On last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the screening of the documentary “Dressed” at Bethesda Row Theater. This was truly and inspiring story of a young man named Nary Manivong who went from being a homeless teenager to a fashion designer to working with Tommy Hilfiger’s Daughter Alexandria. The story was so moving and compelling by the time it was over I don’t doubt everyone in the audience felt as if they could take on the world with a little faith, determination and commitment. To hear Nary tell the story of being abandoned by his parents, live on the streets but always know in his heart and mind that fashion was the one thing he loved just goes to show you when you set your mind to something you can achieve it. The human will and determination is a powerful thing. As the story of his young life was being told the movie also discussed how difficult getting into the fashion business really is. Over 2,000 brands get launched every year. 80% of them fail within the first year. Those that are left over barely survive and most only continue to be up and running through the following year. In the end only a handful make it and only a select few ever become household names. Nary was very fortunate. After having the venue for his first show canceled (invitations already sent out), dresses not getting completed, running out of money and just feeling completely down and out wanting to give up, his show eventually went on. He eventually landed a young fashion designers dream job. Working with the daughter of an internationally known fashion designer. I won’t spoil the movie for you. I highly recommend you take a moment to Google “Dressed” and find out if the screening is coming to a theater near you.
After the movie the audience had an opportunity to ask questions and meet and greet the Nary and the Director. This documentary was produced by David Swajeski who did not accept any money for this project. In fact when they began filming they had no idea how the story would end. David said they would have produced the movie regardless of the outcome. Now they are working on part two which tells the 2nd half of the story of Nary’s journey. I had a chance to talk with Nary for a few minutes and he has such a warm and sincere spirit. I wish him the best of luck. Oh yeah. His deigns? AWESOME!
This paragraph and photo excerpted from the “Dressed” website: Born and raised in Ohio, Nary is a unique example of creative motivation and success. He arose from a tumultuous upbringing, as well as frequent homelessness to pursue his dream. As the designer to his self-named label, which began in 2005, Nary Manivong debuted his fall 2007 collection, after taking a hiatus for spring 2007 season. Though this was a short hiatus, Nary has resurfaced with a new vision. As a self-taught designer, Nary learned the fundamentals of fashion design through real world experience and determination. Such attributes are why Women’s Wear Daily named him as one of twelve designers to watch for in fall 2005. This acclaim was soon followed in short by media coverage, industry reviews, helping to create a promising horizon for Manivong’s future enterprise.
Currently Nary Manivong’s self-named label is on hold and has created a new line with design partner Alexandria Hilfiger called NAHM. NAHM represent the initials of the design duo and it also means “water” in Laos.