Thê-Anh began designing his own clothing at 17 and continued to do so during his college studies in science. Upon recommendation from his academic adviser, Thê-Anh attended LaSalle College in Montréal in order to prepare for a design career. Shortly after graduation, he joined a string of production houses including Parasuco, Ma Divine Clémentine, Tristan & America, Irving Samuel and Raffinati. From mass merchandise to high-end fashion, Thê-Anh gained a spectrum of experience within a short span of time.
In early 2000, he launched "POW (Power of Women) by Andy Thê-Anh" under the Conrad Embroidery Group. The collection comprised streamlined ready-to-wear mainly focused on cocktail dressing and evening wear. Shortly after, under a separate manufacturing agreement, the designer released "Andy by Andy Thê-Anh" - a line created for the mass market displaying the designer's signature ease.
In 2006, following several successful seasons on and off the runway, the Canadian dressmaker carried out a full re-brand and laid out plans for international expansion. Under new financial backing, Andy Thê-Anh Canada Inc was formed with all production and staff based in Montréal, on the designer's home turf. The label, known for its prêt-à-porter and evening wear designs, re-established its fashion vision as accessible glamour with a modern and refined edge. Thê-Anh drew his main inspirations from pinnacle moments in fashion history and the prominent muses that made an impact in design.
In support of his new plan, the designer's team opened 2 retail locations in Toronto and Montréal in 2006.
The label was purchased in 2008 by CATSIMA, a private investment firm, which continued to fulfill the designer's dream of international expansion. At the height of the label's success, Thê-Anh was stocked across Canada in his 4 flagship locations with presence in the US, England, Ireland, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
Andy Thê-Anh has received several awards including the Young Québec Fashion Designer of the year (2000), the Fur Council of Canada award (2006), and the Fashion Export Award (2006), and was nominated in 2008 by the Dallas Fashion Awards for women's sportswear. In addition to his success in-store, he has dressed numerous celebrities including Jeanne Beker, Laureen Harper, Patricia Clarkson, Rubba Nada, Hélène Joy, Kreesha Turner, Tré Armstrong and Iman. The designer has also supported and contributed to several charitable causes including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the Lupus Flare Foundation and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Following a season of low international sales and the effects of the recession, Étienne Lecompte, president of Andy Thê-Anh Canada Inc, declared in 2010 that the company would close up shop. After liquidating an estimated $2.8 million worth of inventory the fashion label closed its doors and ceased production. In early 2011, Andy Thê-Anh announced his new role as co-designer at Québec-based women's activewear label, LOLË. The brand, which is owned by the Coalision apparel group, will launch Thê-Anh's first collection in the fall of 2012. The LOLË label currently retails in over 2500 outlets across North America, Europe and Asia.
Author RYAN CHEUNG
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The website for Andy Thê-Anh, a leading Canadian fashion designer.