GV alumna designs dress for Grammy winner


Courtesy / Medium.com

Hailey Hentz, Staff Writer

A dress designed by Ashley Trieu, a Grand Valley State University alumna, was worn by Grammy-winning musician Gurujas Kaur Khalsa at this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony on Feb. 5. 

“It was a little surreal, which I think is to be expected,” said Trieu in an interview with GVNext. “As a music lover and someone who has grown up watching award shows like this, it was just surreal.”

Trieu went to the Frederik Meijer Honors College at GVSU, graduating in 2011 with a major in psychology. However, she took an interest in fashion design at a young age and taught herself to sew, first upcycling old clothing and then creating her own pieces.

“Actually, to this day, I still sew listening to psychology lectures,” Trieu said to GVNext. “That’s also a passion of mine.”

Pursuing a career in fashion design after graduation, Trieu established Iconoclasp, a clothing company based in Grand Rapids. She has eleven years of experience in the field and designs a wide range of clothing, both formal and casual.

Her designs have been worn at many special events prior to the Grammy Awards, notably the Sundance Film Festival. This year’s 65th annual Grammy Awards provided Trieu with a new stage for her work to be displayed. 

“The GVSU Alumni Relations office is thrilled for Ashley and so proud of her,” said Alex Priebe, assistant director of GVSU Alumni Relations. “It is exciting to see Lakers and their work highlighted on a national stage like this. A big part of our role is to celebrate and share the accomplishments and stories of GVSU alumni and we are cheering her on in her endeavors.”

The dress Trieu designed was worn by Gurujas Kaur Khalsa, vocalist of the Los Angeles-based group White Sun. Winning the Grammy for Best New Age, Ambient or Chant Album, White Sun primarily makes yogic mantra music. 

In the practice of yoga, mantra music helps attract positive cosmic energy and remove bad karma. The ancient tradition of mantras is regarded as cleansing and deeply healing.

Gurujas is a guru, a spiritual instructor, of Kundalini yoga. Gurujas walked the carpet in Trieu’s white monochrome ensemble, an important color in the style of Kundalini representing calming, pure energy.

White Sun won the award in 2017 as well, outperforming acclaimed artists such as Enya and Vangelis in the category.

“I design with red carpet events and special occasions in mind,” Trieu said to GVNext. “It felt amazing. I loved collaborating with (Gurujas) on this. It was great to be a part of her moment.”

Alumni submit their personal and professional accomplishments to the GVSU Alumni Relations Office through Laker Landings, which are featured online, on social networks and GV Magazine.

“It is inspiring how Ashley combines her passions for psychology, sewing, and design,” Priebe said. “Her story is also an encouraging reminder that it is okay and valid to pursue learning and work in different areas. The way she has carved her own career path and found success speaks to the value of liberal education taught at Grand Valley.”

Those interested in Trieu’s work can check out her website and shop’s Facebook page.