Mai’s Story

Mai Lam is a designer and artist based in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam.

Mai’s story as part of Vietnam’s diaspora returned home is at once unique and relatable. In 1977, age 21, Mai left Vietnam for Australia as just one of the 1.6 million Vietnamese refugees that were resettled between 1975 and 1997. In Australia Mai had many self-taught careers: first as an award-winning chef at the Hilton, then a highly successful florist, before returning to Vietnam with her husband and five children.



Drawing from a combination of traditional & local materials, Vietnamese folklore, military history and whimsical childhood memories, Mai reimagines Vietnam’s heritage for a contemporary, global audience.


After 20 years away, Mai arrived back to rediscover the city she used to call home with an energy and vigour that continues to characterise her work and life. In Saigon she turned her attention to fashion and art to build a highly recognizable style that celebrates the influence of the past on the current moment, and present a modern image of Vietnam and its people.

Since returning to make Vietnam her home, Mai has been a dedicated philanthropist of the arts. She continues to support young and emerging creative practitioners through a range of projects.


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