Announcing the 2017 Fashion for a Passion Presenting Designer Line-up + Emcees

Dallas, TX — Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce the Presenting Designer line-up for its 9th Annual Fashion for a Passion charity event, which takes place Saturday, November 11th, at sixty five hundred located at 6500 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas. Handpicked by the ATG Board, these diverse young Asian American designers represent an exciting mix of influences and design aesthetics.

One of Dallas’ hottest fashion tickets and fall charity events, the evening showcases and celebrates emerging Asian American artists and musical performers. “We’re thrilled to be able to come together as a team and bring this amazing event to the community for the ninth year,” said President/Co-Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “To produce an evening like this takes a lot of heart, dedication and passion, and we are proud to collaborate with wonderful talent in front of and behind the scenes to make it happen, including one of very own Artistic Scholarship winners.”

Fashion for a Passion has become significant as a place to discover talent, becoming a launch pad for Asian American designers such as Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh, Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang and Jerry Matthews of Nine Muses, who have all gone on to notable fashion careers.

The evening includes a cocktail reception with entertainment, a silent auction/raffle, art exhibit, fashion show with live auction, tasty bites and sips and concludes with a wrap-party for guests to mix and mingle until midnight.

Proceeds from the evening’s ticket sales, silent, art and live auctions as well as support from generous sponsors benefit ATG’s supported orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, scholarships for student artists and leaders and community outreach programs in the U.S. to inspire, educate and entertain the community.

General Admission and VIP Reserved Tickets range from $50 to $125 and will be on sale at starting in September. Sponsorships are currently available by emailing

Introducing the 2017 FFAP Presenting Designers:

Djiun Wang

As a first generation Taiwanese American, Djiun Wang grew up between two worlds. His relationship with both East and West has influenced his identity, shaped his perspective and inspired many of his defining works. It is this cultural and personal tension that creates compelling stories, which he infuses into his art, design and photography.

Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia Djiun studied visual and performing arts. At 18, he moved to New York City to pursue design and photography, where he collaborated with some of the most pioneering designers at Parsons School of Design, studied retail strategies at Columbia Business School and was mentored by some of the most influential creators in the industry. His work has spanned from luxury swimwear for Prince & Bond to branding design for Voyce Global, and concert material for Carnegie Hall to digital graphics for Parsons. His photography portfolio includes publications such as Vogue, Elle, Nylon and Out Magazine; he also had the opportunity to shoot for Tiffany & Co, New York City Ballet and high fashion designers such as J Mendel and Lanyu Couture. He was also an ATG Artistic Scholarship Winner.

What does it mean to go ‘Against The Grain?’

“At times the grain of life is a smooth current guiding you along, but it when challenges arise it becomes a course and sharp. These are the moments that show true character, strength, and ingenuity. ‘Against The Grain’ means to shape your own path with confidence and intention.”

Jiani Chen

As a rising fashion designer, Jiani Chen incorporates her up-to-date professional skills and sensitive fashion taste to develop a unique modernism style. She created her line called JIANI CHEN, which conveys the life attitude of young people that is novel, cool and positive. The line is movie-inspired street fashion wear and combines contemporary art and edgy cultures.

What does it mean to go ‘Against The Grain?’

“Going Against The Grain” for me means that I am able to donate my designs by helping some of the orphans in Asia. At the same time, the event can give me an opportunity to get closer to one of my goals, which is to bridge the gap between the United States and Asia to create greater impacts of Asian styles on American communities.”

Joanne Hong

Joanne Hong is a Taiwanese American contemporary childrenswear designer based in NYC. She is 33 and was born and raised in Stillwater, OK. She moved to NYC over 6 years ago to pursue her passion in fashion. While interning and working for big design houses such as DKNY, Marchesa and Tahari, she quickly gained experience, fueling her drive to launch her own line, Jolynn kids, in 2014. The Jolynn kids brand is inspired by trends in the high-end womenswear industry and then designed for the little fashionista.

Jolynn kids consists of sweet, feminine, and sophisticated dresses and separates for girls between the ages of 2 and 12 years old. It is a versatile line that can be worn on play dates, outings with the parents, and special occasions. In Jolynn kids, a girl can feel girly and youthful, yet still stay on trend with the fashionable “grown ups”. Every design has a special twist that makes a statement — whether through luxe fabrics, precious details, or sweet silhouettes. In her most recent collection, she has added chic mother-daughter looks!

Joanne blogged on ElleGirl, writing about her life as an emerging designer and her collections have been featured during Oklahoma Fashion Week. She is excited to be presenting for a third time at this year’s Fashion for a Passion. Aside from Jolynn kids, she has a quickly growing custom special occasion business in both children and womenswear and also helps consult other designers helping them launch their own brand.

Through her designs, she hopes to inspire others to pursue their dreams.

What does it mean to go ‘Against The Grain?’

To me, it means that you follow your dreams, regardless if it’s the “traditional” path or not. Standing up for what you want and believe in despite all odds.

Runa Shrestha

Runa Shrestha is a graduate with honors from the University of North Texas in Fashion Design. She is also a graduate with honors from the Otemon University of Japan with a degree in Business & Marketing. She is very visual person herself and expert in communicating her ideas through her drawings and garments. She was born and brought up in an urban city of Nepal, with a substantial value for her culture. She was always taught from her parents to respect everything and always be thankful to God for the life she has.

