When Dallas-based blogger-turned-fashion designer Hanh Merriman launched her debut collection last fall, she had a bit of good fortune on her side. Many of her pieces, like the Canh sweatshirt and Camellia pant, featured kumquats.
In Merriman’s native Vietnam, kumquats are symbols of happiness and prosperity. During Tet, the Vietnamese lunar new year, families decorate their homes with kumquat trees. So, to bring good luck, Merriman filled the Hanh Collection with prints and embroidery of the fruit’s blossoms. “Almost every single fabric that we have [has] a kumquat motif.”
The result was a stunning assortment of dresses, jumpsuits, jackets, and more. Merriman’s line played with minimalism and inimitable pleating, “It’s almost like an East meets West,” she says, drawing inspiration from Vietnamese silhouettes, shapes, and hues.
“My Collection 1 is doing great,” she says. “We’re really happy [with] how it’s come out.”
Now, Merriman is preparing to launch her second line in early June. The 25-piece Collection 2 was inspired by jets and flying, Merriman says. Instead of kumquats, it features cranes and tropical flowers. It has bold colors, including yellow, fuchsia, and an army green. Like the first collection, this line plays with pleating and mixing materials. “There are a lot details” in Collection 2, and lots of colors that will “lift you up,” she says.
There are some major differences between the two collections, namely the color palettes and motifs, but some pieces will feel familiar to shoppers. “We also repeat some of the Collection 1 that is so popular, and it’s become our classic [styles],” Merriman says. Expect to see new renditions of the reversible Fansipan top, the dramatic Kanzan trench coat, and the Hanh dress, which is an homage Merriman’s mother’s wedding dress.
While Merriman is eager to launch the new pieces, she says she’s just happy for people to enjoy her work in general. “I’m always excited for my customers to see, it doesn’t matter what collection.”
As before, Merriman is focused on philanthropy within her business. “Always donate to any people that need help,” she says. The Hanh Collection will continue to donate a portion of its profits to the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, a Hanoi-based charity that provides support, training, and crisis intervention to Vietnamese families and children.
Additionally, Merriman has taken up another cause: clothing Buddhist monks. She noticed that some Buddhist monks across the U.S. didn’t have the proper-colored attire and outerwear. For centuries, Buddhist monks have worn a pumpkin-orange shade of robes, dyed from spices like saffron. The monks, says Merriman, are only allowed to wear that specific shade of orange. “Not black, not white, not blue. Just a pumpkin shade. And finding the correct pumpkin shade is not easy.”
She searched all over for clothing in that shade—even checking ski resorts. When she couldn’t find what she was looking for, she decided to make her own. Merriman sourced orange cotton fabric from Italy and is now making vests, jackets, and robes through Hanh Collection to donate to monks in Buddhist temples in Dallas and across the country.
And as she works on both the monks’ robes and releasing her second collection, Merriman is already getting to work on Collection 3. When you’re passionate about something, she says, it’s best to “just go for it.”