DALLAS, TX – Non-profit ATG Against The Grain Productions hosted its annual charity event Fashion for a Passion No. 5 on Saturday, Oct. 12th at The Dallas Contemporary Museum in the Dallas Design District. The show was attended by 365 guests who helped to raise $35k, which will go toward for ATG’s supported orphanages in Asia, scholarship fund and year-round outreach programs.
Entering the Dallas Contemporary, guests got to enjoy the ambiance set by Lumiere Lighting & Drapery and music by DJs Super T, tasty bites by Royal Catering, sips by Ben E Keith and dessert by Sugarbee Sweets Bakery. Hung from the rafters with red rope hangers were the eight designers’ t-shirt design pieces. The work of eight Exhibiting Artists – Jody Pham,Trung Vuong, Kathy Tran, Cameron Lee Phan and ATG Artistic Scholarship winners DJ Wang, Grace Kwon, Xiaoye Jiang and Catherine ‘Kit’ Zauhar’s were displayed, flanked by tables of fabulous silent auction packages. Pre-show Musical Performers from ATG’s community partner Kollaboration Dallas included Kassy Levels, Mijee Park, J.O and Y.O!, as well as a special performance by ATG Artistic Scholarship winner Kendyl Ito. The show kicked off with a surprise ensemble performance. As guests took their seats, President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee, Community Outreach Directors Jared Rehberg and Hue Dao Miner and 2012 Artistic Scholarship winner Thoa Nguyen honored the two 2013 Artistic Scholarship winners who were present at the event, showing videos of gratitude from the ones who were unable to be present in person.
“It was a special, emotional and wonderful milestone night, and we could not have done it without the efforts of so many who were willing to devote the necessary money, time and talent to making this event happen,” said President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “It is no small feat that an organization like ours can continue to pull off an event of this caliber and magnitude consistently year after year. I’m tremendously proud of our team and sincerely grateful to all who have helped our cause.”
First time attendee and 2013 Kollaboration Dallas winner Kassy Levels gave it her all, staged a fantastic set and enjoyed every minute of FFAP. “It was definitely a classy event! The scene was an incredible display of art, talent and fashion,” said Levels. “I am proud to say I was part of FFAP No. 5 not just because of the event, but more importantly, the organization that directly benefits the event.”
Musical entertainers and exhibiting artists shared their love and support to ATG President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee and the Board for all their hard work to get FFAP where it is today.
Kendyl Ito expressed her thanks to ATG for recognizing her as a scholarship winner and musical performer. “Thanks so much ATG! It truly is an honor to be an Artistic Scholarship winner, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of the ATG community now. You all inspire me everyday and give me the extra push to continue in my artistic endeavors! Be bold and always live life ‘against the grain.’”
“As a musician and artist myself, I’ve done my fair share of performances. Still, FFAP was a more precious experience than most; in that it was an event supporting aspiring artists follow their dreams. I’ve never felt more blessed and honored to be part of an event,” performer Mijee Park said. “Seeing people come out to not only socialize but support so many different artists, communities and causes were amazing. It shows that ATG is being proactive which is something that we desperately need in this world, in order to better ourselves and do better onto others.”
Exhibiting Artist Kathy Tran attended the event and realized how much effort and opportunities ATG has provided for audience and volunteers to mingle. “I was exhilarated to be a part of the event with other artists of all forms. I had the opportunity to connect with quality people of the Asian community in Dallas…I was home!”
Returning designers expressed their appreciation to the show for helping getting them positive label exposure, as it has for FFAP success story Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh.
“Against The Grain’s FFAP was a successful event not only to help me launch my career as a designer, but also to spread support for education in Asian American communities and to provide funding for orphanages in Asia,” designer Danh Ta said. “This is why I chose to return and participate as a veteran designer. ATG has been a true inspiration pushing me to accomplish more as a designer while in turn helping to raise awareness for those who are less fortunate.”
Jerry Matthews of Nine Muses closed the show and said, “FFAP is always a highlight of the year for me. It’s so great to work with such passionate people while doing something we love and giving back to a great cause. The event itself was so fabulous, it seems like ATG somehow make every year a unique experience that is way different than their previous shows. I can’t wait for next year.”
