www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/events/ffap starting in September. Sponsorships are currently available by emailing email@example.com. Introducing the 2016 FFAP Presenting Designers: Danh Ta 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, launching 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 the brand across the country. Design inspiration: Women’s ready-to-wear that is chic and sophisticated and custom hand-painted artistic prints for a personal touch, Danh Ta’s Spring 2017 Collection is inspired by art and paintings. 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 being there for one another to support each other, no matter what our passions and goals are.” “As a returning presenting designer for Fashion for a Passion, I now feel like a part of the ATG family.”
Danny Nguyen | Danny Nguyen Couture
Despite his now bolstering yet enigmatic personality, Danny Nguyen’s foundation in the fashion world is rooted in the soil of humility. He began as a child, under the wing of his mother. Predating his arrival to the United States from Vietnam, Danny would be seen at a very early age cutting fabric, collecting designs and assisting with custodial chores around his mother’s alteration store. During this period, he developed and refined many of the essential skills of a fine fashion designer.
Upon his arrival to the rich and diverse culture of Houston, Danny developed in many other aspects of the fashion world. DNC (Danny Nguyen Couture) is his studio for alterations and design where he spends a great deal of time pursuing his dream, which dances at the end of every needle he drives into his next exquisite creation. He is a son, a brother and a friend, but, most importantly, he is the embodiment of a calling whose sound does not quiet until it has reached the end of the runway.
Design Inspiration: Lurid fluorescent light spills over a shadowy figure working deep into the night. Exacting needles, spools of fine thread and luxurious fabrics find their way in and around the dexterous hands of this diligent artist. Reckless passion is cast aside and replaced by the brutal will of a true fashion designer. To describe Danny Nguyen’s talents with words would be as futile as identifying infinity with a number.
Honors/Awards: Danny’s designs have been featured in prestigious fashion and design publications such as New York Magazine, Life & Style Weekly, Lucky Magazine, Women’s Wear Daily, Glamour and Modern Luxury Houston, among others.
What does “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “’Helping charity and community to become better and understanding of helping humanity by fashion exploring new community and charity events in a different city.”
“Being chosen as a presenting designer at Fashion for a Passion means that I get to explore Dallas and its clients and market, as well as to express my fashion and art to the community of Dallas.”
Cykochik X Nikki Li | Nikki Duong Koenig & Nikki Li
Nikki Li is a Chinese-Mexican designer based in McKinney, Texas. Originally from South Texas, she moved to Dallas after high school. Although she always had an interest in fashion, she first dabbled in game and simulation programming and graphic design programs. After adopting a vegan lifestyle, she began searching for a way to integrate her creativity and passion for animal rights into a career. In 2012, she found her answer when she met one of her favorite cruelty-free designers, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart (Vaute Couture) at the Texas Veggie State Fair. After encouragement from Leanne, she enrolled at The Art Institute of Dallas and earned a degree in Fashion Design.
Design Inspiration: Nikki’s designs have been described as “edgy yet feminine.” Her biggest inspiration is streetwear and Asian subcultures. Her aesthetic leans toward detailed simplicity and is slightly experimental.
What does “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “To ‘Go Against The Grain” means to challenge yourself to go outside of the norm. I have stayed dedicated to ensuring that no animals are harmed for the sake of fashion in my work. I have been doing a lot of soul searching in the past year and made a lot of personal growth, which has also taught me a lot about ‘Going Against The Grain.” I have learned a lot about my own aesthetic and to stay true to myself in my work, even if it can be considered unconventional or ‘costume-y’ by some.”
“Presenting in last year’s FFAP show was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life, and I am so stoked to be a part of it this year. To be collaborating with Nikki [Duong] Koenig of Cykochik is a huge opportunity, as she is a big inspiration to me as a fellow vegan designer and can teach me so much about the industry. This year, I hope to inspire others to consider eco-friendly fashion alternatives, make a lot of great connections and just have fun doing something I love for a good cause.”
Nikki Duong Koenig:
Nikki Duong Koenig is the Founder/President of Cykochik (ˈsīkō CHik) Custom Handbags, an internationally awarded, cruelty-free vegan handbag company she founded in 2003 while an Advertising and Art student at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts. She is a passionate and compassionate social entrepreneur, artist, activist, philanthropist and a recognized “Leader of Excellence” in the Dallas Asian American community by the National Association of Asian American Professionals NAAAP-DFW.
Ever since Nikki was a little girl, she has loved art and fashion but decided to pursue a career in corporate advertising/marketing as an art director/creative director over a decade ago. She has worked in New York City and Dallas for many blue-chip brands. In 2013, Nikki decided to leave the corporate world to focus 100 percent of her time to growing Cykochik Custom Handbags and to dedicate herself to activism and philanthropic causes for animal and human rights and the environment.
Her deep respect and love for people, animals and the planet is what motivates her to live her passion and purpose. Nikki promotes a compassionate vegan lifestyle for all living beings through Cykochik and her advocacy work with animal welfare organizations PETA, The Humane Society of the United States, The Humane League, and Farm Sanctuary.
