Tuan Tat portrait

Data Science + Vintage Clothing = Fashion Forward

Tuan Tat ‘23
Statistical Data Science

Tuan Tat’s journey to the University of California, Davis began 68 miles away. It might as well have been another world.

Growing up in Oakland, California, a city he experienced as “a destitute land of hustlers,” Tat was influenced by the local culture to focus on making money rather than pursuing higher education.

In high school he felt lost, neglected, and discouraged. “Oakland High School has a very low college attendance rate,” he says. “I didn’t receive the proper guidance from my counselors.” Many of his peers did not value attending college, and he didn’t believe he stood a chance.

Instead, Tat found himself doing various odd jobs, often volunteering at local thrift stores and estate sales to give back to the community. In exchange, he began learning about vintage clothing and antiques. He started learning more on his own, and thus was born his love for the business of vintage fashion. He began buying and selling vintage garments on the side to supplement his income.

Tat eventually attended community college. He explored majors including business, computer science, and statistics before landing on data science -- the right match for his skills and interests. Tat finally felt ready to start the next chapter of his life. When it came time to transfer, Tat chose UC Davis because it was close to home, but not too close. “Davis is home away from home,” he says. “I felt ready and I think Davis was the right choice.”

Academic Studies meet Passion for Fashion

Tuan Tat portrait

Where does Tat see the intersection between his studies and his passion? “Fashion is an artistic, creative space. People [in fashion] don’t always have the applications-thinking skills necessary for growing a sustainable business,” he said. For example, one challenge in buying and selling vintage garments is that it can be hard to obtain. You have to travel long distances looking for it, and it’s often a hit-or-miss. With statistical modeling you can identify areas where there may be populations with older garments and increase your chances of obtaining the items you want with fewer errors.

If his style is retro, his vision is forward-thinking. Tat thinks about fashion environmentally, both in terms of being eco-friendly, and in terms of being part of a local environment in which artists and creators can team up with local businesses. A recent Halloween pop-up event was hosted at Simple Pleasures Cafe in collaboration with several local artists in San Francisco as part of a community celebration.

Tat anticipates graduating in 2023, and hopes to pursue a career in Data Science while building upon his vintage fashion business. Until then, be on the lookout for a possible vintage fashion event hosted by Tat soon! - www.ShirtRecycler.com.

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