First time presenting designers expressed humble gratitude for being selected to showcase their work for Fashion for a Passion and awe at the show’s production value.
Becky Hollands has been eager to participate in her first Fashion for a Passion and has made the goal to return again in the future. “This year marked my first year and I am so grateful and honored for the opportunity to chase my dream and in doing so, utilizing my time and talent to celebrate the Asian American community alongside artists and musicians to promote opportunities for scholarships, funds and raise money for orphanages in Asia. ATG has given me the opportunity, the voice and the extra push in taking the plunge to pursue my dream as a fashion designer and launching my own label.”
“ATG put together a great pack of designers,” said Vera Wang. “All the designs were strong and refreshing…Viviona Swimwear is proud to be part of it.”
Each presenting designer donated at least 2 pieces to be auctioned for charity live. Additional auction pieces were given by FFAP veteran Nha Khanh, Dora Yim, Ann Hoang by Ann Hoang, Le Dragon d’Or and Watters. The night’s top bids were for a black racer back wool peplum top with embellishments and black wool flared pant by Nha Khanh, a 18K White Gold with Diamonds “Handcuff Necklace” from The Bound Collection by Le Dragon d’Or and a “Vega” ivory textured organza wedding gown by Watters.
The non-profit will launch a $10k social media holiday fundraising campaign starting November 1st, to help reach its annual goal and a record of $50k raised in one year, 100% of which will go towards the next year’s giving budget for orphanage aid, scholarship funds and outreach programs.
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 www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com or www.TheBabylift.com.
Fashion for a Passion : a show entering it’s 5th year as a supportive venue for young Asian-American artists, musicians and fashion designers. Hosted by Against the Grain Productions, the show features a diverse group of artists of Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Filipino and Japanese descent. On October 12thin the Dallas Contemporary in the Dallas Design District, a carefully selected group of fashion designers, artists, and musicians showed off their work, including local vocalist Kassy Levels and fashion designer Nikki Duong Koenig (Cykochik). Though musicians such as Mijee Park, and Kendyl performed for the audience, fashion design lead the show.
The idea of creative fusion sparked younger Asian American who participated in the show. Designers featured were Vera Wang (Viviona), Kim Pham, Becky Hollands, Danh Ta, Jerry Matthews (Nine Muses), Cac Lam (Cac Demode) and Hanh Dang (Lucy Dang). Among the designs were a line of beautiful, sexy and edgy skirts by Nine Muses, which focuses on sophistication for women’s clothing. Some Fashion for Passion attendees were lucky enough to take home designer dresses by the FFAP designers. One woman took home a wild, leopard print dress by Ann Hoang.
But Fashion for a Passion is not just about promoting artists. The profits made from the show go toward Asian orphanages , non-profit organizations and scholarships
Through past funds, Fashion for a Passion was able to award five artistic scholarships to students who pursued the fields of fashion, music, and Contemporary Art Saturday night. Among the recipients was Catherine ‘Kit’ Zauhar , a film and television production major from New York University.
”I’m really excited to be going to Fashion for a Passion, because I am obsessed with all things fashion, and this will be my first time getting to go to such an event,” Said Zauhar.
Other recipients were Kendyl Ito (Sacramento, CA), Catherine “Kit” Zauhar (Philadelphia, PA), Grace Kwon (Tigard, OR), Dih Jiun “DJ” Wang (Virginia Beach, VA), and Xiaoye Jiang (Minneapolis, MN).
Overall, the 2013 Fashion For A Passion show raised awareness and money for orphanages in Asia and provided a safe haven for the young and upcoming generations of Asian American artists to express themselves.
“Each year, Fashion for a Passion is painstakingly planned down to the finest details in an effort to create a quality platform that promotes a new generation of young and exciting Asian American artists and to bring the community together.” said Tammy Nguyen Lee, the President and Founder of ATG.
For more information about Against the Grain Productions, visit http://againstthegrainproductions.com
Against The Grain Productions’ annual Fashion For A Passion show is truly one of my favorite Dallas events. And it’s not just because of the clothes.
