Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce the presenting designer line-up for its 7th Annual Fashion for a Passion charity event presented by Audi Dallas, taking place Saturday, Nov. 7, at 7 for Parties in Dallas’ Design District. Handpicked by the ATG board, these designers represent an exciting mix of backgrounds, Asian American origins and design aesthetics.
“We are excited to host our 7th annual event at a fabulous new venue, 7 for Parties on Nov. 7th along with seven amazing designers. We really feel the energy of that lucky number and are preparing for an exciting show that will delight our audience,” said Against The Grain President and Co-Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “We have a number of returning Asian American designers showing their new lines as well as a few new designers, plus a few surprises up our sleeve – all coming together to bene fit the causes we support.”
As one of Dallas’ hottest fashion tickets and fall charity events, the evening showcases and celebrates emerging Asian American artists and musical performers. More significantly, it has become a place to discover talent, becoming a launch pad for then up-and-coming designers such as Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh, Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang and Jerry Matthews of Nine Muses, who have all gone on to notable fashion careers. The diverse 2015 line-up will introduce new jewelry label Sukan; adorable children’s formal wear from JOLYNN Kids; the Asian street-inspired and vegan style of design student Nikki Li; sensual and sophisticated collections from Becky Hollands, Danh Ta and Mysterious NPN and elegant bridal wear from glo bal brand Watters.
This year’s Fashion for a Passion emcees include veterans LeeAnne Locken (Actress/Model and She’s Got the Look Finalist) with Elizabeth Dinh (CBS 11 Morning News Reporter/Anchor) along with new faces Tiffany Hendra (Actress/TV Host and Beauty/Lifestyle Expert) and Ben Smithee (Marketing Executive and TV co-host of The Weekend Insider). The evening includes a cocktail reception with musical entertainment, a silent auction, art exhibit, fashion show with live auction, tasty bites and sips and concludes for the first time with an extended wrap-party for guests, artists and volunteers to mix and mingle until midnight.
Proceeds from the evening’s ticket sales, silent, art and lives auctions as well as generous sponsors benefit ATG’s supported orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, scholarships for student artists and leaders and community outreach programs in the U.S. to inspire, educate and entertain the community.
General Admission and VIP Reserved Tickets range from $60-$110 and will be on sale at www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/events/ffap starting in September. Sponsorships are currently available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introducing the 2015 FFAP Presenting Designers:
Becky Hollands’ inspiration comes from her love of art, architecture and her own bi-cultural upbringing. Growing up in a family with both Chinese and British parents, she learned the balance of expressing her ideas liberally, yet in the most exquisite manner.
Hollands’ designs include innovative selections of textiles, expressive clash of lines and forms and textures, which come together in a harmonious state of elegance and agility. The Becky Hollands label is a celebration of the individualistic woman who is confident, artistic and the ultimate “modern sophisticate.”
Hollands received her Bachelor of Science degree in Apparel Design and Manufacturing and minors in Art, Portuguese and Mandarin from Texas Tech University. The Becky Hollands Label offers seasonal ready-to-wear collections, while Becky Hollands Atelier, launched in January 2014, specializes in custom couture designs.
Hollands has utilized her love of fashion as a vehicle for philanthropy and hopes to inspire others through her path as a designer, while combining her passion to give back to the community.
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 “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “For me, being involved with Fashion for a Passion is having the opportunity to have a voice. Not only will I be sharing my vision through my designs as a fashion designer… so much of who I am and my inspirations come from my bi-cultural upbringing, and this is an opportunity to raise awareness and celebrate Asian American culture, artistry and identity.”
“I am so honored ATG has extended the opportunity for me to present at Fashion for a Passion. I hope to represent my community, inspire others through my work, support the arts and raise awareness while representing ATG.”
Joanne Hong | JOLYNN Kids
Thirty-one year-old Joanne Hong is a Taiwanese American contemporary childrenswear designer based in New York City. Born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma, she graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Apparel Design and Production. Soon after, she moved to New York City to pursue her dream in fashion design. While interning and working for big design houses such as DKNY, Marchesa and Tahari, she quickly gained experience, fueling her drive to launch her own line.
JOLYNN Kids consists of sweet, feminine and sophisticated dresses and separates for girls between the ages of 2 and 12 years-old. A versatile line that can be worn on playdates, outings with the parents and special occasions, JOLYNN Kids lets girls feel girly and youthful, yet still stay on-trend with the fashionable “grown-ups.” Hong is often inspired by all her beautiful friends’ kids as well as bustling NYC life.
Design Inspiration: JOLYNN Kids by Joanne Hong consists of sweet, feminine, and sophisticated dresses and separates for toddlers between the ages of 2 and 6 years. It is a versatile line that can be worn on playdates, an outing with the parents, and to special events. Every design has a special twist that makes a statement – either through the luxe fabrics, precious details or sweet silhouettes.