Nikki has served on the board of directors of ATG Against The Grain Productions for the past six years and currently serves as Ambassador and previously as Vice President and Director of Marketing/Public Relations.
When Nikki is not “working,” she enjoys volunteering, practicing yoga and meditation, playing tennis, painting/drawing, reading, cooking, traveling and spending as much time as possible with her husband, family and friends.
Design Inspiration: Bold and colorful, Cykochik’s inspiration derives from animals/nature, art and architecture.
Honors/Awards: Within a year of Cykochik’s inception, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) honored Cykochik with the “Compassionate Business Award” for being an “exceptional cruelty-free company.” Nikki became the first Texas fashion/accessories designer to collaborate on a collection with PETA.
What does “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “It means staying true to my passion and purpose in life, despite external obstacles.”
“I am very excited and honored to be a presenting designer for the third time! It’s a meaningful honor this year, since I am now dedicating 100 percent to Cykochik and celebrating six years being a part of ATG. This year, I hope to bring awareness to eco-friendly and cruelty-free fashion, because we are all a part of the $1.5 trillion global fashion industry, and we must make socially responsible fashion choices to improve the lives of workers, animals and the health of our planet. I also hope to help ATG exceed our FFAP fundraising goal!”
Jerry Matthews | Nine Muses
Nine Muses Collection is a Dallas-based women’s luxury label founded in 2012, by designers Jerry Matthews and Francesca Viamonte. The duo met while studying at The Art Institute of Dallas where they collaborated on independent projects. The two later developed a desire to create their own custom design business which led to their first collection. The label’s name came about by the duo being inspired by the goddess of clarification and memory, Mnemosyne and her nine children: the Nine Muses.
Design Inspiration: Every season, the duo chooses nine muses that serve as inspiration for their collection. Nine Muses Collection focuses on luxury women’s sports wear and evening wear, while incorporating high quality craftsmanship, unique design details and an effortless sense of sophistication. Design inspiration is drawn from contemporary art, iconic women in history and various genres of music combined with an emphasis on tailoring and contrasting proportions. The Nine Muses Collection customer is bold, sophisticated, fashion-forward and tasteful, while maintaining a balance of simplicity and edge. She is confident and unapologetic about her outlook on fashion.
Honors/Awards: Matthews and Viamonte’s work has been featured in Dallas’ Luxe Interior + Design Magazine, Fixation Magazine, Women’s Wear Daily, Factice Magazine, PaperCity, Envie Magazine, Indulge Magazine, Living Magazine, Florum Magazine, La Mode Magazine, DFW Style Daily, Method 7 Magazine, Austere Magazine, D Magazine’s Style Sheet, Dallas Observer, Pink Memo, Culture Map Dallas, Asia World Media and Fashionising, among others.
What does “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “’Going Against The Grain’ to me means pursuing what you’re passionate about, despite what’s expected of you.”
“The ATG team has become a second family to me, and Tammy and the organization have always been so supportive. ATG has been there for us since the early beginning of our brand. It’s such an honor to once again be a part of such a great event while being able to give back to a great cause that I am very passionate about.”
Born and raised in a small town in southern Taiwan, Victoria Lin grew up planting coconut trees and sketching nature landscape at her father’s fish farm. Spending most of her childhood outdoor made her fall in love with the varied shapes and rich colors of nature.
Victoria moved to Texas with her family when she was 12 years-old. Moving from Taiwan to Texas was challenging and fun. While the culture shock brought plenty of embarrassing moments, it also triggered a lot of inspiration and strengthened her passion in the universal language of art.
Victoria graduated from the University of North Texas in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design and Merchandising.
Design inspiration: Her cultural background has given her a unique perspective on design that reflects the globalization of fashion and arts today. Through her training at UNT, her greatest strength in design is her ability to utilize shapes in order to create pleasant and balanced looks.
Honors/Awards: Second place at the 2016 FGI Fashion Group International of Dallas Competition in the Bridal and Evening Wear Category; recipient of the CVAD SSrv NAMSB Foundation Scholarship
What does “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “Going ‘Against The Grain’ means having the courage to take action breaking through any barriers to pursue your passion. As a Taiwanese American designer, it is very important to me to cherish my roots, which is reflected in my design process. I am a firm believer of ‘One Voice. Many Stories.’ I hope one day that my unique ‘one voice’ can be heard by many people and be able to launch my own brand. My aspiration is to create comfortable garments to bring people confidence and creating many memorable stories.”
“As a recent Fashion Design graduate, I am honored to be selected as one of the five Asian American designers to present at the 8th Annual Fashion for a Passion charity event. As an Asian American designer, my work has a lot of influences from my home country Taiwan. Being able to present my designs at FFAP means a lot to me. I am happy that through FFAP I can share my work with the DFW community and most importantly, contribute to this incredible charity to support orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, their scholarship fund and outreach programs. I hope through FFAP, I can trigger diverse and interesting ideas with other designers and the audience. I also hope to bring engaging and intimate conversations to inspire more people through the beauty of the arts.”