Last Saturday, October 12th, marked the fifth year for this popular charity show, held once again at the Dallas Contemporary. Against The Grain (ATG) is a non-profit organization dedicated to educational and outreach programs within the Asian American community, as well as raising funds for orphanages in Asia. Fashion For A Passion is its most popular event, bringing together designers, musicians, food, and artists for a memorable evening. Click here for my coverage of Fashion For A Passion 2012.
This year, ATG rounded up an impressive roster of eight local Asian American designers. They included Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang, Texas Next Top Designer 2013 and winner of Belk’s Southern Designer Showcase, as well as Jerry Matthews of DFW Style Daily favorite, Nine Muses. In addition to showcasing looks from their lines on the runway, each designer donated at least two garments to be auctioned live during the show.
True, the clothes were simply incredible. But the aspect of this community event that is even more important to remember is that ATG is 100% non-profit. The nearly $100,000 they have raised to date through this effort has been utilized in its entirety to further its cause. No one, from the production team to the models to ATG’s board members, is paid. Each donates his or her time and talents, and the result is one hell of a production.
Over the years, I’ve come to know most everyone involved in Fashion For A Passion. Tammy Nguyen Lee, ATG President and Founder, is one of the kindest, most hardworking individuals you could ever hope to meet. Beautiful actress and model LeeAnne Locken has emceed the event for past four years, bringing her signature brand of excitement and fun. The designers, again donating their time and beloved creations, continue to impress and inspire. These are my friends, and I’m proud of them. I love this event because of what it stands for. It isn’t about segregating our community, but about bringing us together so that we can be proud of our neighbors and share in their successes.
All photos, credit Heather Lettieri for DFW Style Daily.
DALLAS, TX – From swimwear to handbags and high-end women’s apparel, eight Asian American designers will present an array of unique collections at the 5th Annual Against The Grain Productions Fashion for Passion charity event. The calendar will say it’s fall, but the designers have each used inspiration and imagination to create wondrous collections for the event, which takes place from 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm on Saturday October 12, 2013 at the Dallas Contemporary in the Dallas Design District. The event features a runway show, musical entertainment, an art exhibit, live/silent auction and tasty bites and sips — all to benefit ATG’s supported orphanages, outreach programs and scholarship fund.
President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee is thrilled to host yet another show. “Each year, so much hard work and dedication goes into the meticulous planning of this event. Our team of volunteers is committed to creating a great evening that brings the community together to showcase incredible Asian American talent and gives them a platform to share their unique vision and voice. It’ll be an unforgettable night for Dallas and for the arts!”
Whether it’s from a veteran or a newbie presenting designer, there is a lot more to expect from this year’s line-up. All based in Texas, each designer shows true passion and spirit when they were asked what they are planning to present at Fashion for a Passion No. 5.
Nikki Duong Koenig | Cykochik Custom Handbags
2013 started out wonderfully for two-time Fashion for a Passion veteran (and ATG’s Vice President) Nikki Duong Koenig. She shared her overall goal at the beginning the year…to be able to fully launch Cykochik full-time and her dream has come true. After successfully raising a $10,000 goal via Kickstarter, she said, “I’m thrilled to celebrate Cykochik’s 10 Year Anniversary at ATG’s 5th Fashion for a Passion! I believe that everything in life has a cycle, and I’ve come full circle since presenting in 2010,” Nikki said. “My hope for us is to achieve another milestone in fundraising, so that we’re able to contribute more to our causes.”
Vera Wang | Viviona
This is Vera Wang’s first year as a part of Fashion for a Passion, and she’s also the show’s first ever presenting swimwear designer. Both she and ATG are anxious as to what the audience response will be to her collaboration with an architecture firm. Said Vera, “I strongly believe it will be a very positive experience showing with all the talented designers and hopefully, we will be able to follow the footsteps of the presenters in the past seasons.”