Honors/Awards: In 2012, Hong was selected as a top emerging designer to showcase in Launch Pad at WWD MAGIC in Las Vegas. In addition, she also had a blog on ElleGirl following her life as an emerging designer. Her collections have been featured during Oklahoma Fashion Week 2013 and at 2013 Fashion for a Passion. Through her designs, she hopes to inspire others to pursue their dreams.
What does “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “’Going Against The Grain” to me means taking action on a cause that you are passionate about regardless of any obstacles. Standing up for what you believe in and helping others along the way.”
“I’m deeply honored to be participating in this year’s Fashion for a Passion. I love that I’m able to share my love of fashion with everyone while making a difference in someone’s life. I hope to inspire others to follow their dreams.”
Nikki Li is originally from the small Texas town of San Benito. The daughter of a Chinese father and a half-Mexican mother, she moved to Dallas after high school in 2007. Currently, she attends the Art Institute of Dallas as a fashion design student, prepared to earn her Associate’s Degree in Applied Arts this September.
Raised by her mother and grandmother, Li was never exposed to Chinese culture. As she grew older, she wanted to learn more about that side of her heritage and became drawn to Asian culture. Origami is one of her biggest influences because she loves the idea of being able to create many silhouettes out of one shape. She also looks to Asian street style for inspiration because of its extreme design compared to many styles here in the States.
Design Inspiration: “My style is inspired from many different styles of Asian streetwear like gyaru, mori style, and even some extreme cyber styles. Recently, I have been experimenting with more modern looks targeted towards an older, more professional market. I find a lot of inspiration from other Japanese designers and art pieces. Leanne Hilgart, of Vaute Couture, is a huge inspiration to me.”
What does “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “To go ‘Against The Grain’ means to challenge yourself to go outside of the norm. It means to be revolutionary in your work, which I think is something all designers strive to achieve. For me personally, going against the grain is to design garments that are not made from materials that are animal derived, even though they are a popular choice by many designers and may be in season.”
“I cannot begin to express how thrilled and lucky I feel to be chosen to present at FFAP. I started my journey at the Art Institute with no sewing experience and am so thankful for such a wonderful opportunity to showcase the skills I have acquired in the past two years. I mostly hope to achieve a better understanding of the fashion industry, further perfect my skill set, and gain experience that I could not be learned in the classroom.”
Nicholas Phat Nguyen | Mysterious by NPN
Nicholas Phat Nguyen grew up in Saigon, Vietnam, with a childhood dream of becoming a major fashion designer. As a part of a small group of advanced level students who were awarded the opportunity to study abroad in the United States, Nguyen arrived in America at the age of 15, ready to pursue his dreams as a designer. He devoted all of his free time to studying every aspect of fashion design, and through lots of practice, taught himself how to sew.
Nguyen found it a challenge to start his company while keeping up with his full-time studies, but he was determined. In December 2014, he graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in International Business, ready to take his next step with Mysterious by NPN.
Having already shown at Houston Artopia, Austin Fashion Week and New York Fashion week, 2015 has brought exciting opportunities for the company with more to come.
Design Inspiration: “Growing up in Vietnam and then starting a whole new life in the United States, that’s the combination for what sparks our lines. The foundation of our collections always draw from traditional Vietnamese fashions infused with contemporary materials and silhouettes, giving the classic traditions a modern appeal. My designs are very sophisticated and romantic. I want the person wearing the garment to feel sexy, strong and to radiate confidence. A little eastern; a little western, and voila, c’est Mysterious by NPN!”
Honors/Awards: Nguyen received the FACE Award for Designer of the Year in 2014. He made the cover of “About Magazine” and has been featured in Dallas Fab Magazine. He has shown his designs at Austin and Dallas Fashion Weeks 2014, and at Austin, New York and Dallas Fashion Weeks in 2015.
What does “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “Along with fashion, I always have a big heart for charity, to give back and help the community is a bigger picture of my dream!”
“My journey to become successful through my designs has always been driven by one goal; to give back and make a difference in this world through supporting and inspiring children who need my help. To be chosen to present my line is an honor and a privilege. I hope to represent my brand with the same integrity as ATG and use this opportunity to grow my company to its entire potential. As a young designer, all I want is for people to know who I am and what this company aspires to achieve through its success. Mysterious by NPN is art, fashion, love, community, family and so much more.”
Vietnamese Danh Ta’s humble beginnings taught him the importance and value of creativity in life. Born in Thailand to a painter and a seamstress, Ta saw his parents use their artistic talent and to sustain their family. Eventually the whole family immigrated to the United States. Years after leaving his hometown of Oklahoma City, Ta graduated from the premier fashion design program at the Art Institute of Dallas, finishing in the Top Three of his class. During his time in school, Ta cultivated his talent and re-conceptualized his brand and launched his first collection for Fall 2008-2009.
