Category: Updates

Going Against the Grain: Thanh Le Hoang


Thanh has wanted to be many things: an artist, a designer, an entrepreneur, a humanitarian.  Starting her jewelry company sprang naturally by coming from two generations in the jewelry business.  It is where she developed a true and impressive eye for color and design.  As the founder and creator of Le Dragon d’Or, Thanh creates extraordinary pieces with a passion that ignites from deep within her.  Nothing is ordinary, but everything is extraordinary.

Born in Quy Nhon, Vietnam, Thanh along with her family immigrated to the United States when she was two.  Thanh received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in marketing and management from the University of Texas.  After graduation, Thanh then went on to work in sales and managed her family’s jewelry business.

Thanh has been actively involved in helping underprivileged children from foreign countries, supporting a numerous of charities.  One is to help sick and special needs children around the world.  Thanh resides in Los Angeles and enjoys traveling all over the world, collecting inspiration for her jewelry collections.

On her first trip back to Vietnam in 2008 with her sister Dr. Dane Hoang, Thanh witnessed first-hand the dire poverty that so many of our children face on a daily basis.  Thanh and her sister made it a mission to help the needy children around the world by working tirelessly to form the Le Hoang Foundation with the help of their family and friends. Thanh developed a true understanding of how one person can make a difference in the lives of others, and the most powerful path towards change is by empowerment through education.  Thanh passionately believes that the Le Hoang Foundation has the power to affect that change, and she knows that every journey truly does begin with that first step.  The task that lies ahead seems daunting, but Thanh also knows that this children’s charity will truly be the seed of positive change in the lives of countless children.

Full name

Thanh Le Hoang


Quy Nhon, Vietnam

Current city

Los Angeles, California



 What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”

Going against the grain is to march to the beat of your own drum; to do things and live on your own terms regardless of what society and industry says is the norm.  I try to be true to myself and my own vision rather than following a course set by others.

What made you decide to pursue your career? 
Growing up in the family jewelry store definitely played a huge influence on, and helped develop my passion for jewelry and design. I remember as a child admiring the luster of polished metals and the intricacies of some of the designs; touching the carved curves of some of the jade pieces we had. It sounds corny, but their creation was kind of magical to me. Even at that early age, I already knew what I wanted to pursue.

What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?

I think I’ve been lucky to not have faced many challenges as an Asian American in my field because jewelry is art and art is objective.  It’s all about connection and whether the person has a connection to the jewelry piece.  The challenge I face is balancing work, family and friends.  Also, I’m learning to live in the moment.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?

My biggest accomplishment is to have stayed true to myself personally and professionally.  Personally, being open and honest with yourself and others is the best in order to have authentic and meaningful relationships.  Professionally, many people told me I should look into producing lower quality jewelry due to our economy, but it just wasn’t me.  It wasn’t about making money to me…it was about making beautiful art by designing from my heart.

What’s up next?
I have a trunk show coming up in November hosted by my dearest friends.  It’s being held at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills and is benefiting Operation Smile, a non-profit charity that provides free surgeries to children with facial deformities.  Also, I’ve been working on a bridal line and plan to launch it next year.
Quote to live by:
“What you think, you become.”  – Buddha; I’ve learned that our mind is a powerful thing.  Never ever let negative thoughts get into your mind.
Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac):  Dragon/Capricorn.  We’re very passionate about our work, thoughtful and have a lot of compassion towards people.
Passionate about: I’m passionate about spirituality, because it’s a part of my growth and development in liberating my soul through truth, giving and love.
Favorite food:  I love all things sweet!  There’s this little charming bakery called Sweet Lady Jane on Melrose Avenue.  They make this amazing Triple Berry Shortcake that is to die for!  It’s a yellow butter cake filled with three layers of lightly sweetened whip cream and layers of fresh berries.
Can’t live without:  My mobile phones and my date planner, because it keeps me organized.

Going Against The Grain: Dane Hoang


Eric Clapton once sang, “That I can change the world, I would be the sunlight in your universe.” 

