Fashion Doc Dressed Tells the Story of NAHM Designer Nary Manivong

David Swajeski charts the rise of the designer from homeless teen to co-designer of an up-and-coming New York label

Photo Courtesy of CND

Last night, during a rooftop party for Fashion’s Night Out Toronto, fashion designer Nary Manivong was present for the Canadian premiere of his documentary, Dressed. Directed by David Swajeski, the doc charts the rise of Manivong, who, at age 14, returned home from school to find all of his belongings on the sidewalk. His parents, including his abusive alcoholic father, had abandoned Nary and his three siblings and he was forced to spend the rest of high school sleeping in a 24-hour donut shop or on a street corner. Dressed follows Nary during the creation of his first collection for New York Fashion Week with less than $6,000 in savings and loans from friends (a truly amazing achievement since — according to the doc — the average collection costs $250,000 to produce!).

This film is an inspiring example of what an individual can achieve with hard work and perseverance. Nary worked two jobs while living with a friend in a 320 sq. ft. apartment so that he could scrape together money to put together his first presentation. After the screening Nary mentioned that positive visualization contributed to his success. For him, there was no other option but to become a fashion designer, and it was what he always envisioned. When he arrived in NYC, he even started introducing himself as a designer because he wanted everyone to know where he was headed. The documentary itself also offers many other tips on becoming a successful designer from industry VIPs such as designer Nanette Lepore, fashion writer Lynn Yaeger and Simon Doonan, ambassador-at-large for Barneys New York.

Fast forward to the present and Nary is part of successful design duo NAHM (with Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter Ally) and has signed on to collaborate with ORGNL.TV, an online community that aims to discover original artists, musicians and fashion designers from around the world.