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Be true to yourself. Believe in yourself. Be persistent when pursuing your dream.

Vivienne Tam

Design graduate

University Fellow 2006/2007

Awardee of Outstanding PolyU Alumni Award 1997

Founder and Owner, VIVIENNE TAM Fashion House

“Be true to yourself. Believe in yourself. Be persistent when pursuing your dream.” 

These are the words of Vivienne Tam, internationally renowned fashion designer and alumna of the then Hong Kong Polytechnic, who graduated with both a distinction in Design and PolyU’s spirit of loving Hong Kong and the nation. 

Today, Vivienne’s East-meets-West designs turn heads around the world. In the 1990s, her provocative Mao Collection brought her and her Chinese heritage to a global audience. This success was soon followed by the Buddha Collection, whose coveted designs effortlessly blended Chinese cultural roots with a cutting-edge design sensibility. 

Vivienne’s classic works have since been incorporated into the permanent archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

No wonder, then, that this remarkable PolyU alumna has been awarded such accolades as “Ambassador for Chinese Fashion and Design” and “Oriental Icon”. In 2008, Vivienne won the prestigious You Bring Charm to the World award for fashion. She was also named one of the “25 Top Chinese-Americans in Business” by Forbes magazine.

However, becoming China’s top fashion designer was hardly an easy path. After graduating from the Hong Kong Polytechnic and realising that Hong Kong offered few opportunities for local designers, Vivienne moved to New York. 

Persevering despite many setbacks, she finally succeeded in creating her own brand. She launched her first fashion show to great acclaim, and opened a flagship store in Soho, New York. It’s impossible to imagine a better role model for PolyU’s new generation of “practical dreamers”.

Vivienne received the first Outstanding PolyU Alumni Award in 1997. Despite her busy schedule, she has never forgotten her roots and has maintained close ties with her alma mater as University Fellow and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Textiles and Clothing, and deliverer of talks to PolyU students. “I grew up in Hong Kong, a place that has inspired me a lot,” she said. “I always want to do something for Hong Kong and the next generation.” 


The above is an English translation of a story abridged from the Chinese book “Heartening Stories” published by PolyU in 2017.
Photo credit: PolyU Communications and Public Affairs Office


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