke on the over use of this "concept" but it went over like a lead baloon.

TampaBay


Apologies, Tampa Bay. I meant indigenous people wearing Western clothing, but your comment was fresher in my mind so that's what came out accidentally. I wasn't responding to you personally, just a lot of the attitude toward JP's final collection.

sixgables said...
That last sketch looks like a stylish zombie attack.


That could work in his favor. Zombies are all the rage these days. Almost as hot as vampires.


At last! A designer whose portfolio I like! Everything up until now seems to have been lacking something in the taste department.


Tampa Bay, another laura and Shemima--
Let's get TLo to open the lounge for this season of PR.

I will take you up on that offer TB if we have a fabulous place to go...

How about it Boys???


I could never understand why people didn't understand "indigenous people wearing Western clothing." I also think James-Paul's final collection would have done well on this show.

I love to see sketches. I wish PR would show sketches more often. That is where you see the concept, and it is fascinating to see how it is translated, since then practical considerations must be taken into consideration.

I wonder about his construction skills.

I do like this young guy, and he is just as purty as he can be.


And TB-- I got your reference--

And I thought it was funny!


I really like this guy so far - excited to see how his personality unfolds over the show.
Something bugging me though - Didn't Jeffrey have "japanese ghost stories" as inspiration for his winning collection? (sorry if someone else already mentioned this - didn't read every single comment)


Melvin rocks! He's awesome and very talented! You will be floored by his designs.


Do you know him Glance? Tell us more.


Love his sketches.


Malvin: A cat looking out the window.

BarbH


Thank all bloggers. You outdid yourselves with sensitivity in discussion of Asian clothing. Good info, good job. When one considers the sheer number of Asiana people in the world, they are hardly a minority.

P.S. Malvin is Malvin. NEVER compare him to the other Asian person from the OTHER network show, please. PLEASE!


What the heck is creative solipsism
anyway?


It's something that does not exist.

Solipsism is a philosophy based on the "fact" that the mind--YOUR mind--is the only thing that exists in the world and your perception of everything is based on this "fact." While I can get behind the basic principle of the school of thought, it gets complicated when you find you can't really lie to yourself anymore.

In any event, creativity in any form cannot stem directly from your own mind, but your own perception of things that--guess what--exist outside of your mind.


Love his hair. It's so totally 80's.


another laura

Could it be possible that he included "and Creative Solipsism" as a very in-joke, ironic, whatever, thing? I'm trying to picture a diploma that includes those words, I'm just not getting there.


I'm so excited to see him on the show! He was my best friend's Community Assistant (like an RA) at the University of Redlands. From what I hear, he was one of the nicest people she met and really helped my friend get over her homesickness. He also gave her a rooster statue the first day and left a note saying "Enjoy your cock." :D

He's going to be a fabulous addition to the cast, and I hope he goes far!


another laura (or whoever)- he did not add creative solopsism in as a very in-joke. You would have to understand Johnston College at the U of R to get that being on his degree.

Malvin talks a lot of talk, but I've seen him in action, and he can definitely walk the walk as well. Hopefully in the show you will see that.


Trish – 7/31 7:13 PM:
Something bugging me though - Didn't Jeffrey have "japanese ghost stories" as inspiration for his winning collection?


You're right, he did. I hope there isn't a correlation between liking Japanese ghost stories and being a douche.


James Paul, is that you?


In the second sketch, is that a pair of BFUHP I see?

TampaBay


"Maybe we just have warm feelings for him because he had to grow up with the name Malvin. That couldn't have been easy"

AGREED! =D

omg yea he does kinda remind ya of James Paul....weird...


I've been waiting upon Malvin's review from you guys for a long time. He's the only one who stands out with this season's PR and I know it might seem shallow at first but I find that the designer who projects individuality on his/her clothing the most is usually the ones who win PR. That might be something completely coincidental but a lot of designers such as Leanne, Christian and Jay are very eccentric (with the exception of Chloe) and Malvin might bring this home. I'm excited.


malvin shouldnt have gone home :[
i yelled at the TV when heidi said he was out >:[


Sorry dude left, but that dress was just weird.


MALVIN VIEN is one of the most talented designers/people around, as well as 1 of the nicest guys i've ever meet.I got to know Malvin in 2005 when we worked together in Zhuji China, this guy can SOW you should have seen what he did with a little silk a needle and thread!!! i was so amazed when i saw him again on my wife's fav. show PRW but even more amazed when i watched in horror as Heidi Klum gave him the kiss of runway death! really i think they just didn't like the way he explained his work, it might not have been what they liked but he had done some really talented & quality work on it with the detailed feathering and all. a lot of what has gone down the runway in S.6 looks like it will fall apart i 1 day! this man will go on to be a amazing designer trust me he already is. and his work is quality which is something i haven't seen a lot of this season; i mean he can machine or hand stitch a piece and when he dose it stays stitched! well i hope being on PRW will be the advertising he needs to make his name big


stupid judges...he IS the next Galiano and Alexander McQueen. These guys never gave up and I don't think malvin will either....I love this guys style and opinions and the show is a bore now without him...i pray he'll come back later in the season!!


i like him, his clothes are great!


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