Born in Quy Nhon, Vietnam, Dr. Dane Hoang and her family immigrated to the United States in 1979 and settled in Dallas, Texas.  Almost 30 years later, she returned to Vietnam for the first time as a volunteered pediatric dentist with Operation Smile in 2008.  The mission was a life-changing experience for her and not only was it a chance to return to the country of her birth place for the first time, but more importantly it was an opportunity to learn what it truly means to help those in need. It was during these trips to her native country of Vietnam that Dr. Dane became aware of the urgent need by children for assistance in all aspects of their lives. As a result, Dr. Dane was the driving force behind the creation of the Le Hoang Foundation. Founded in 2008, the Le Hoang Foundation has already made a tremendous impact by attracting numerous benefactors, all whom have graciously donated time and financial resources to help orphanages throughout Southeast Asia.

Sometimes we forget how blessed we are to live in the United States, but there is a world of children beyond our borders that desperately needs our help.  Through the work with Operation Smile and the Le Hoang Foundation, Dr. Dane learned that a pediatric dentist from Dallas, Texas can change the world and be the sunlight in the universe of children thousands of miles away.

Full name

Dane-Thuy Le Hoang


Quy Nhon, Vietnam

Current city

  Dallas, TX



What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”  

It means never having to compromise your core values and beliefs. I have a specific set of values and beliefs that I try to uphold everyday, and even if it means that what I do and what I say might “go against the grain” of mainstream America, I refuse to compromise when it comes to those core values and beliefs.

What made you decide to pursue your career?

Growing up, my family was always business oriented.  I can remember playing and working with my hands in my parents’ jewelry store at a young age.  My parents’ work ethic and independence inspired me to find an occupation that would incorporate both autonomy and manual dexterity.  The field of dentistry provided me with the best of both worlds.

What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field? 

It’s not so much as being Asian American but more so being a female pediatric dentist/business owner who had to work in a predominately male dominated field.  From dealing with bankers, general contractors, architects and equipment dealers, I have worked with an all male team over the past 14 years with the construction of three dental offices.  It was quite a challenge at the beginning to convey my vision to these individuals in the design of my dental offices with all its bells and whistles, while trying to cater to my patients.  Once they understood and saw my passion for pediatric dentistry, my team worked tirelessly to help me achieve my vision.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why? 

My biggest accomplishment is surrounding myself with a great network of friends and family over the years.  These are the people who have been with me from the beginning of my career and have been supportive in everything that I have accomplished.  These individuals are my true friends who love and support me, who can be brutally honest with me and lastly, who bring out the best in me.

What’s up next? 

I am working with Operation Smile and my sister Thanh in organizing a trunk show for Le Dragon d’Or in November 2012 at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills.  Also, I am planning a fundraising event for Le Hoang Foundation for next spring in Dallas.  We hope to raise money for a dental mission in the Dominican Republic which will be led by Dr. Mike Gioffre, a general dentist and Operation Smile volunteer residing in Delaware.

Quote to live by:

 “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill  

Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac) Pig/Aries

Passionate about:  My first passion has always been children. Becoming a pediatric dentist and then working with Operation Smile and the Le Hoang Foundation have just been a natural extension of my love for children.

Favorite food: Bún Bò Huế– this is pretty obvious, since I am from central Vietnam, Hue province.

Can’t live without  Besides air, it’s love and laughter with friends and family.


2012 Fashion for a Passion Sets New Organization Records

DALLAS, TX – Non-profit ATG Against The Grain Productions hosted its 4th Fashion for a Passion (FFAP) charity event on Saturday, Oct. 13th at The Dallas Contemporary Museum in the Dallas Design District. The show set a remarkable new organization record, with nearly 400 guests in attendance who helped to raise nearly $30,000 net, 100% of which will go toward for ATG’s supported orphanages in Asia, scholarship fund and year-round outreach programs. From FFAP veterans to first time guests, Dallas united for a very worthy cause.

