Ashley Triêu is the mastermind behind Iconoclasp, a collection of hand-picked vintage and handmade original clothing and accessories for the rebellious and bold. It’s a one-woman shop “inspired by the spirit of past eras” with a big-city vibe that transcends its small-town origins both in style and reach. Triêu’s a self-made woman, sewing one-of-a-kind garments for one-of-a-kind gals.
Describe your personal style.
Very eclectic. I love vintage fashion, especially the 1940s through the 1970s. However, I also have an appreciation for current fashion as well. I tend to be drawn to neutral earth tones or loud prints. I guess I like extremes and mixing up my looks.
Any fashion trend you’d love to see come back?
I would love to see glamourous nightwear become popular again — fuzzy satin boudoir slippers, nightgowns and lounging robes. I love watching old movies where it seems style and glamour was an all-day thing. I like that it’s something intimate that is made for you to enjoy and feel dramatic in, inside your home, not necessarily meant to be seen by the outside world.
What are the telltale signs that someone has exquisite style?
Style is all in the way people carry themselves. For both men and women, confidence catches my eye more than anything. When people think too much about fashion rules and trends, it can actually veer them away from having style and experiencing the fun elements in dressing.
What excites you about fashion?
It’s a fun mode of self-expression. I like the creativity involved with choosing your look. I enjoy the way it can make you feel to put on a new garment or perhaps your favorite dress that you are always looking for another opportunity to wear. I have seen people get really excited about how they look when they put something on, and self-love is absolutely essential.
When did fashion and style become important to you?
Since the age of five, my mother and grandmother inspired me. Both had very classic and chic aesthetics. They dressed simply, but well, and that seemed very strong and glamorous to me. I also watched Vietnamese music videos and got excited by the fashion, hair, makeup and attitude. I wore adult costume jewelry as a child. I would style my hair before bed and wore all black and a leopard-print scarf to my ballet class. These weren’t acts of rebellion — it was just something innate I was acting on.
And how did you get started sewing?
I have been sewing for three to four years now with no formal training. … There have been many frustrating nights and I have sometimes felt limited while designing by not having all the skills needed to execute my ideas. However, that was just motivation to learn the skills needed to create the designs in my head. It’s all been a wonderful learning and growth process.
When designing, where do you derive inspiration from?
I try to stay away from fashion for getting inspiration because I want to avoid the temptation of replicating design elements that I see and admire. I try to create without having to see it first. I draw a lot of inspiration from other art forms like music, performance and visual art. Whenever I see anyone doing something well or innovative, it inspires me to do the same in a different creative form.
Is there anything outside of art that inspires you?
I’m also very inspired by the drag world. I’ve had some magical moments at drag shows and love the embodiment of confidence, strength and true embrace of individuality that I see in that community.
What are customers saying about your creations?
I think my favorite thing to hear is that my clothing fits well, from women who say they’ve been frustrated finding clothes that fit them in stores. I like hearing that, because it’s really important to me to accommodate all body types — that’s a huge reason why I offer by measurement fit. I want my clothing to make women feel excited about themselves.
This is your full-time job. What can you say about the life of an independent business person?
It is honestly very difficult working at home and keeping motivated and organized, managing your time well. It’s hard not to want to retreat to your bed when your sewing machine jams or you have an overwhelming workload. However, I love it — I love that I can create my own schedule and have control over my work environment. I can work all day in my undergarments watching Golden Girls and no one can fire me.