Cynthia Nguyen is a User Experience and User Interface Designer for SID LEE, a leading creative agency, designing digital experiences and platforms for various international brands. When she's not designing, she also plays the role as a creative entrepreneur: a freelance digital consultant, stylist, photographer and the creative director, writer and style influencer behind Pinch of Chic-- a destination and public diary that covers fashion, food, travel and lifestyle. Her feed is enough to blow anyone away!
On finding her path
I grew up holding onto my love for the fine arts. However, my parents didn’t see being an artist as a plausible career. I decided to pursue graphic design at university, which eventually lead me to do interactive design and user experience as a job. I’d say the moment I became aware of what I wanted to do was when I worked my first job out of university. I was brought on to build an online-streaming entertainment platform from ground up. I wasn’t just doing pretty design – I was solving problems and projecting results by providing a map of milestones and orchestrating how users would operate on the platform. Everything was backed up by research, fueled by data, strategy and creative thinking, and conveyed through functional design. Currently at SID LEE, I do user experience and user interface for all digital projects within the agency from initial concepts to development. I apply this kind of thinking to how I approach proposed brand work and partnerships for digital content, using social media and photography for my side gig.
On her claim to fame
I don’t think I’ve had my claim to fame moment yet; however, I can recall one of my many single most inspiring and motivating moments that’s encourage me to work harder at my craft. I saw the return in bartering digital content/photos with this one stunning hotel in Italy. It was my first time visiting Europe and also my first attempt at cold emailing hotels while promoting myself as a photographer and content creator. I went from cold emailing with proposal decks with just my photography to sending out real case studies and examples of brand work to demonstrate my credibility and portfolio. I had found an opportunity in turning my passionate hobby into a secondary job, wheeling in all my favourite things. To be compensated while doing what you love and to be able to share that with your close loved ones is a wonderful feeling. Doing this doesn’t even feel like work at all which makes it even more awesome.
On her go-to outfits
Comfortable, timeless, and footwear with lots of support! For someone that doesn’t have the luxury of time, I like to keep my mornings simple, routinely and without much thought. The majority of my work uniform is from the sleepwear section, comprised of silk pieces with minimal cuts -- from slip dresses to wide-leg trousers. I love a good white or ivory button down that I can wear as a top or cover. For casual or formal events, I’ll wear a classic blazer, which I can pair with booties. I don’t wear a lot of form fitting pieces as I like to be extremely comfortable and have people’s focus on my work.
I dress respectably the same for everyone, no matter the gender or age. If I’m going in to present my work, typically everything is neutral and I allow my work or what I have to say be the focus. At the end of the day, it’s not your job to be likeable with what you’re wearing. It’s your job to be yourself and put forth your best work.
For big work occasions, my go-to outfit is a mid-calf length slip dress paired with a block heel, where I can throw on a blazer for a day with a client or an open button-down blouse as a casual cover. For accessories, I like wearing gold drop earrings --- they add more of a formal and elegant feel to my look.
On power suits
I’m a big fan of the power suit. I strongly encourage women to own 1 black suit and 1 white suit. The possibilities are endless when you work with these two pairs. It’s definitely a confidence booster when you strut from room to room in an entire suit at the workplace. You’re sending the message that you take your role seriously by simply presenting yourself in polished suit, garnering respect from your coworkers and bosses.
On the women she admires
Despite Eva Chen’s transition from the fashion publication industry to tech, I really admire the prominent work she’s established in 2017 by bridging fashion and business within the realm of social and tech. She’s broken down the stereotypical doors where fashion used to be seen as just a realm of creative expression to now being highly respected as a major player in the tech/business industry. She did this by spearheading Facebook and Instagram’s fashion industry initiatives, including partnerships and activations through strategic tactics and creative content with brands. Eva excels at being a mother AND female leader in the workspace, all while making it look fun and achievable!
With regards to Koviem, I definitely feel like I identify with the Millennial series. I’m always have this urge to be on top of the latest things, be at all the new places, see progression and have a voice as a young female professional. With that being said, I’m constantly wearing so many different hats in my career and bouncing between places where I require efficiency and adaptability. Owning one or more classic and timeless suits inherently makes you a boss for pulling it off in public.
I also consider a Koviem suit to be one of the best wardrobe investments as you’ll be able to wear these pieces year after year. Where a lot of people like myself dread going to the tailors to alter garments, Koviem’s customization feature elevates the suit purchasing experience to not only be to be efficient but far more personal. From fabric selections to buttons to the type of lapels, it enables the consumer to be involved every step of the process. The results? A suit that is carefully made to accurately represents you.
On the advice that she gives
Always know your worth and if they (client or company) aren’t cool with it, it’s not meant to be.
If you need to take more time to work on your portfolio or look for other places, take it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people tell me to do things or take an unpaid job just to gain experience. I would park my relations with those who doubted me. With that time and determination to focus on myself, I eventually landed myself in a very good place. Patience, grit, diligence and compassion are key traits for success
On where to find her