From having a youthful curiosity to a mature mentality, Kim Pham returns to Fashion for a Passion now as a woman who feels her aesthetic has evolved since she presented at FFAP at the tender age of 17 when she was a senior at North Garland High School. Now 21 and a decorated graduate of UNT’s school of fashion and design, Kim said, “I’ve grown up, and I’ve thought more about the business side of fashion and thinking about how it’s marketable. I’m gearing more toward ready-to-wear, unique but more marketable pieces.” Her collection will show an Aztec influence, using gold jewelry, as well as maroon, dark brown and black colors. Additionally, fur and alligator are among the varying textures she will incorporate into her clothes.
One source of inspiration for Becky Hollands’ work right now is the theme “Diamond in the Rough.” She hopes to “really take texture and the colors and facets of rough diamonds to my collection.” With a Cantonese mother and European father, Hollands said her biracial background has really affected her perspective on everything, and in some cases, extreme perspectives. Becky described her current work as “Overall, really just playing with movement and space with the composition of my pieces.”
“What will be different this year is the anticipation,” Danh Ta said. Presenting for another year in a row, Danh will unveil his Spring/Summer 2014 collection. Danh said, “My work is [inspired by] Elizabeth Taylor’s movie, Cleopatra. [I have] taken her iconic role as an Egyptian queen to embody strength and beauty into my next collection.”
Jerry Matthews | Nine Muses
“Last season, fall was the seductress,” Jerry Matthew said. “This season for spring, she is flirtatious,” he explained when discussing how he will showcase both seasons at the event. He returns to FFAP for a second time, although now with the new label Nine Muses, created with co-designer Francesca Viamonte. The label name is a nod to the story about the Goddess of Clarity and how she gave birth to nine muses. Each season, the designers have nine sources of inspiration; Fall 2013 includes strong women of film and pop culture, while Spring 2014 was heavily influenced by supermodels.
Cac Lam | Cac DeMode
Fashion for a Passion always seems to include a graduate from the illustrious The Art Institute of Dallas, and this year we give you Cac DeMode Designs. Based in New York, but living in Texas, Cac’s designs are like her – inspired by the fashion forward, romanticism, femininity, individuality, Eastern and Western designs. There’s no other way to describe it (or her) — eclectic and eccentric.
Hanh Dang | Lucy Dang
They say third time’s a charm, and for Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang, the third time is just as memorable as the others. From watching Hanh Dang grow from a fledgeling designer to being named Texas’ Next Top Designer to winning a $10 million contract with Belk, audience members can truly see what she is made of when she follows her heart. “The first time that I showed, we were emerging, and the second year, we were emerging, but this time around, I feel like we’ve emerged…It feels great to be a veteran,” Hanh said.
Tickets to Fashion for a Passion range from $50 to $100 and go on sale exclusively online starting Thursday, September 12th at the FFAP Event Page.
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 annual scholarships to exemplary Asian American student leaders and those 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 www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com or www.TheBabylift.com.
DALLAS, TX – Against The Grain Productions recently selected eight emerging designers to join their elite roster of Presenting Designers at their upcoming and wildly popular charity event, Fashion for a Passion. Now in its fifth year, the evening that brings together a bevy of Asian American artists has become known not only as as a celebration of up and coming talent, but also a springboard for careers. Past FFAP alum include Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh, who started with the event four years ago and has since gone onto be featured in Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang who recently won the title of Texas Next Top Designer, and Project Runway Season 2 winner Chloe Dao.
Fashion for a Passion will take place on Saturday, October 12th at the Dallas Contemporary, located at 161 Glass Street in the Dallas Design District. This year’s roster includes an eclectic and diverse group that is sure to entertain and inspire. Said Tammy Nguyen Lee, ATG President/Founder, “Each year, Fashion for a Passion is painstakingly planned down to the finest details in an effort to create a quality platform that promotes a new generation of young and exciting Asian American artists and to bring the community together. This year promises to deliver yet another memorable evening. We can’t wait to share this talent with the audience and raise money and awareness for ATG’s orphanages, scholarship funds and outreach programs.”
