2012 Fashion for Passion Designer Line-up Announced

DALLAS, TX – Dallas-based non-profit ATG Against The Grain Productions will host their 4th annual Fashion for a Passion charity event, a fundraiser that brings together the talents of emerging Asian American fashion designers, artists and musicicans. The event will take place at the Dallas Contemporary Museum in the Dallas Design District from 6:30 pm – 10 pm on Saturday, October 13th.

This year’s line-up of seven designers includes Lizzi Cook of Lizzi London, Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang, Joanne Hong of JOLYNN,  Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh, Jerry Matthews, Danh Ta and NYC based textile designer Sophia Wu. In addition to getting a first look at some of the designers’ latest creations, audience members will also get to bid on select pieces that will be on live auction. The funds raised go toward ATG’s supported orphanages in Asia, community outreach programs and scholarships.

President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee is excited to announce this stellar group. “Each year gets better, and this year is no exception. We are proud to bring together another talented bunch of designers who are not only passionate about their craft but also in giving back to the community. This speaks volumes for what this event has become – it’s not only a showcase for incredible work, but also an opportunity to make a difference. We are also so thrilled to get to share this experience at the Dallas Contemporary, which is a perfect backdrop.”


Lizzi Cook (formerly Lizzi Tran) is the young fashion designer behind Lizzi London. Born in Vietnam as the third youngest child of eight children, she was later raised in London, England. Cook said, “I am truly honored…to showcase once again at FFAP as a fashion designer. I believe in life that it is essential to always give back to the community. A reminder of what it is important in life as we individuals sometimes get so caught up with our daily routines, we forget to appreciate what truly matters. To understand and know your past helps you determine where you want to go with your future.” She was inspired by her parents and the struggles they face. Cook continued, “I hope to inspire others to do what they love and never give up there dreams. It’s a truly rewarding feeling to be able to help others, and to see smiles on people’s faces is to know you can make a change in the world.”

Another returning designer is Hanh Dang who created the label Lucy Dang.  Said Dang, “I have always wanted to be part of an organization that does this much good, and I am glad this year I can still contribute to FFAP. Returning feels full circle, our label had an amazing year since the debut, and I wanted to continue giving because we have been so blessed. As independent artists, we might not make such a big impact; coming together, we are bigger than the sum of our parts.”

2011 FFAP Presenting Designers

Dallas design star Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh has participated in Fashion for a Passion since the event’s inception and credits it for being a launchpad for her skyrocketing career. A graduate of UNT who trained in Paris under iconic fashion masters, Nguyen has become a FFAP success story. Her collection was recently featured at Stanley Korshak and her designs have graced the figures of Hollywood celebrities such as Brooklyn Decker, Giuliana Ranic and Kim Kardashian. Said Nguyen, “It is an honor to be a part of Fashion for a Passion once again this year. It’s an amazing event to participate in with other creative minds within the industry.” 

This year’s event will also showcase the talents of new designers. Jerry Matthews is a recent graduate from the Art Institute of Dallas. Said Matthews, “I always try to help others in need whenever possible, and through FFAP, I’m able to do what I love while donating to such a great cause. Through being involved with this specific charity event, it’s opened my mind to the possibilities of how people can come together to show support. If I could help make people more aware of Asian talent and this particular world issue, then I think I have made good use of my voice as an Asian American designer.”

Taiwanese designer Joanne Hong of JOLYNN will be the first FFAP Presenting Designer to also present a children’s wear collection. Originally from Stillwater, Oklahoma, Hong said, “I’m so honored to be involved in FFAP.  To be able to share my passion while helping out others in need is one of the most gratifying feelings to me. By participating in this event, I hope to inspire and motivate others to follow their dreams and to open their eyes to the amazing world of fashion.”

Danh Ta is another designer new to the FFAP event. Born in Thailand and another graduate of the Art Institute of Dallas, Ta said, “It’s an honor to be a Presenting Designer for FFAP, because I have the opportunity to showcase my talent with a charity that’s making a difference. The idea of helping one another with our passion to reach a common goal is inspiring. I hope to establish a name for myself as a prominent designer.”

New York based designer Sophia Wu rounds out the line-up with a unique perspective and experience in textiles. Said Wu, “ATG not only provides a platform for new artists and designers, it gives us an opportunity to be aware of events happening around the world today, such as what is going on with orphanages in Asia.  I’m grateful to be able to invest my time and energy to support this fundraising, and I hope that through this event we can encourage more people to recognize the problem of lost kids around the world.”

