A friend forwarded me an email about a documentary premiere being hosted by the Bethesda Row Cinema entitled, “Dressed”: http://dressedmovie.com/. Not knowing much other then it had to do with fashion I was eager to go to this free screening. When I arrived at the theatre I was given a small flyer that had the tagline: Homeless at 14. Every designer’s dream begins somewhere.
The documentary is about a young self-taught designer and his struggle to make it to the top of the fashion world. Nary Manivong found himself at the age of 14 homeless when his alcoholic parents abandoned him and his 3 siblings on the streets of Ohio.
The movie begins discussing how difficult it is for any new designer to make it to the level of Michael Kors or Lanette Lepore; the example is given in the movie. The statistics were shocking even to someone like me that has been in the fashion business for a long time. I won’t give to many details here because I feel the movie is a must see for anyone interested in pursuing a career in fashion.
Nary goes on to tell his story and the struggles he goes through to produce a fashion show in New York City during Fashion Week. Like any good movie this one has twists, turns and endless disappointments but in the end Nary gains so much by going through the struggles he did. He realized who his true friends are, who he can rely on, who his core support are, but more importantly he handled the grueling process of fashion show production with a maturity and resolve unlike anyone I have ever seen. Anyone that has ever produced a fashion show understands exactly what I mean. Basically you are rooting for Nary throughout the entire movie.
For me a movie must hit several emotions in order for me to consider it as a good or great movie and believe me this one hit all of the emotions to be great. I laughed, I cried, I squirmed in my seat, as well as gawked at all of the amazing fashions that I was seeing.
At the end of the viewing we were fortunate that the designer and the director were both on-hand to answer questions from the audience. There were many up and comers to the fashion industry in the audience and a few of them asked very thought provoking questions. However the majority of the audience were like all of the other fashion newbies in the DMV; they all want to know how to get started to which Nary answered, “…know that this is what you love and never give up!”
The best question of the evening came from a woman that asked how the director knew that Nary’s story would end in success and if he would have continued to make the film if the story did end in triumph. David Swajeski, Producer, Director, said that he obviously didn’t know how the story was going to end when he started the film but he felt that Nary’s personal story and struggles were intriguing enough to want to continue with the project.
I believe that what I walked away with most from Nary’s Q&A and his story is what I want to leave you all with:
If a 14 year old homeless boy with barely a high school diploma and every obstacle imaginable can find the passion, determination and drive to succeed in the cut throat industry of fashion, what excuse do you have for not fulfilling your dreams?
I highly recommend anyone that is interested in starting a career in fashion or if you are interested in checking out a life altering uplifting inspirational story please check out the website so that you can see when and where it is playing in your city.