Presenting Designers (left to right): Sophia Wu of Leprosy, Jerry Matthews, Joanne Hong of JOLYNN, Danh Ta, Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang, Lizzi Cook of Lizzi London, Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh
Photo © Chi Tran


The sold-out venue. Photo © Chi Tran

Upon entering the Dallas Contemporary, which was appropriately decked out in the audacious fashion photography of Inez & Vinoodh, guests got to enjoy the stylish ambiance set by Lumiere Lighting & Drapery and tunes by DJs Super T and Prada G, tasty food by DC’s Catering, cocktails by Ben E Keith and dessert by Yogurtland. Hung from the rafters with red rope hangers were the seven designer’s t-shirt design pieces. The work of six Exhibiting Artists Fur Face Boy, Ann He, Anh-Thuy Nguyen, Tam Nguyen, ATG Artistic Scholarship finalist Melissa Woodbridge and ATG Artistic Scholarship winner Thoa Nguyen work were displayed, flanking tables of silent auction packages. Gorgeous models dressed in auction looks accompanied designers to mingle amongst the crowd. Pre-show musical guest performers were from ATG’s community partner Kollaboration Dallas and included Peter P & Robbie G, iCare and The Plinth. As guests took their seats, President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee and Community Outreach Director Jared Rehberg honored the two 2012 Artistic Scholarship winners Thoa Nguyen and Britt Espinosa. Espinosa’s Washington-based band, The Exchange, got the crowd riled up with a 10-minute musical set before the runway show started. The evening was emceed by actress/model LeeAnne Locken and entrepreneur Sam Liu, who made a hilarious appearance as Psy. Guests were kept on the edge of their seats with a stunning runway show with models by Campbell-Wagner and Page Parkes and live auction from seven Presenting Designers, including Lizzi Cook of Lizzi London, Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang, Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh, Jerry Matthews, Danh Ta and NYC based designers Joanne Hong of JOLYNN and textile designer Sophia Wu of Leprosy.

Photo © Chi Tran

Said President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee, “Going into our fourth year, we had a lot of high expectations on how to improve the show and the event for our guests. This night was an accumulation of so much work from a very hard working volunteer team, months of planning and coordination. It has been truly a blessing to see everyone come together to break records and donate so much back to our cause. It is a testament that our vision is being seen and shared by all.”

Joanne Hong of JOLYNN’s T-shirt Design Photo © David Loi

Programming/Events Chair Kim Nguyen helped to spearhead the organization of the occasion to a complete victory. “Words can’t explain how proud I am of this year’s 2012 FFAP, and it is an honor to be part of such a passionate organization with a great cause,” Nguyen said. “This was my first year planning and attending FFAP and although it was super stressful at times, it was all well worth it in the end to see it executed so wonderfully in addition to how much money we raised for the orphanages and scholarship. Next year will be even bigger and better!”

Director of Fundraising Patrick Su said, “FFAP continues to improve every year. I am very excited to be a part of such a passionate organization that dedicates their time to helping those in need. I am looking forward to the continued growth of the organization.” Su was a past guest to the well-known charity event, and this was also his first year to help organize it as a Board member.

Dress by Joanne Hong of JOLYNN
Photo © Chi Tran

Designer Joanne Hong of JOLYNN added a new twist to Fashion for a Passion, presenting the very first collection to include a children’s line, and the little darlings stole the show. “Being part of Fashion for a Passion was such a great experience. I loved meeting the ATG team as well as the other designers and artists,” Hong said. “It was an amazing event that really exceeded my expectations. Sharing my love of fashion while helping others is what following my passion is all about. I couldn’t have asked for a more organized and successful show.”

Jerry Matthew’s T-shirt Design Photo © David Loi

First-time presenting designer and recent Art Institute graduate Jerry Matthews said, “It felt so wonderful doing something that I really love while being able to give back to a great cause at the same time,” Matthews said. “It was my first year presenting a collection for this show, and I am so grateful for the positive response and support. I will definitely remember this for the rest of my life. It was such an amazing life experience and I cannot wait to see what other great accomplishments Against The Grain achieves in the coming future. Also, I look forward to supporting this cause again!”

