2015 Fashion Writing Series Finalist making his mark on Sydney’s media landscape

The career of Fashion Writing Series Finalist, Hung Tran, has taken an exceptional leap following the opportunities presented to him after his experience at the 2015 Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. The budding writer has moved to Sydney to write for the sleek Australian men’s journal, Manuscript, alongside his Fashion Writing Series mentor, Mitchell Oakley Smith. As the applications for the 2016 program have now opened, we caught up with Hung to provide inspiration for the other young and talented fashion writers who are looking to participate in this year’s event.

How has the Festival’s Fashion Writing Series helped you advance your career?

Hung Tran: I was never in doubt about my ability as a writer, but the Festival helped me realise that my aspirations did coincide with a degree of talent. I would often find myself explaining (indeed, defending) my choice to pursue such an esoteric branch of writing because I wasn’t the beneficiary of a lofty birth, glistening blonde hair, lithe legs, an easy grace with strangers, or even great personal style: all the disjointed units of what a fashion person (for lack of better words) is, evidently, supposed to look and sound like. The Festival gave me access to places I wouldn’t have normally seen, and introductions to people I wouldn’t have normally met. It gives you a noble disguise and, in all honesty, a good excuse.

Hung Tran headshot

2015 Fashion Writing Series Finalist, Hung Tran

What's been your favourite experience so far?

Hung: Mitchell invited me to a dinner with a very, very famous horologer, and I accepted, under the impression that I would be joining him at the table. Once I re-read his email, I was daunted to discover that I would be attending in his place, by myself, to represent the magazine. I met some interesting editors, one of whom, a very gracious woman, seemed impressed that my first experience within rarified editorial realms happened so soon after graduating. I was the most junior person at the table, in both senses of the word. The irony of holding my own $90 Casio watch in one hand, and one speckled with diamonds, that could have paid off my festering tuition fees, in the other, never escaped me.

Who would you love to interview/write about, dead or alive?

Any one of the people I’d invite to my fantastical dinner party: Marie Antoinette, Yves Saint Laurent, Truman Capote, Miuccia Prada, the Marquis de Sade, Alexander Fury, and Lisa Simpson. I’d also love to meet Judith Thurman, my favourite writer at The New Yorker, whose brilliant prose I keep returning to as a mental workout before I tackle lengthy pieces of writing. I have a signed copy of her book.

What is your dream role / where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hung: I would love to be in the position where I could write full time. I’d love to meet the people whose work, much of it beyond fashion, I’ve admired for years. I’m a kid from the Western suburbs of Melbourne, who taught himself (for the most part) how to read and write. Many of the things I write about I have no direct experience in, so the struggle of trying to tame the story, meanwhile transcending my qualms as a stranger trying to do justice to an unfamiliar story…it’s difficult, to say the least. It would be incredible to be able to come back in five years as a mentor for the Festival.

What’s next in the pipeline for you?

Hung: I think I can reveal this now: Manuscript is departing from its roots as a newspaper and will transform into a hardcover glossy. I’ve just been christened with an official Manuscript email. Watch this space!

To read some of Hung’s recent written work, please see here.

To apply to participate in the 2016 Fashion Writing Series, head to

Applications for the program close on 2 October 2015.


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