At the first New York Fashion Week I attended in September 2007, I went to a show outside of Bryant Park’s village of tents that showcased the collection by a designer by the name of Nary Manivong.
His collection was enjoyable; I thought he was just a regular, run-of-the-mill designer that was part of the industry.
Fast forward to 2009 and I discover that this Ohio-born Laotian-American has a story. A really good story: Nary came from a broken childhood and eventually overcame homelessness to achieve his goals of showing his collection at New York Fashion Week.
Although I have yet to see the documentary (it’s currently making its festival rounds), I already know that this will bring some humility to an industry where anyone thinks they can be a brilliant designer. With commentary from some industry big wigs, Nary’s testimony is the heart of a story that shows how annoyingly harsh and un-glamorous the fashion industry can be.
As an instructor at an art university where fashion students think they have this head-in-the-clouds glossy perception of the industry you can only imagine how this documentary will help me pull these kiddos down to reality. In other words, I use Nary’s story to put my students in check — which I just LOVE doing.