That same year, Ta showcased his clothing line in local boutiques, fashion shows and underground clubs throughout Texas. While his brand gained footing, Ta remained focused on staying true to his vision. Today, the Danh Ta Studio is located in Dallas and continues to expand his brand across the country.
Design inspiration: His style aesthetic as “sensual silhouettes elegantly constructed for a modern-day woman, inspired by simplicity, life and vibrant colors.”
Honors/Awards: Ta finished in the Top Three of his class at the Art Institute of Dallas.
What does “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “ ‘Going Against The Grain’ means testing yourself mentally and physically while staying true to yourself.”
“Being chosen to present at FFAP is a great honor. To compete against other talented grain designers with my new collection is exciting and the ultimate challenge. I hope to achieve a connection with the audience with my new Resort 2016 collection.”
Vatana Watters | Watters
2015 marks the 30th anniversary of Watters, a bridal design company known throughout the industry for its elaborate, hand-crafted details and luxurious fabrics. Founded by Vatana Watters, the Dallas-based company offers wide array of looks that incorporate innovative design and unique styling.
Watters draws design inspiration from many places, including her Thai heritage, trips overseas and the desire to reflect the spirit of the times. She also turns to iconic fashion staples from the past for inspiration, including Dior, Givenchy, Balenciaga and Lanvin (to name a few!)
The brand was launched in 1985 shortly after Watters graduated from FIDM. The southern hospitality, thriving fashion industry and central location to Los Angeles and New York City made Dallas the ideal home for Watters. Working at the Dallas Mart while moonlighting design and production processes of bridesmaid dresses during nights and weekends quickly paid off, as Watters and her team began selling dresses at local bridal salons, including Neiman Marcus and Stanley Korshak.
Currently, Watters is partnered with more than 600 retailers around the world. Vatana Watters continues to be at the heart of the company and is passionately involved in setting the design tone for each season’s collections.
Design inspiration: Her heritage, experience on both coasts and the desire to reflect the spirit of the times.
Honors/Awards: Over the years, Watters has been fortunate to receive design awards for innovation, rave reviews in the press and to be chosen for quite a few celebrity appearances and weddings.
What does “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “When I started making bridesmaids gowns in the mid ’80’s, I offered an alternative solution to the big puffy sleeves and bows. I decided to ‘go Against The Grain,’ and it paid off in a great way, due to hard work, determination and staying true to my vision.”
“This is my fourth year to be involved with Fashion for a Passion, and I’m so excited! As an Asian American woman, I admire the work and the efforts of Against the Grain Productions. It’s an honor to support an event that helps and nourishes talent within the Asian community. I hope to inspire others to pursue their dreams and never give up.”
Radhika Zaveri is an MBA in Marketing from Case Western Reserve University and has spent 20 years in corporate America running brands like Nestle Stouffer’s® and Lean Cuisine®. She currently consults for a variety of consumer packaged goods companies, from Weight Watchers, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to small sized businesses.
Her passion for sustainability of both the planet and its people led her start an MBA-level course at Case Western about sustainability and its effect on profit almost ten years ago. The experience in branding and a passion for women’s causes in India inspired her to begin her family-run jewelry business Sukan.
Self-taught, Zaveri designs the collection. Women artisans in India hand craft all the pieces, giving them an independent means of income and a sense of self-sufficiency. Apart from their earnings, Sukan gives a healthy, safe environment for these women to grow professionally.
Design Inspiration: As Sukan literally means “good wishes” in Hindi, most of Zaveri’s collection reflects symbols of good luck and good wishes. Zaveri describes the line as “modern chic with a twist,” using gemstones indigenous to the region, diamonds and sustainable recycled glass.
What does “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “To me ‘Going Against The Grain’ speaks to being a forward thinker in whatever you do. Being unconventional is like living everyday as if there is no tomorrow. For that, it is important to celebrate your values with courage because you can. Often others ask me why I have chosen to dedicate my time to pursue the dream of empowering women through a start-up brand when my background is executive corporate America, working on billion-dollar brands. I believe that we can all activate change through our unique backgrounds and experiences that enable us to make dreams a reality and make the experience richer with our unique stamp of individual creativity.”
“It is very powerful when a group of people come together to uplift a cause. For me, being a part of FFAP is not only a fantastic opportunity for Sukan to be showcased in the community but also to be a part of a larger cause involved in uplifting the Asian community. To be chosen to present at the FFAP is extremely special, as it allows us to bring our story and pieces of art to the greater community, especially as a new brand seeking distribution and brand awareness.”
About ATG Against The Grain Productions, Inc.
ATG Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, promotes Asian American cultural awareness through compelling media projects and raises funds for international orphanages and underprivileged children. In addition to hosting outreach events, it also awards annual scholarships to exemplary Asian American student artists and leaders. ATG produced the feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which has screened at more than a dozen film festivals nationwide and received the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Vietnamese International Film Festival and the Documentary Audience Choice Award from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. For more information, visit www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com or www.TheBabylift.com.
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