The Pro Feature is a series where we shift the spotlight onto the people who have made countless “big day” dreams come true. Working behind the scenes, they each carry their own stories that are often too beautiful and intriguing not to share.
This week we shine the limelight on Vaughn Tan (of @tanvaughn), who designs and make wedding gowns and occasion wear meant for the wearer to stand out!
Structural folds, clean cuts, asymmetrical lines and intricate patterns – these are just some of the ways Vaughn had translated what we deem “architectural details” into gown forms. These avant-garde designs have become a signature style of his and has amassed a following on its own. Through the years of dressmaking, Vaughn has become the go-to designer for the ladies of socialite families, brides looking to make a statement on their big day and even Sammi Cheng herself! Now, are you a fan yet?
Even with his accolades, Vaughn goes by a jovial and easy-going demeanour which makes talking to him an exceptionally easy feat. We had such a pleasant time in his company that we chatted for 4 hours straight! What do you think is the secret to his success? You will find out today and don’t worry, it won’t take you 4 hours!
This section of our conversation with Vaughn took place after a lengthy process of trying to understand the craft of gown designing. That by itself was a discussion punctuated with bits and pieces of Vaughn’s life and how he applied his values into his design and gown-making process, including his belief in starting his day right with a proper breakfast.
Q: What’s your favourite time of day?
Vaughn: … (looks at us sheepishly and blurts out saying) Morning lor cause it’s breakfast time! Hahahha
Q: Do you have a favourite wedding venue?
Vaughn: Woah, I have never thought of this before…(took a while looking into the air before saying) I’ve realised through the years of being involved in others’ wedding planning process that when it comes to my personal stuff, I would prefer for it to be as simple and intimate as possible…
But I think for me what’s the most important is the climate. Probably in an Autumn or Spring setting, with a good breeze. It will be simple and somewhere outdoor, maybe a café surrounded by nature, near a mountain or on a clifftop with a lot of greens! I love the feeling of being carefree.
Q: Do you have any favourite book now?
Vaughn: The Secret. I read the Chinese version but the English one was written by Rhonda Byrne.
I truly believe in the Law of Attraction; it works similar in the way a TV or radio works – they receive and sends out signals. So, when we think of something, we are sending out a signal into the world and we will receive a signal back. I’ve experienced many things that are unexplainable; for example, when I suddenly thought of a client from 2 years ago and on the same day she came to my studio!
Q: What are you passionate about outside of weddings?
Vaughn: I love reading, and also exercising…although you can’t really tell by looking at me, hahaha. I also like to cook, basically, I’m quite a homebody so preparing simple meals like 3 菜 1 汤 (3 dishes and 1 soup) makes me feel very satisfied.
Q: Do you have any pet peeves?
Vaughn: Indecisiveness… but this is really because I can be quite indecisiveness in certain areas of my personal life. So sometimes I prefer when others can be decisive, hahaha. Like when I go into a food court I will go round and round and can’t decide what I want to eat because there are so many I want, hahah, so I hope whoever is with me can just decide for me. (But I’m always very clear about what I want for breakfast!)
Q: What’s the best piece of business advice given to you when you were starting out?
Vaughn: Be more adventurous! When I first started out I wasn’t very practical but I think that has served me well. When you’re adventurous and just do it, you prevent yourself from overthinking which can be a difficult hurdle to go over to begin with. So, I would say do the basic groundwork and then be adventurous and start. From there, you can adjust and revise your plan along the way.
Q: What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in your career?
Q: What’s your greatest success in your career to date?
Vaughn: Designing an outfit for Sammi Cheng’s Concert was one key milestone in my career. But I think what’s even more priceless to me is when each client came into my studio and chose to make their gown with me. The trust that they’ve placed on me to deliver what they wanted… it’s a recognition that they believe in my skills and that brings me a great sense of accomplishment.
Yet having said that, I do believe in the importance of self-validation. As I grow older, I’ve become one who doesn’t seek external validation as much, this might sound boastful, but I think to wait for others to validate your achievement is a very distressing thing. Self-validation is when you can give yourself the credit that is due, and you know that if you’re given an opportunity, you will be able to achieve great things even if that opportunity does not yet belong to you.
Q: Do you have any words of advice to share with other business owners?
Vaughn: Be optimistic (especially in current times) and have positive energy. Hahah, I think my trust in the Law of Attraction can be seen here but I truly believe in it so I would say practice The Secret and let good things manifest.
Q: If you could change one thing about the weddings industry, what would it be?
Vaughn: I hope the focus and emphasis can be less about the brand but more on the craftmanship of dressmaking; to really take the time to meet and interact with the designer in creating something and also, I hope more would support local designers as well.
So, now we know Vaughn’s secret is The Secret! Do you believe in the Law of Attraction too?