Thoa Nguyen, one of the 2012 Artistic Scholarship winners and freshman Radio-Television-Film major at the University of Texas at Austin, experienced her first fashion show event and got a chance to exhibit her own art work. “I was honored to have been a part of [the event]. It was incredible to be around so many inspiring artists coming from so many different perspectives and meet the amazing people who make ATG Productions what it is,” Nguyen said.

The night’s top bids went to Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh for her beautiful red Milace Dress, whose line was recently announced to be carried in Saks Fifth Avenue and Sue Gragg Precious Jewels, a Highland Park based custom jewelry designer.

Dress by Nha Khanh
Photo © David Loi


Photo © Chi Tran







To see photos from the evening’s event, please visit the ATG Flickr site.

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. In addition to giving out an annual scholarship to exemplary Asian American students pursuing a degree in the arts, they also produced the feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which has screened at over 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

ATG board, creative team, and volunteers.
Photo © Christopher Rich Pics


La Mode Dallas – Fashion for a Passion: Well-Seasoned

Written by: Jackelyn Vorce

Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang, Lizzi Cook of Lizzi London, Khanh of Nha Khanh and emcess LeeAnne Locken and Sam Liu

October 13th marked the fourth annual Against the Grain’s Fashion for a Passion event. It was created with the purpose of bringing together emerging Asian American artists, fashion designers and musicians to raise awareness for Asian American culture and arts. The celebration was held at the renowned Dallas Contemporary where its current Inez & Vinoodh photography exhibit served as the perfect backdrop for the lively event. From start to finish, the evening was designed to keep guests interested and entertained. Informal models, donning upcoming designs from the fashion show, mingled throughout the space, offering more information about the designs and designers they were wearing. Prior to the fashion show, guests enjoyed savory bites and cocktails by DC’s Catering, along with a Yogurtland station filled with an assortment of its most popular flavors and toppings. There was a generous variety of silent auction items to meet anyone’s interests, along with a truly unique opportunity to choose from and bid on an ATG t-shirt given to each presenting designer one month prior to the event to recreate into a masterpiece of his or her own styling.

Exhibiting artists included Fur Face Boy, Ann He, Anh- Thuy Nguyen, Tam Nguyen, Thoa Nguyen, and Melissa Woodbridge. Musical entertainers Peter P & Robbie G, iCare and The Plinth gathered guests toward the stage before the runway show. As everyone took their seats, the last band, The Exchange, had event-goers clapping and singing along, anxiously awaiting the start of the show. Introducing and narrating the catwalk was Dallas’ own LeeAnne Locken and Sam Liu. Presenting designers included Lizzi Cook of Lizzi London, Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang, Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh, Jerry Matthews, Danh Ta and NYC-based designers Joanne Hong of JOLYNN, and textile designer Sophia Wu of Leprosy. After seeing each designer’s creative lines, a live auction was held over one of each designer’s donated pieces, and things quickly turned competitive with bids getting as high as $1,000 for a single dress. All proceeds from Fashion for a Passion go toward benefitting Against the Grain Production’s supported orphanage outreach programs and ATG’s scholarship funds. After such a well-organized and fulfilling night, it’s hard to believe this event is only four years-old.