Tickets to Fashion for a Passion range from $50 to $100 and will be on sale online starting early September at the FFAP Event Page. 

For more press/media information on the event, please contact pr@againstthegrainproductions.com. For sponsorship information, please contact fundraising@againstthegrainproductions.com or download the 2012 ATG Sponsorship Packet (PDF)

2012 Fashion for a Passion Presenting Designers



Lizzi London Collection

Age: 27

Ethnicity: Vietnamese

Where did you study/train:  University Art – London College of Fashion

Describe your style/aesthetic/inspiration:

My childhood passion for abstract art, influence by Salvador Dali and fashion designer John Galliano, led my desire to observe visuals, manipulate materials and mold on bodies as an alternative to blank canvases and flat drawing.

The Lizzi London Spring/Summer 2013 collection continues to explore the vibrancy and seduction of ancient natural form rocks with all of its physical beauty and it’s long lasting influence on civilization leaving an empowerment of foot prints. My design collection features a diversity array of chic ready to wear, cocktail, formal and Avant Guarde. The inspiration of art truly lies within a women’s necessity to accent her beauty from inside and out. From the vivid lines to the easy fluidity of relax silhouettes, this season’s collection is also punctuated with structures: carefully engineered cuts and volumes, dramatic details and texture prints. The color palette of peppermint greens, bold coral salmon with a balance of neutral grey.

How did you go choosing your field:

I always loved art and architecture, later found my inspiration of fashion designs while attending college in Richmond upon Thames in England.


Lizzi graduated from the University of the Fine Arts in London College of Fashion, obtaining a Higher National Diploma in Pattern cutting degree in 2005 at the age of 20. She quickly established a fashion portfolio thereafter in 2003 and eventually secured a highly coveted slot in the 2005 London Fashion week assisting Designer Customer’s Own Property. Her work has been showcased in numerous fashion shows and magazines.

What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you?

“It’s a huge non-profit organization with participation from all different ethnicities and different ages who care to give back to the community and help those in the third world counties who are less fortunate than us. A chance of reflection to realize the important of making a different in the world.”

Hanh Dang | LUCY DANG

Lucy Dang Collection

Age: 29

Ethnicity: Vietnamese

Where did you study/train: BFA from University of North Texas; worked in New York City at Rebecca Taylor and Nicole Miller

Describe your style/aesthetic/inspiration:  As a brand, we aspire to create designs that embody a woman’s inner loveliness as well as her outer lovely appearance. Our hope is that our clothes inspire women to live in loveliness each and everyday of their lives. Lucy Dang can be best described at times as beautiful, light-hearted, whimsical even, but when worn only one word remains, lovely.

How did you go choosing your field:  After earning a degree in fashion at the University of North Texas, I embarked on a career in the fashion industry and trained at various notable clothing companies and establishments in New York, such as Rebecca Taylor, Kai Kuhne and Nicole Miller. In the spring of 2011, I retraced my steps back to Texas to start my own company.


Fashion Group International Houston February 2008 (2nd place in Evening Wear), Texas Natural Fibers Dallas April 2007 (Best of Show at Dallas Career Day), F.G.I. Project Career Day Houston February 2007 (1st place for RTW Collection)

What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you?

“In order to make a difference in this world, one must be willing to go against the flow of what everyone else is doing. Going against the grain means leading a new direction and following your own convictions.  Here at Lucy Dang, we don’t go with the grain, we like to cut on the bias.”

Joanne Hong | JOLYNN

Joanne Hong Collection

Age: 28

Ethnicity: Taiwanese

Where did you study/train: Oklahoma State University

Describe your style/aesthetic/inspiration:

JOLYNN by Joanne Hong is a line that is feminine, romantic, and sophisticated.  The collection can be worn either as a staple or a statement piece.  In Jolynn, a woman can go from office, to events, to nightlife feeling confident and looking effortlessly chic. My inspiration is NYC. From the fashion I see walking around the city to the fabrics and textures I see in the fabric stores.  All the energy and excitement of the city inspires me to design and create beautiful clothes for women all around the world to wear.

How did you go choosing your field:

I didn’t always know that I wanted to be in fashion. When I first started college, I thought it would be fun to be a buyer, because I loved shopping.  But when I would shop, there would always be something missing or a detail that I wanted to change on the garment. I soon decided that it would be more interesting to actually design and create the clothes.  When I took my first sewing class, everything fell into place.


Picked as 1 of 16 emerging designers to showcase their line at Launch Pad at WWDMagic in Las Vegas Feb 2012. Blog on ElleGirl.com: Behind the Seams following my life as an emerging designer.