Introducing the 2013 FFAP Presenting Designers:
NIKKI DUONG KOENIG | CYKOCHIK CUSTOM HANDBAGS
2013 marks Cykochik’s 10Year Anniversary! Cykochik Custom Handbags was first conceived in the small Southern Methodist University dorm room of Vietnamese American designer Nikki Duong Koenig in 2003. While living in Dallas and working on her BA in Advertising and Art at SMU, Nikki naturally combined her passion for art, fashion, and design to produce an innovative line of custom-made and eco-friendly vegan handbags featuring meticulous reverse appliqué designs proudly handmade in Dallas. Upon graduation in 2005, Nikki jetted off to New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). There, she honed her design and business skills in their CEO program on nights and weekends while working full time as an advertising art director at global advertising agencies.
In 2013, after a decade of growing her business part time, 30 year-old Nikki took the leap to pursue her passion full time. She’d successfully raised more than her $10,000 goal in 30 days to produce Cykochik’s Artist Series 3 :: 10 Year Anniversary Collection, on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. With the tremendous support from Cykochik’s fans, her friends and family, Nikki made the decision to leave the marketing world to grow her vision for Cykochik’s creative community of artists, artisans and art patrons worldwide in creating fun, custom, well-made, socially responsible and eco-friendly handbags and accessories.
Cykochik is a proud member of PETA Business Friends and supports the arts through the MAC – McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Art Love Magic, ArtCon, ATG Against The Grain Productions, and other local nonprofit organizations.
Design Inspiration: Much of Nikki’s fun, unique, and vibrant aesthetic is drawn from her travels, experiences living in Vietnam, Dallas, and NYC and her love for art, photography and nature.
What does it mean to go Against The Grain: “It’s a state-of-mind, being able to trust/follow my instincts and not second-guessing myself despite external obstacles or influences.”
“It is an honor to be a returning presenting designer at FFAP, especially for the 5th Anniversary! In showing my 10 Year Anniversary Collection and sharing my story, I hope to inspire other artists/designers to also be bold and pursue their dreams, because it’s never too late. I also hope to raise more awareness for ATG’s cause and funding to help supported orphanages and future Asian American artists and leaders.”
VERA WANG | VIVIONA
Vera Wang is a self proclaimed geek. Born and raised in China, she graduated with a degree in English Language and Literature. Vera has always been passionate about high technology and how technology can impact day-to-day lives. So she didn’t hesitate to pick Computer Science as a major when she moved to the United Stated 13 years ago and went to UNT to pursue her Masters.
Vera is passionate about fashion. She fell in love with it when she laid eyes on Vogue for the very first time when she was a kid. In 2007, Vera got in touch with a jewelry designer who she helped private label a pair of earring designs. This eventually led to the launch of Viviona in 2007, an elite private label service company.
Vera currently serves as the CEO of Viviona, providing A to Z services to individuals who want to launch their fashion or beauty line. Viviona has always been enthusiastic about helping new uprising designers. Her creativity and her passion for fashion combined with her geeky side lead to the Grouposh.com site, a crowdfunding platform that Viviona sponsored aiming to help designers to collect funding through pre-launching some of their featured designs.
What does it mean to go Against The Grain: “Helping build better communities.”
“As a minority myself and Asian in whole as minorities, we need to work together to bring community awareness and voice together as a unity. I am very excited to be chosen as one of the presenters. Fashion for a Passion has becoming one of the few up-scale fashion shows in Dallas.”
Kim Pham, 21 years old, graduated from The University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, a minor in Business Administration in Marketing and Electronic Commerce. She continued to foster her creative passion throughout her academic years, while winning many national and international awards.
Design inspiration: Kim’s design philosophy is to empower women with confidence through enhancing their beautiful curves. Her designs blend together an eclectic style, a mixture of bold and elegance combined with a contemporary sophistication. She strives to create chic and effortless clothing for the modern woman – always on the go and is not afraid to make her presence felt. She takes pride in her meticulous attention to detail; fine craftsmanship is apparent in every garment she creates. She embraces her keen understanding of the business world, creating designs that are both marketable and affordable for all types of women.