Photos courtesy of La Mode Dallas, Dallas Does

Orphanage Update: Harvest Moon Festival

ATG recently received an update email from one of our supported orphanages in Vietnam (names have been abbreviated to protect their privacy). We wanted to share this with you and show you just how your dollars are going to help support and make the lives of these orphanage children better!
Dear ATG Family,
We received from the ATG family a sum in the amount of $VND 10 million ($480 USD).  We understand that you want to use this sum to buy needed items and winter clothes for the children of UD, and also to support UD to help the children of UD and those of disadvantaged families near UD to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival (Children’s Festival).  To follow your wish, PT has used the money for the following items:
1) 50 pairs of sandals (for the children to go to school):  50X $27,000 = $1,350,000 (US$64)
2) 300 packages of milk, supplies and treats for the children during “Tet Trung Thu” (Harvest Moon Festival) X $15,000 = $4,500,000 (300 X 72 cents each = US$216)

The remaining amount will be used to buy warm clothes for 40 children of UD for the coming monsoon season. PT will send pictures of the children in warm clothes later for you.

We appreciate the ATG family very much!  During the past many years, ATG has always been walking side-by-side with UD in the mission to care for the 

lives of the orphans.  You have also followed each step of the ways for the less fortunate children of UD and helped them step into life with confidence.  This time, you also extended your arms and helped PT to reach out to the other even less fortunate children outside UD and brought them a little joy and hope during the Harvest Moon Festival for the children at such a tender age….

Your concern and thoughtfulness during this occasion have just added the needed fuel to the “camp fire” to make the Mid-Autumn Festival for UD more warm and celebrated!


2012 Fashion for a Passion Exhibits Work of Emerging Asian American Artists

DALLAS, TX – Dallas-based non-profit ATG Against The Grain Production’s upcoming annual charity event Fashion for a Passion has become known not only for the exciting runway show, but also as an event where guests can enjoy and even bid to own emerging Asian American art.  This year’s Exhibiting Artists are an eclectic group that include graphic artist Ha Mai aka “Fur Face Boy,” 17 year-old fashion photographer Ann He, recent  SMU MFA Meadows graduate Anh-Thuy Nguyen, Tam Nguyen (brother of designer Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh),  ATG Artistic Scholarship Winner Thoa Nguyen and Artistic Scholarship Finalist Melissa Woodbridge. Each artist will exhibit a piece as well as donate a piece of their original work in the silent auction. This exhibition, along with musical performances and a runway show, takes place at the Dallas Contemporary at the Dallas Design District from 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM on Saturday, October 13th.

While the name of the event connotes the focus on fashion, the addition of art has become just as much a part of the night’s experience to celebrate Asian American talent.  This year, President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee tasked and worked with Marketing/PR Director Nikki Duong Koenig (who works professionally as the Creative Director of Envision Interactive and is the founder of Cykochik Custom Handbags) with finding a diverse slate of artists who had a unique point of view, strong and thought-provoking work and who represented the spirit of the organization’s mantra of ‘going against the grain.’ Said Koenig, “I’m truly inspired by this amazing group of young visual artists for their talent, passion and generosity to pay it forward.”

Fur Face Boy

Ha Mai (also known as “Fur Face Boy“) was a kid who loved cartoons, comics, toys, video games, quirkiness, art and style, which led to constantly doodling and drawing whenever and wherever. Like many other artists from Asian families, Mai strived to prove to his parents that he could make his career as an artist and to make them proud. Said Mai, “I’m very excited to be a part of an event that recognizes and celebrates Asian-American artists. I’m hoping that my art / design will remind everyone that I’m still very proud of my Vietnamese roots, values and heritage. Growing up in America with American peers and culture can tend to make you forget about your background, but it can also fuse together to create a bigger meaning to art, life and personality. I hope everyone sees that my art represents that I am not just a single-sided Asian or a single-side American, but Asian American.”

Anh-Thuy Nguyen

From photography to video to performance and sound art, Anh-Thuy Nguyen is a multi-media artist who envelops her work to convey an assortment of feelings and desires. She is a recent MFA graduate of the SMU Meadows School of the Arts. Said Nguyen, “Petite Houses Series is an investigation of miniature houses that I have been working on since 2010. These houses represent one’s dream home, a place full of joy, laughing and love, yet it is just a dream.”