What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you?

“Going against the grain means that we are standing up to fight against hunger and other needs all over the world. It only takes one small step in the right direction to make a big difference in someone’s life.”

Jerry Matthews

Jerry Matthews Collection

Age: 21

Ethnicity: Filipino/Caucasian

Where did you study/train: Art Institute of Dallas

Describe your style/aesthetic/inspiration:

I always design with simplicity and luxury in mind. I tend to always think “the highest form of complexity is the severest form of simplicity.”

How did you go about choosing this field:

I’ve always wanted to be involved in designing since I was a child, I was inspired my fashionable mother at a early age. I would always go shopping with her when my family was based in Tokyo.


1st place winner (2008 National Art institute of Dallas’ fashion design scholarship competition), 2012 Art institute of Dallas’ Outstanding Graduate in Fashion Design Award

What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you?

“For me, going against the grain means to pursue your dreams and what you feel is right instead of pursuing what’s expected of you.”

Khanh Nguyen | NHA KHANH

Nha Khanh Collection

Age: 31

Ethnicity: Vietnamese

Where did you study/train:

University of North Texas, haute couture techniques under Nina Ricci, draping methods of Madame Gres, millinery skills from Jean Paul Gaultier and crafting of handbags and accessories from Anne Valerie Hash

Describe your style/aesthetic/inspiration: 

Fashion is a form of art in term of self-expression.  Everything I design, from the intricate details to the finished garment, tells a story.  I want my designs to bring out the joy and femininity of a woman.  I design to uplift their spirit and allow them to dream and escape.  The concept of opposites attract is simple and creates a balance of unison. Nha is a feminine word meaning light and delightful while Khanh is more masculine meaning success and victory. Fuse those words together, and both worlds collide leaving behind the perfect semblance of harmony. That is the foundation for the Nha Khanh label.

How did you go choosing your field:

Born in Vietnam and raised in Texas, I am a third generation fashion designer who grew up surrounded by art and fashion.  Having a father as a talented artist and a mother that was a former bridal designer, creativity and art was encouraged throughout my life.  At the age of 5, I became fascinated with apparel and started making dresses for my dolls, thus learning and picking up the design process early on.


Most Creative Designer Award at the UNT ArtWear Fashion Design Competition, 1st PLACE for Best of Show of FGI of Houston Career Day Design Competition and the coveted, Top Achievement Award for Fashion Group International of Dallas Career Day Design Competition, named “Style Setter You Need to Know” (D Magazine 2009)

What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you? 

“Against The Grain Productions not only allowed me to connect with my native country, but it also helped me to realize the importance of charity work. I loved the experience, the effort and the energy that everyone puts in to make the show happen.”

Danh Ta

Danh Ta Collection

Age: 28

Ethnicity: Vietnamese born in Thailand

Where did you study/train: The Art Institute of Dallas

Describe your style/aesthetic/inspiration:

Sensuous and chic / Self-confidence, simplicity , bold and always stay true to yourself / A modern women looking for subtlety and elegance in her everyday appearance.

How did you get into this field? 

I grew up watching my father paint in my mother’s tailor shop. Everything sort of fell into place after that.

What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you?

“ATG is a platform for Asian Americans that want to achieve their dreams no matter where they come from. The idea of an organization that wants to help the community grow and support gifted individuals is impressive. I’m honored to be part of this event and looking forward to the 13th.”


Sophia Wu

Sophia Wu Textile Designer

Age: 28

Ethnicity: Taiwanese

Where did you study/train: Moore College of Art and Design (Philadelphia, PA)

Describe your style/aesthetic/inspiration:

I like to explore the relationship between the masculine and the feminine and bring in abundance of texture, color and experimental prints onto the silhouette. My inspirations include but are not limited to: nature, architecture, gospel, Matisse and the spirit of Marcel Duchamp.

How did you go choosing your field: 

I’m always passionate for fashion and to extend my love for  painting. I chose print design as my minor focus in college. Therefore, instead of seeing artwork in the gallery, they are transformed onto human bodies in everyday life.


After graduating from college with a major in Fashion Design and minor in Textile, I started working as a Textile Designer. Within 4 years, I worked my way up to a senior textile design position at Ali Ro, a contemporary dress line company based in New York.

What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you?

“ATG not only provides a platform for new artists and designers, it gives us an opportunity to be aware of events happening around the world today, such as what is going on with orphanages in Asia. My heart goes out to these poor kids, so I’m grateful to be able to invest my time and energy to support this fundraising and help out these children in Vietnam and Thailand.”

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