Honors/Awards: Her most recognized achievement is being chosen to represent the United Sates in the International Fur Remix Competition held in Milan, Italy. The competition, sponsored by the International Fur Trade Federation, provided her the opportunity to work with leaders in the fur industry like Dennis Basso and The North American Fur Auction (NAFA). She was later personally invited by NAFA to visit the company’s head quarter in Toronto, Canada, where she met with the executives of NAFA and received hands on training on designing with fur and luxury apparel. Kim later received the Best of Show Grand Prize at the prestigious Fashion Group International’s Competition against students across 44 universities from the US. The prize – an internship in France – allowed her to study Parisian haute couture with the renowned Paris American Academy.
What does it mean to go Against The Grain: “’Expect the unexpected, be the unexpected.’” It means to conquer your dreams and be prepared to make the best of what life throws at you, and furthermore, to be the extraordinary and inspiration for change in the world.”
“It is an honor for me to be chosen to return to FFAP as a presenting designer. I am very grateful to have been with ATG since the very first FFAP. It has been a long and memorable journey. Watching FFAP grow and transform into what it is now has been a surreal experience. In the very first FFAP, I was merely seventeen – young and innocent. The experience was a raw expression of my youthful creativity and it has opened my eyes to many possibilities for my career. It allowed me an invaluable experience and opportunities to network with professionals that I still have close bonds with until this day.
Now, as a graduate and professional, my design aesthetics has matured. My time spent studying fashion and business has transformed me into a designer and entrepreneur that I am today. I design for the modern day woman with an eclectic style, a mixture of bold and elegance combined with a contemporary sophistication. I embrace my understanding of the business world, creating designs that are both marketable and affordable for all types of women.
I hope my continued participation with ATG will allow me exposure and support for my budding career. It makes me feel great to be a part of such a great cause and use my talent to benefit the community as a whole.”
Though born in the United States, Becky Hollands was brought back to Hong Kong as an infant and grew up in the then British Colony. Her mother of Chinese descent and father of British descent have both been very influential in her life. Becky’s aesthetic focuses on finding balance in extreme detail and free form drapery just like finding balance in her eastern and western bi-cultural upbringing. Becky concentrates on detailed techniques with contemporary elements in the goal of giving her designs a note of “effortlessness.”
Becky and her family moved back to the United States and resided in Houston, TX where she finished her primary and secondary school education. She had always grown up wearing uniforms both in Hong Kong and Houston, and her fascination with fashion grew to styling outfits for “free dress” days, flipping though pages of magazines and borrowing pieces from her mother’s closet.
Becky received her Bachelor of Science degree in Apparel Design and Manufacturing and minors in Art, Portuguese, and Mandarin from Texas Tech University. After being in the Merchandising/Sales world for the past two years, Becky, at age 28, is ready to embark for dream of developing her brand.
Design inspiration: Her inspiration comes from her family, different cultures, architecture and her surroundings. Her designs represent elegance and effortlessness in a contemporary and versatile way. Utilization of form and movement are prevalent in her work.
Honors/Awards: She was greatly involved as Representative in Dean’s Leadership Council, Fashion Group International competitions and received the Glenna Goodacre Scholarship for Creativity.
What does it mean to go Against The Grain:“Having an indomitable spirit. I have learned having an indomitable spirit in everything I do impels me to take action whether it may be a lifelong dream, my outlook on things, or the perseverance I endure through my everyday challenges. Increasing this indomitable spirit that that has compelled me to trust my instincts, believe in myself, do the best I can in anything I pursue and continue in the path and passions I have chosen.”
“I am so honored ATG has extended this opportunity for me to present at FFAP. I hope to represent my community, inspire others through my work, and support the arts and raise awareness while representing ATG.”
Danh Ta is a 29 year-old Vietnamese designer born in Thailand to a tailor & painter. His family immigrated to the United States & settled in Oklahoma. Being raised by parents compelled to use their artistic talents to make ends meet, the importance of creativity in life wash instilled in him at an early age.
Upon graduating high school, Danh enrolled in the fashion program at the Art Institute of Dallas in 2003. During his studies, his existing love for art & fashion flourished. He cultivated his talent for re-conceptualizing the dress and debuted his first collection for Fall/Winter 2008.
