Fashion 

With Nhỏ Girl, Amy Pham Thi Has Created the Coolest Vintage Store for Petite Women

Meet the founder of the popular Amsterdam-based Instagram boutique.

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20,536 Hypes

“I was always interested in clothes. Maybe a little too much,” laughs Amy Pham Thi, founder of Amsterdam-based Nhỏ Girl, while reminiscing about her first fashion memory: her mother dressing her for school. “So that I’d fit in with the other kids in kindergarten,” she adds. Growing up Vietnamese in Berlin, Amy admits she’s always felt like a bit of an outsider, both culturally and sartorially. “Being Asian, Western sizes aren’t catered to my body type,” she elaborates. In 2017, after years of searching Europe for vintage clothes that fit properly, Amy launched Nhỏ Girl (“nhỏ” means “small” in Vietnamese), an Instagram vintage store catering to petite women.

With Nhỏ Girl, Amy — and her keen eye for style and branding — has carved out a singular and instantly recognizable look for her customer. It’s the kind of hard-earned aesthetic typically reserved for eminent fashion labels. While it’s constantly in flux (“​​I don’t want to be stuck with one aesthetic,” the founder says), the Nhỏ Girl uniform is sleek, metropolitan and inflected with Amy’s native Berlin. The tech-chic and luxe utility of 1999 and Y2K Prada, or its little sister Miu Miu. In January, Bella Hadid wore an outsized pair of army pants that immediately brought to mind Nhỏ Girl. In fact, a cream iteration was for sale on the label’s Instagram that same month.

We recently sat down with Amy to discuss her start in fashion, the state of the fashion resale market, and of course, the coveted “Nhỏ Girl look.”

Nhỏ Girl Amy Pham Thi Founder Vintage Store Instagram Amsterdam Berlin Leather Jacket Coat Pants White Tank Top Sunglasses

@amyphamthi

How did you start your career in fashion?

I always knew I was going to work in fashion, but it took me a while to figure out what exactly I wanted to do within the industry. I had an education as a dressmaker, but I figured that I really didn’t want to sew clothes all day. Then I studied communication design and fell in love with graphic design, photography and typography. From my bachelor’s, I learned that it’s branding within the fashion industry that attracted me.

Why did you launch Nhỏ Girl?

In 2017, I started running an online vintage business with my boyfriend, called BUYITNOW, which was catered towards people who are into streetwear. While sourcing for that business, I was finding so many items for girls who dress more feminine, which didn’t work for BUYITNOW. Another issue, for me personally, is finding items in my size, because I’m very petite. We decided to open another Instagram profile with those feminine items and curated for petite girls who struggle with the same problem. That’s how Nhỏ Girl was born: out of necessity, not exclusivity. Being of Vietnamese descent and being born and raised in Berlin, I can resonate with the feeling of not fitting in. Knowing that I’m helping girls like me who struggle with this, by creating this community is something I’m really proud of.

Nhỏ Girl Amy Pham Thi Founder Vintage Store Instagram Amsterdam Berlin Leather Jacket Coat Pants White Tank Top Sunglasses

@amyphamthi

What do you find most rewarding about running Nhỏ Girl?

The people I’ve met. People who understand my vision and believe in Nhỏ Girl. Talking with people and bringing people together makes me happy; seeing girls come into the store and feel confident while trying clothes feels super rewarding. Of course, at the end of the day, it’s just clothing, but it’s an important part of identity and self-expression. [The fact] that I can help, in some way, is the most fulfilling thing to me.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

I never studied business. This is my first time being my own boss, and I’m basically learning by doing. I’m a very realistic and extremely dedicated person. My biggest challenge is that I want to be the best in what I’m doing. Being self-employed means work never stops, because you think you can always do better. Taking breaks can be hard, and especially letting go of things. Since this is my own business, the hardest thing to do is to not take things personally. Getting good feedback from customers is the most rewarding thing that happens, but it’s also the worst to have even one unhappy customer.

Nhỏ Girl Amy Pham Thi Founder Vintage Store Instagram Amsterdam Berlin Leather Jacket Coat Pants White Tank Top Sunglasses

@amyphamthi

You’ve created a very specific look with Nhỏ Girl. How would you describe the “Nhỏ Girl look”?

It’s really funny when people talk about a “Nhỏ Girl look.” I’m not a designer and I don’t produce anything, but somehow Nhỏ Girl separates itself enough to be recognized. I can’t really explain it, it’s more of a vibe. I guess a Nhỏ Girl fit is well put together, it’s crisp and clean with a rough edge.

How do you go about sourcing for Nhỏ Girl?

I don’t care about high-end brands in the way that you would think. Finding designer pieces for a good price is probably the easiest thing to do on the internet. When I look for Nhỏ Girl, it’s less about the brand and more about the piece itself: the cut, the fit and the “wow” factor. I look for items that are weird and unexpected. When an item surprises me, it’s a “yes.”

The vintage and resale market has blown up during the pandemic. How does Nhỏ girl fit into this emerging market?

Resale and vintage culture have always existed in different forms, and even in the vintage community, there are trends. It went from reselling streetwear to Y2K, to now archive aesthetics. The size of big corporate companies like Vestiaire [Collective], Grailed and Depop show that this industry is growing temendously. You can create an Instagram profile and start reselling tomorrow. The thing is that it’s easy to start, but standing out is the hard part and where it often fails. I don’t see Nhỏ Girl as a resell profile in that way. There’s so much more behind Nhỏ Girl. It’s the community.

How would you describe your personal style?

I’m from Berlin, so I love to wear black, leather jackets and pants, but also sometimes a touch of color — because life would be way too boring and I don’t want to limit myself.

What inspires you creatively?

On a daily basis, I’m inspired by old people in slick outfits on the street. If they’re at that age and dressed that slick, it means they’ve found their style and know what suits them best. [Wong Kar-wai] Movies like Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love, or movies by Wes Anderson always inspire me. Of course, I like to watch aesthetically pleasing movies, but I think what inspires me more is when a movie makes me feel something. If you can create something that makes people feel something, that’s really special.

What’s exciting you most in fashion right now?

I love that there is so much opportunity and accessibility. It’s like Virgil [Abloh] said: this decade, we’ll end up blending and mixing everything together. It feels like trend cycles are speeding up to a point where there’s no hype anymore and anything goes. You can truly be who you are, and express that in the way you present yourself to the outside world.


Zoë Kendall is a writer and editor specializing in fashion and culture.

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