Tam Nguyen

Tam Nguyen comes from a talented family. He is the younger brother of FFAP veteran designer Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh. Said Nguyen, “I’m totally grateful for this opportunity to be a part of ATG. Most of all I’m looking forward to checking out all the creative talents. Being around designers and artists at these events can be very energizing and inspiring, especially to fellow creatives like myself. At the moment, I am in love traditional media. I simply paint and draw portraits obsessively.” He will exhibit a stunning portrait piece of his mother, who undoubtedly must be proud her talented son and daughter.

Melissa Woodbridge

This year, several of ATG’s Artistic Scholarship applicants were visual artists, and two were selected to exhibit pieces as a part of the organization’s mission to support the work of young talent. Finalist Melissa Woodbridge is a sophomore at the University of Georgia, and Scholarship Winner Thoa Nguyen is a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. Both are pleased with the chance to share their work and attend and their first Fashion for a Passion in person. Woodbridge said, “I am incredibly excited to be apart of this amazing event that involves so many passionate, talented people, and I hope that I will be able to contribute with my own love for art and community.”

Thoa Nguyen

Added Nguyen, “It is an honor to be a part of the sea of talented artists featured at the Fashion for a Passion event. Making art has always been such a personal experience for me, so I am grateful for the recognition and the opportunity to share my point of view with other inspirational artists.”

Already starting out at a young age, Ann He of Dallas, TX, calls herself a “full-time nerd” and “a proud Trekkie,” while pursuing being a part-time fashion photographer. She is a senior at Highland Park High School, and remarkably juggles her schedule through cross country, academic decathlon and being a photo student. She has already been featured in several publications, such as Photographer’s Companion (China), Vogue Girl Korea (July 2011) and Elle Girl Korea (January 2011).

Tickets to Fashion for a Passion range from $50 to $100 and are  on sale exclusively at the FFAP Event Page.  For more press/media information on the event, please contact

National Adoption Month by Jared Rehberg

On this month, I think about Adoptive and Foster families who offer children a safe, loving and supportive home. For all couples who are fulfilling their dreams of starting a family. I honor the personal journey of so many children and adults who share a similar story as me. This is an important time for adoption and foster care awareness.

My heart goes out to adoptees who begin their search for birth family and heritage as they balance life and their identity struggles. My heart goes out to birth mothers and communities who look out for their care and well being. My heart goes out to adoptees who planning their journey back home to their motherland. I think about my second chance and those who never got one.

To the artist and filmmakers, like Tammy Nguyen Lee, who volunteer their time and talent to help share our lost and sometimes controversial stories. Last and definitely not least, a big thank you to my parents, family and friends for their love and support through out the years. To all my adoptee friends and family around the world, you are not alone, you are not invisible.

Much Love,



Packed House at 2010 Fashion for a Passion Charity Event

Proceeds from charity fashion show to benefit international orphanages

Dallas-based nonprofit ATG Against The Grain Productions held the 2nd Annual Fashion for a Passion (FFAP) this past Saturday night at LandCo/7 Senses in the Dallas Design District. It was a packed house with nearly 300 volunteers and philanthropists who joined to raise $10,000 for ATG’s supported orphanages in Asia, the newly started Against The Grain Artistic Scholarship to support Asian American students pursuing a degree in the arts and year-round community outreach programs.

FFAP Emcees Tina Craig and LeeAnne Locken - Photo courtesy of Loc Truong Photography

“I was very impressed by the hard work that the ATG team put into the event. The FFAP show was such a high-quality and well-run event, and I’m sure that’s a direct reflection of the outstanding leadership and effort from ATG,” said Milton Lai, representing, a Producer Level Sponsor. “I think the partnership with ATG was exceptional, and I’m glad we could play a part in supporting the event and such a worthy cause. [It was] definitely a great night, great fashion, and great work for the orphanages.”