Throughout his fashion journey, from local fashion shows & now with his debut of his Spring/Summer 2014 RTW collection at San Diego Fashion Week this Fall, his designs have become recognized for their bold contemporary detailing. The Danh Ta collection has become the epitome of sensuous & chic designs, which are elegantly constructed for the modern day woman that can take her from day to night.
Design inspiration: Sensuous, chic aesthetics, custom sewn by hand, attention to detail inspired by minimalism/simplicity
What does it mean to go Against The Grain: “It means everything; it’s the ability and will to do anything.”
“To be chosen again for this year’s FFAP makes me a veteran. I’m honored to showcase my latest Spring/Summer 2014 RTW collection, inspired by Elizabeth Taylor’s movie Cleopatra. I hope to spread my brand vision in Dallas, Oklahoma City, San Diego and Los Angeles.”
CAC LAM | CAC DEMODE
Cac Lam is the 26 year-old Vietnamese designer and seamstress behind Cac Demode Designs. She is a graduate of The Art Institute of Dallas and interned in Milan, Italy. Cac’s inspiration draws from the mix of Eastern and Western designs. Her design aesthetic combines romanticism, fashion forward, and ultimately expresses feminity, individuality and choice. Cac Lam is based in New York City.
Design inspiration: Fashion forward, romanticism, femininity, individuality, Eastern and Western designs
What does it mean to go Against The Grain: “Believing in your ideas, creations and defending them to the end; even if they are contrary to society’s expectations. I believe going against the norm introduces hardships that need to be overcome. One could gain from the experiences and challenging the standard way for creating new paths. It motivates others to really think about the situations and what they believe in, not just take sides based on the popularity of opinions or ideas; making our world more colorful and full of modern inventions.”
“I am very honored to be chosen to showcase once again this year in Fashion For Passion. I had an amazing time in these past years at the event. I am very excited to have another opportunity to help raise money for the Vietnamese orphanage. This year I am hoping to raise more than what we had achieved last year.”
HANH DANG | LUCY DANG
Hanh Dang, the a 30 year-old Vietnamese designer behind label Lucy Dang, is based in Dallas has received much esteem since launching in 2011. Her passion and skills were cultivated at the University of North Texas’ College of Visual Arts and Design, where she earned a BFA in Fashion Design. During her time in New York City, she worked with renowned brands such as Nicole Miller, Rebecca Taylor, Kai Kuhne and Dillard’s Inc. Lucy was particularly inspired by Rebecca Taylor and her business partner Elizabeth Bugdaycay because of their success in fashion. She and her own business partner, Blanca Renteria, aspires to be like them.
Design inspiration: Lucy Dang’s designs are inspired by growing up in the South, and the idea of reverie to another era. Her girly, wistful and elegant designs reflect her own lifestyle.
Honors/Awards: Winner of 2013 Texas Next Top Designer and Southern Living Magazine’s “New Southern Icon”
What does it mean to go Against The Grain: “Stepping back from what is easy. Success is not easy. Giving to others and sacrificing your time, energy and money is not easy. All the good that was ever achieved in this world was won, by going against the grain.”
“This year will be my third time showing at Fashion for a Passion and I am hoping that we break all fundraising records again. Personally I am beyond thrilled and deeply honored that I can be a part of this amazing charity that does so much good.”
JERRY MATTHEWS | NINE MUSES
Jerry Matthews is a 22 yr old (23 in August) Filipino/Caucasian(Polish) creative director/ designer of a Dallas-based women’s luxury label Nine Muses. Jerry attended the Art Institute of Dallas. His clean and sophisticated aesthetic draws from his inspiration in music and in strong women in history and even in fiction.
Design inspiration: Clean, simple, sophisticated, tailored, women’s luxury clothing that’s progressive and edgy. Each season, the collection is inspired by nine muses. For the Nine Muses Fall 2013 collection, the muses included Lana Del Rey, Brigitte Bardot, Earth Kitt, Bonnie Parker, Jessica Rabbit, Catwoman, etc. “My inspiration in life is constantly changing. I am a combined effort of everybody/everything I’ve ever known.”
