For a second consecutive year, Marymount University Interior Design student Tran Truong has been recognized for her stand-out interior design concepts as part of the 2021 WindowsWear Mentorship Program.
This year’s competition challenged students from across the nation to reimagine the store of designer Michael Kors as the world renowned company celebrates its 40th anniversary. The company’s vision, paired with the values of environmental and social change, were central components of the challenge.
“What inspired me is the application of experimental graphic design and sustainability in a healthy world of retail design,” Truong explained. “The aspects of design I really wanted to achieve were how to make users rethink the way they shop. It’s not solely about the product quality — hence, it’s now an experience.”
Truong was among 10 finalists, including fellow Marymount University student Nilufar Sizdahkhani. Their submissions were reviewed and judged by the Michael Kors team, which selected Truong as the first-place winner.
“I wasn’t expecting to win!” Truong said. “However, it was amazing working with different luxury brands so that I can improve my critical thinking in the design process, as well as improve my graphic design skills.”
Truong was first introduced to the WindowsWear Mentorship Program competition by Jessica Bonness, Assistant Professor of Interior Design at Marymount University. She went on to submit a fashion-forward window design for the 2020 WindowsWear and COACH competition centered on a futuristic holiday display, claiming first place in that competition as well.
“Tran embodies the professionalism, work ethic and creative excellence that we value at Marymount’s Interior Design program,” Bonness said. “Her success in winning two WindowsWear Mentorship competitions in two years is a phenomenal achievement that will propel her far in the industry.”
As the winner, Truong was awarded a paid internship with Tapestry, the parent company of COACH and major brands like Kate Spade, at its headquarters in New York City for the summer of 2020. However, the internship was rescheduled for 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Truong’s achievements have been propelled by a life-long interest in architecture. Before settling in the U.S., Truong had attended Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture in her native country of Vietnam. When she emigrated to the U.S. and enrolled at Northern Virginia Community College, she was hesitant to continue pursuing her passion due to the language barrier.
“I was not confident about myself since the English language has been my most concerning challenge,” Truong said. “However, after taking many art courses, I recognized that I still have a heart for art and design, so I decided to sign up for interior design.”
In an effort to continue her studies, Truong enrolled at Marymount University with support from a merit scholarship.
“I knew that Marymount was the place for me,” she said. “Not only is the Interior Design department inclusive, but most professors and friends I have met are very helpful and friendly.”
This summer, Truong will fulfill her initial internship opportunity with COACH and continue working part-time as an interior design assistant at Aging-in-Place, a remodeling company in Sterling, Va. Truong is hopeful to accept the internship with Michael Kors in New York City in the fall.
“These awards mean so much to me because they have proved that no matter where I’m from, no matter who I am, as long as I pace myself and try my best, I can do it,” Truong said. “As an Asian-American immigrant, I hope to encourage anyone who has started a new life in a foreign country, just like I did, to have more confidence about who they truly are and what they can do.”