The centerpiece of the event featured a knock-out fashion show with a live auction of select pieces from each presenting designer’s collection and other exclusive pieces from designers around the world. Presenting designer collections were showcased by Chloe Dao (Season 2 winner of Project Runway), Khanh Nguyen for Nhã Khanh, Nikki Duong Koenig for Cykochik Custom Handbags featuring Freedom Parc, Prashe, Judy Yang, Cac Lam for 2FeMale and New York-based designer Sumie Tachibana. Additional fashion pieces were provided for the live auction from Ann Hoang, CC Couture, Dolly Pearl, Lizzi London, and Lyly Thanh.
Melissa Brown (Page Parkes) modeling Sumie Tachibana - photo courtesy of David Loi (Infini Studios)
Kamille Carlisle (Campbell Wagner) modeling Cykochik Custom Handbags by Nikki Duong Koenig - Photo courtesy of David Loi (Infini Studios)
Keegan Wheeler (Page Parkes) modeling 2 Female by Cac Lam - Photo courtesy of Loc Truong

The event featured artistic, musical and design talents within the Asian American community. Event highlights include dynamic musical performances by Houston based JR Kim, Xuan Nguyen and Miles Machon, hip hop performer Twisted Optiks and a surprise performance by Mina Chang.  The Live Auction of designer pieces hosted by beautiful and witty emcees  LeeAnne Locken (actress/model, She’s Got the Look) and Tina Craig (, former MTV Asia veejay)  provided many memorable moments throughout the evening.

“We are so thrilled that this year’s Fashion for a Passion was a huge success and continues to not only promote awareness for our social cause overseas, but also the profiles of emerging designers and artists in our community,” said Against The Grain President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “ATG brings together a volunteer base with a lot of heart, soul and passion. Saturday’s turnout makes all the hard work so rewarding, and we are humbled and honored by the overwhelming support. We doubled the amount raised from last year’s event, a huge accomplishment, and are looking forward to growing what we can do globally.”

To see photos from the event, please visit the ATG Flickr Site.

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. Their premiere documentary feature, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, has 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


Rave Reviews for 2010 Fashion for a Passion

Nikki Duong Koenig, Chloe Dao, Nini Nguyen, Khanh Nguyen - Photo courtesy of Quoc 'QC' Cong (XO Photography)

Thank you to everyone who contributed your talents to the 2010 Fashion for a Passion charity event. With your help, we were able to have one heckuva show and raise $10,000 (a 200% increase from last year) for our supported orphanages, new ATG Artistic Scholarship fund and year-round community outreach programs. Thank you so much!

Read below all the wonderful comments that are coming in:

What the Designers had to say:

“It was wonderful event. It was pleasure to be in such well organized and successful event. Honestly, it was really nice to see the Asian community, young and old, come out and support  the cause. I am game for next year if you need.”

–          Chloe Dao (Designer, DAO Chloe Dao)


“Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this event…”

–          Vi Hoang (Designer, Dolly Pearl)


“Thank you so much for letting me be a part of the show. I had a great time and enjoyed it very much. Thank you for working so hard to put up the show.”

–          Cac Lam (Designer, 2FeMale)


“Great job! I had a blast! My first “real show,” thanks to you!”

 –          Lyly Koenig (Designer, Lyly Thanh)

“…It was such a fabulous event, thank you for letting me be a part of it all. It was a pleasure working with you and the ATG crew – you guys are just amazing. I’m definitely a fan and would love to help out with future ATG events/initiatives.”

–          Nikki Duong Koenig (Designer, Cykochik Custom Handbags)


“… Fashion for a Passion was such a huge success! Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this wonderful cause again!”

–          Khanh Nguyen (Designer, Nhã Khanh)

“Thank you so much for planning a fabulous event and allowing me to participate. Everyone was so welcoming, helpful, and truly sweet. You have a great team of people!”

–          Sumie Tachibana

“I am so honored to be part of this event and get to meet so many great people. The night was a great success and would love to part of FFAP again next time.”

–          Judy Yang (JudYang)

What the Sponsors/Guests had to say:

“I was very impressed by the hard work that the ATG team put into the event.  The FFAP show was such a high-quality and well-run event, and I’m sure that’s a direct reflection of the outstanding leadership and effort from ATG. I think the partnership with ATG was exceptional, and I’m glad we could play a part in supporting the event and such a worthy cause.  Definitely a great night, great fashion, and great work for the orphanages.”