Honors/Awards: First Place in the 2008 Art Institute of Dallas’ “National Fashion Design Scholarship Competition” and “Outstanding Graduate in Fashion Design” in March of 2012
What does it mean to go Against The Grain: “Pursuing something that you truly feel passionate about despite it being out of the ordinary or what’s expected of you. I think that the title is perfect for this charity because everyone involved is so passionate about this cause, and it’s awesome to see that and to be apart of it.”
“It really means a lot to be chosen. I remember attending one of the first FFAP events as a student, and I really wanted to one day be apart of it, and now I am. It is my second year now, and it is by far my favorite event in Dallas, because everyone is so passionate and lovely. The event is always so spectacular and everyone is so supportive. I can’t wait to see how ATG makes it even bigger and better this year. Also, it’s so great to do something I love, while giving back to an amazing cause.”
This year’s show will be emceed by two of Dallas’ most talented and beautiful public figures — LeeAnne Locken, an actress/spokesperson and regular fashionista on the social scene. She will be joined by Elizabeth Dinh, a reporter for KTVT CBS 11, former Miss Asian American Texas and a Board member of Against The Grain Productions.
Event tickets range from $50 for General Admission, $75-$100 for VIP/Reserved and will go on sale in September. Visit www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/events for more information. Sponsorship opportunities are available by emailing Fundraising@AgainstTheGrainProductions.com.
Watch the 2012 Fashion for a Passion Highlight video:
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 hosting outreach events, it also awards an annual scholarship to exemplary Asian American student artists and leaders. ATG 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 www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com or www.TheBabylift.com.
We love handbag designer Nikki Duong Koenig for her creativity in not only her work, but the process and thought behind how she does it. We are thrilled to get to premiere her latest collection at this year’s upcoming Fashion for a Passion!
Cykochik Custom-Handbags was first conceived in Nikki’s small Southern Methodist University dorm room. While living in Dallas and working on her BA in Advertising and Fine Art, she naturally combined her passion for fashion and art to produce an innovative line of custom handbags.
With Cykochik earning its position as a booming handbag label, Nikki then jetted off to New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). While there, she was able to hone her design and business skills in the CEO program.
Much of Nikki’s vibrant aesthetic is drawn from her experiences in NYC, photography, art, nature and her Vietnamese heritage. When it comes to fashion, she follows her own instincts instead of trends, since styles/trends are in a constant state of reinvention. As is everything in life, hence the “cycle” in the name Cykochik.
Nikki is a fervent believer in individualism and the freedom to express it, without endangering others in the process. She works only with animal & eco-friendly vinyls and is dedicated to quality craftsmanship, creativity and customization.
Nikki Duong Koenig
What does it mean for you to “Go Against The Grain?”
It’s a state-of-mind, being able to trust/follow my instincts and not second-guessing myself despite external obstacles or influences. We should all “Go Against the Grain,” so that there is no grain to have to go against.
What made you decide to pursue a career in the fashion/handbag industry?
Like most designers, I was immersed in fashion and creativity growing up. So it was both nature and nurture that brought me into two very creative industries, fashion and advertising. The latter was a conscious decision to study at SMU, while handbag designing occurred more organically as I was pursuing a career in advertising.
What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in a very competitive industry?
I try to look at challenges as opportunities to learn valuable lessons and grow. It’s something I face two-folds as an Asian American woman in the very competitive fashion and advertising industries. I guess I share the same blessing/curse as most Asian American women in looking much younger than they really are. So it’s a minor challenge to get the initial respect I need in a corporate setting, but I’ve learned to establish/prove my experience very early on.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?
Getting to do what I love and being able to support myself and others while doing it.
What do you hope to achieve?
I hope to inspire others and to make a positive impact with my art/designs.
Who inspires you?
My family. Their strength and courage in leaving Vietnam to brave a whole new world is a constant inspiration for me to pursue my dreams.
What is the most important lesson/advice you would give?
“Just Do It” like Nike, because nothing will happen unless you start it.
What’s up next?
Working with six amazing artists on the second Artist Series Collection, which will be debuting at Fashion For A Passion Sept. 25th!