Her imagination has always been an incredible driving force in her life and has an influence on almost everything she does. Her biggest strength and inspiration is her love and passion for art. She has always has been fascinated by patterns that occur in art, architecture and nature. Paintings have heightened her appreciation of them. Creating garments from art has inspired and helped her to see the world.  Runa has won the “Best Collection Award” in the 2017 UNT Art Wear show, and her designs also walked in the 2016 and 2017 “Go Red” charity events.

What does it mean to go ‘Against The Grain?’

“Against The Grain” for me is being different and standout in a crowd. I come from the family where only being a doctor and engineer are known as a career for life, and that repeated from generation to generation. I am the first person coming out of the bubble, trying something different and make my family educate that I was born to be a fashion designer. Fly high but feet on the ground and be crazy enough to think that with my work, I can bring changes to the world in a good way.

Tram Nguyen

Her interest in clothing began at an early age, when her mother often dressed her up for Sunday church, remembering how some outfits would perfectly fit while others were very uncomfortable.  Coming from a structured family, education was a top priority, and the passion for art was not on the list. However, her father introduced her to photography, nd she and learned the beauty of art and nature. Taking all the hopes and dreams to explore her creative mind, she built up the courage to rebel against the family tradition and follow her heart.  She left her family and went to pursue her passion at University of North Texas and  was determined to become a fashion designer. Her inspirations come from all types of forms and from all sort of things, and she describes her designs as classy with a touch of modern. As a designer, she believes that fit and a well-made garment will make the person who wears it comfortable and fashionable.

What does it mean to go ‘Against The Grain?’

Going ‘Against The Grain’ means to stand up for what I believe and it does not matter if someone else does not agree. It also mean to go above and beyond one’s potential to reach self actualization.

Introducing the 2017 FFAP Emcees:

Hilary Kennedy

Hilary Kennedy is an Emmy Award winning TV host from nationally syndicated morning shows, “Eye Opener” and “Morning Dose,” and is a contributor to The Country Network. She has appeared on Access Hollywood, Extra, The Rachel Ray Show and published her first book, Career Diary of a TV Host: 30 Days on the Job.  Outside the TV studio, she is a style blogger and tennis player. She is married to Jeff Hoferer and they have two slightly crazy chihuahuas.

What am I looking forward to the most?

What I’m looking forward to most at FFAP is seeing so many incredibly talented artists under one roof. I can already tell I’m going to leave more inspired and motivated!

Why is it important to me?

Being a part of this cause is important to me because it’s a chance to give back to orphanages and organizations that will positively shape the lives of children who need it. The ripple effect of giving to causes like this one is a beautiful thing; it will change the course of many lives and create opportunities for education and creativity that many of us take for granted.

Ben Smithee

His first long-term stint, at the young age of 23, led him to create one of the earliest and most respected Millennial-focused insights and intelligence firms, where he served as CEO until he exited in 2014. After a brief withdraw he fell of the wagon and launched The Smithee Group which focuses on helping brands strategically succeed in the age of digital everything. His clients include some of the largest and most well-known companies around the world including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Comcast, Del Monte, EA Games, Disney, General Mills, Kroger, VF Corp, Sterling Jewelers, Rio Tinto, and many more.

He has spoken to audiences around the world closing in on 20 countries, across 6 continents. He’s regarded as a go-to expert in Digital Marketing, the future of retail, and the Millennial Consumer segment. He’s the recipient of the American Marketing Association’s Marketer of the Year Award, and has been nominated as one of the the Top 10 Youth Marketers in the US. Ben has hosted top-rated TV segments on WFAA’s Good Morning Texas, and The Broadcast.

While he loves helping businesses succeed and out-perform their competition, he is even more passionate about the work he does with The Warren Center in Dallas, which helps families and their children that have developmental delays, and his work with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization where he currently resides, in New York City.

Ben currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Jewelry Association, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters Young Professionals Committee in NYC.

What am I looking forward to?

Each year FFAP represents a time where so many talented artists and designers come together for an amazing cause and evening of fun. It is truly one of my favorite events of the year, and the energy, passion, and talent are completely unrivaled. Emceeing the event is truly an honor and something I am proud to be part of each year!

Why is it important to me?

The mission of ATG is something that is easy to get behind due to its tremendous global impact. The support ATG provides for orphanages, artistic scholarships, and awareness is not only necessary, but something that strikes home for me. As an Asian-American adoptee, I have a personal love for the work ATG completes. I’ve been honored as an award recipient at their annual Groundbreakers Speak, and I love any possible means of supporting ATG’s team and mission.

About ATG Against The Grain Productions, Inc.

ATG Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, promotes Asian American cultural awareness through compelling media projects and raises funds for international orphanages and underprivileged children. In addition to hosting outreach events, it also awards annual scholarships to exemplary Asian American student artists and leaders. ATG produced the feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which has screened at more than a dozen film festivals nationwide and received the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Vietnamese International Film Festival and the Documentary Audience Choice Award from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. For more information, visit or

#ATGProds   #FFAP2017   #beCAUSE

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