With a taste for beauty and a love for travel, Luu has always drawn inspiration for her designs from her journeys around the globe, but one project that brought her to the Kibera slum in Nairobi ignited her inspiration into a new form of action- namely a desire to give back- sparking the beginning of the E.F.I line. Integrity is essential to her initiative, and her mission reflects a concerted effort towards providing opportunities for local women in Haiti and Nairobi, Africa to gain an honest and supportive livelihood. As she celebrates local designs and culture while harnessing local strengths and techniques, Luu utilizes the reciprocal partnership to deliver fashionable, handcrafted and well-made products to her global consumers.
What makes Chan Luu such an inspirational example? Her humility, taste for beauty, and recognition of humanity, exemplified in her passion and her take on the E.F.I; “Not charity, just work.”
Mood of Living Q & A
Mood of Living: Hometown:
Chan Luu: Nah Trang, Vietnam
MoL: Current location:
CL: Pacific Palisades, CA
CL: CEO/ Creative Director at Chan Luu
MoL: Before your current occupation you were?
CL: I owned my own fashion retail boutique in Palos Verdes
MoL: What inspired you to help people/ begin the Ethical Fashion International line?
CL: I travel all around the world each year, and I began to see local artisans create really amazing and unique products. While working on a special project, I visited the Kibera slum in Nairobi, which is one of the largest slums in Africa. Seeing the talent that existed in such poverty, I wanted to be able to help and create a positive change in these people’s lives. With the help of the United Nations ethical fashion initiative, we were able to set up training camps and start to create jobs.
MoL: What brought you to the particular locations (Haiti and Nairobi, Africa)?
CL: Haiti and Kenya are both places that can benefit from job opportunities and infrastructure. These countries are hopefully the first of many that we can help through the ethical fashion initiative line.
MoL: How many jobs have you created roughly?
CL: Over 1000 in 24 different community groups.
MoL: Where did you learn your craft?
CL: I studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising for fashion design, but I have always had a passion for accessories.
MoL: Where do you look for inspiration?
CL: I travel 75% of the year and gain a lot of my inspiration from interacting with different cultures.
MoL: Do you have a hobby?
CL: I love cooking and playing the piano.
MoL: Where do you go for peace of mind and spirit?
CL: I love walking my dogs. It relaxes me after a long day.
MoL: We find that people who make beautiful things are more likely to lead an artistic lifestyle. Do you spend much time creating a beautiful home? Do you entertain? Do you cook?
CL: I absolutely love my palisades home and entertaining in it. Cooking is by far my favorite hobby, and my home is my sanctuary. It’s very calming and happy. I play one hour on the piano a day. I make sure that two hours before I go to bed I turn off my computer and read French poetry before I go to sleep. Anything tech-related that stimulates my brain, I shut it off. It’s important for me to live a healthy lifestyle. And I love to take hot baths. That’s how I live my life.
MoL: What advice can you give anyone interested in starting his or her own business?
CL: If you don’t believe in yourself, it is very hard to make it happen. I don’t know how other people think, but if I want to do something, I read up about it. Being resourceful will help. Being relentless is the most important quality. I am relentless about how I approach every project; I won’t back down because my project meets challenges. Your inspiration should be honest. Try not to be a copy cat—it’s an “inspiration freezer,” regardless of how big the knock-off market is. Creating is like exercising. The more you do, the more you could do. Be proactive, on your creative journey, there will be many beautiful surprises coming your way
MoL: Do you have any upcoming events?
CL: We just launched our Disney x Chan Luu collaboration, which we are very excited about. We have many more things in the works.