Tag: Danh Ta

D Magazine Style Sheet: An Enchanted Affair


Thank you so much again to Against The Grain for the 4th annual Fashion for a Passion showcasing Asian American designers. It was an evening filled with vibrant colors, great ambition, and incredibly inspiring stories.

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

2012 Fashion for Passion Designers Prepare to Take Stage

DALLAS, TX – Dallas-based non-profit ATG Against The Grain Productions is in preparation to host its much awaited 4th annual Fashion for a Passion charity event, a fundraiser that brings together the talents of emerging Asian American fashion designers, artists and musicians. The event takes 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 presenting designers includes 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. Each designer will have the opportunity to share his/her latest collection and will donate pieces that will be auctioned off live that night. In addition, each designer was given one month to complete a Project Runway-like challenge to recreate a signature ATG t-shirt into a masterpiece of their own styling that will be on display and auction. Online voting begins later this month, and the winning piece will be announced at the event.

President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee has high expectations from the designers, whether they are new or returning veterans. “Our team hand picks designers we feel possess not only design talent and a unique point of view, but also the ability to represent ATG’s attitude of ‘going against the grain’ in their philosophy.  Being invited to participate in this event is an honor and carries with it a responsibility, as we invest so much in giving these designers not only a platform for their work, but who they are.”

Graduates from the Art Institute of Dallas, Jerry Matthews and Danh Ta will have their lines on the FFAP runway for the first time.  Matthews said, “I’m very excited to be a part of this year’s Fashion For A Passion Charity event. I’ve attended and donated in the past, but I’ve never shown my [full] collection. This particular charity is so great, and I definitely have a passion for both the cause and fashion. I feel as if this is going to be an awesome event and life experience. I look forward to raising awareness for this cause and doing what I love at the same time.” Added Ta, “I am honored by this opportunity to represent artists and inspire creativity using fashion as a medium.  As a first time designer for Fashion for a Passion, I hope to captivate the audience with my new 2013 S/S collection.  I’m excited and intrigued to meet everyone that shares a common interest in fashion and help share my voice and story along with Against The Grain. ”

Joanne Hong of JOLYNN will be the first FFAP Presenting Designer ever to share a children’s wear collection on stage. Hong said, “I’m so honored to be a part of Fashion for a Passion.  I look forward to helping ATG raise money for an amazing charity while seeing other talented Asian American designers. Through my designs, I hope to inspire and bring awareness to the Asian American communities all over the country.”  Sophia Wu is the final newbie who rounds out the line-up with a unique perspective and experience in textiles. “ATG not only provides a platform for new artists and designers, it gives us an opportunity to be aware of and to be involved with the plight of orphans in Southeast Asia. I’m grateful to be able to invest my time and energy to support this worthy cause, and I hope that through this event, we can encourage more people to join us in turning our concerns into actions to make a real difference in the lives of children.”

There’s a reason why designers want to return to Fashion for a Passion. It’s not only for the welcoming audience and the incredible exposure, but also for the cause itself that becomes close to their heart. Lizzi Cook (also known as Lizzi Tran) is a returning face who has evolved since presenting her collection a the inaugural event. “The whole preparation and production of collaborating with creative artists makes this event come alive to raise as much funds as possible. For every small step we take, we can influence another for the better. I don’t expect anything more than seeing the love of each individual’s knowledge, professionalism and creativity in each talented artist to come together to have fun from beginning to end. “Returning for her second year is Hang Dang of Lucy Dang. Said Dang, “Last year was a blast, and I am very proud to be a part of an organization that does this much good. Lucy Dang was given a great launching pad with our debut last year and it is going to be a great opportunity for all our new coming designers to showcase their work. I know this year will be breath taking to watch, so let’s aim to break another record and make this the best FFAP ever!”

Dallas design star Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh is a 4th year veteran who has presented her collection with FFAP since its inception and gave her a launching pad that has established the brand today. Her work has been featured in numerous publications over the years and was just recently launched in Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.

 Tickets to Fashion for a Passion range from $50 to $100 and go on sale exclusively online starting Thursday, September 13th at the FFAP Event Page. 

For more press/media information on the event, please contact pr@againstthegrainproductions.com.

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.”