–        Milton Lai (

“It was great to see everything come together.  We definitely had a good time and [were] very happy about the turnout at Lumi.  I would love to work with you on future events with ATG.”

–          Susie Bui (Lumi Empanada & Dumpling Kitchen)

“What a great party and show…it all turned out great, and I am so happy to have been able to work with you and would love to continue help out however we can in the future.”

–          Damaris Grogan (Page Parkes Management)

“The second annual Against The Grain Fashion for a Passion event on September 25 was one of the most inspiring I’ve attended in a long time.”

–          Haley Schultheis (Pink Memo)

“My friend and I had a total blast!  I’m more than happy to help for such a great cause… You guys totally rocked in organizing the event!”

–          Joie Chau Pham (Luxe Petals)

“It is our pleasure to be part of your event, and we are thrilled that it was a great success…”

–          Michelle Byrd (Ben E. Keith)

“Thank you again for allowing us to be a part of Fashion For A Passion. We were thrilled to be there and found the evening to be wildly successful!”

–      Ryan Glenn (Subjective Media/The Photo Stand)

“Last night was a great event. Very well organized. Great Job!”

–      Steve Peris (Guest)

“I had a blast… Thanks so much to everyone who participated.”

–      Arienne Cartier (Guest)

“Great job…Your event was beautiful and very organized and energetic.”

–      Mina Chang (Musical Performer)

What the Volunteers had to say:

“Good cause, good fun and a whole lot of fashion at the second annual charity event Fashion for a Passion to benefit world orphanage. Against the Grain did an amazing job at promoting, producing and organizing such a fantastic event to raise awareness and supports for their humble cause. Great job to everyone.”

–      Quoc Cong “QC” (Volunteer, XO Photography)


“It was a great night. You did a fabulous job of pulling it together!”

–      Tina Craig (Emcee,

“Thank you, Tammy, for including me as a part of such an amazing event!! YOU are inspiring & amazing!!! Much love.”

–      LeeAnne Locken (Actress/Model, She’s Got the Look)

“It was an honor to be invited to work for such a great cause again…Congrats goes to ATG, sponsors and volunteers for making it happen.”

–      David Loi (Volunteer, Infini Studios)

“We had a blast…Great job on your end, too.  Very well done.”

–      Trevor Hyslop (Volunteer, Day 18)

“Tammy, you and your team were absolutely wonderful. Anytime you need anything, please do not hesitate to ask. I have to say, in all of the years that I have done events, yours was by far the best put together most calm and just fun event I have done.. Please pass along our gratitude for such a fun and pleasant group!”

–      Dianne Gomez (Toni & Guy)


“Thank you, Tam and George, for the opportunity! It was a lot of fun!”

–      Keisha Murrell (Volunteer, FFAP Show Coordinator)

“I was honored to be a part of Against the Grain this year…I really appreciate and admire people like the two of you with such big hearts reaching out to help others and having an organization that allows us to be a part of it. Great hearts are contagious, and you guys totally inspire me.”

–      Nini Nguyen (Volunteer, FFAP Show Coordinator)

“You all did an excellent job, and I really respect you and George for your generosity for the cause…”

– Cuong Nguyen (Volunteer)

“It was a great event…”

–      Travis Petty (Volunteer, Frozen Fire Films)

“I’m so glad i was able to make it to the event and help out with my small bit for such a wonderful cause…Keep up the great work!”

–      Alex Tran (Volunteer, Miss Vietnam Global)

“Had a blast…”

–      Chi Tran (Volunteer, Infini Studios)

“Against The Grain did an amazing job at promoting, producing and organizing such a fantastic event to raise awareness and support for their humble cause. Great job to everyone…It was a pleasure to participate.”

–      Loc Truong (Volunteer, Loc Truong Photography)