Asia Society Concludes 2017-2018 Women’s Leadership Series with Women in Fashion Evening

Spotlighting Four of Today’s Most Talented Asian Designers, Chloe Dao, Becky Hollands, Khanh Nguyen, and Naina Shah

HOUSTON, May 29, 2018 — Asia Society Texas Center (ASTC) completed the third year of the Bank of America Women’s Leadership Series (WLS) with a sold-out event entitled Women in Fashion. WLS is ASTC’s flagship program showcasing distinguished female professionals. The May 17 event was moderated by Houston Chronicle fashion editor Joy Sewing, and the panelists were designers Chloe Dao, Becky Hollands, Khanh Nguyen, and Naina Shah. Three of the designers have Texas roots (Dao, Hollands, and Nguyen), while Shah splits her time between Mumbai and NYC.

After the program and Q&A at ASTC, the evening continued across the street at The Southmore. At the post-event reception, guests mingled with the panelists, viewed the panelists’ designs on-display, indulged in nibbles from Cordúa Catering, and enjoyed music on the Southmore’s seventh-floor poolside deck.

The fourth year of the Women’s Leadership Series (WLS) will kick off this fall (date and program TBD). The WLS committee is chaired by Mandy Kao and Y. Ping Sun, and the programming focuses on women who are making a substantive impact in society and business. The series provides a platform for influential women of Asian descent, as well as women engaged in leading efforts reflected in the Asia Society mission, to share their personal and professional experiences.

About the Speakers 

Chloe Dao Main Image

Chloe Dao discovered her love for fashion at the age of 10 while watching CNN’s Style with Elsa Klensch. She went on to pursue her passion in New York City where she earned a patternmaking degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology. After completing her education, she honed her skills in all of aspects of the industry, including design, production management and buying. In 2000, she returned to her hometown of Houston, Texas to open the Chloe DAO boutique, formerly known as LOT 8. It was her Project Runway Season 2 win that catapulted Chloe from a local immigrant designer to an international superstar living out her American dream. The Dao Chloe Dao brand combines effortless sophistication with fashion forward style to produce unique eveningwear and sportswear. Her designs stand the test of time with ease as they are wearable year after year. Chloe’s longtime commitment to philanthropy has played an integral role in her design and business philosophy. It is for this reason that she serves on fashion advisory boards at Houston Community College and The Art Institute. In honor of breast cancer awareness, she makes an annual contribution of a limited edition silk scarf for the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority’s Think Pink Foundation. Chloe also hosts several benefit shopping events for not-for-profit organizations at her Chloe Dao boutique located in Rice Village. Dress for Success, Community Cloth and TUTS are just a few of the organizations she’s collaborated with. Chloe continues to use her platform to inspire and contribute to every community she’s a part of, be it local or global.

Becky Hollands Main Picture

Becky Hollands is a Houston-based Designer for exclusive luxury-lifestyle brand BECKY HOLLANDS. The Becky Hollands brand is a celebration of the individualistic woman who is confident, artistic, and the ultimate "modern sophisticate." Hollands' inspiration comes from her love of art, architecture, and her own bi-cultural upbringing. Growing up in a family with both Chinese and British parents, she learned the balance of expressing her ideas liberally yet in the most exquisite manner. Within her designs are innovative selections of textiles, and expressive clashes of lines, with forms and textures that come together in a harmonious state of elegance and agility. Hollands' work is often described as modern and timeless with a note of "effortlessness." Inspired by influential and philanthropic women, Hollands' coveted designs are worn by a wide ranging clientele, including Bravo’s Real Housewives, Madame Y Ping Sun, Texas Socialite Joanne King Herring, and a member of the Bush Family. Hollands' designs have been featured in the pages of Vogue, The Society Diaries Magazine, Modern Luxury, and Papercity, among others. Hollands graduated with the Glenna Goodacre Scholarship for Creativity and holds a Bachelors of Science in Apparel Design and Manufacturing with minors in Portuguese, Mandarin and Art from Texas Tech University. 

Khanh Nguyen Main Image

Khanh Nguyen, the Creative Director and Designer of the Nha Khanh label, has been surrounded by fashion and art throughout her life. Khanh attended the University of North Texas and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Fashion Design. In 2010, the Nha Khanh label was established. The company offers seasonal “advanced contemporary” Ready-to-Wear, a custom Atelier collection, and a bridal line. Nha Khanh takes pride in exceptionally well-made garments and strives to push the envelope on innovation, creative, and elegant designs. Nha Khanh’s designs focus on modern glamour; they are inspired by art, architecture and, most importantly, nature. The designs are ethereal, meticulously constructed, and host an ease that allows for an effortless sensibility. The Nha Khanh mission is to empower women with inner-strength through their clothing while focusing on “feminine elegance with a modern edge.” “Nha”, in Vietnamese, is a feminine word implying ‘light and elegance’, whereas “Khanh” is a masculine word, meaning ‘victory and celebration’. The fusion of the words creates a balance of unison between feminine and masculine.

Naina Shah Main Image

Naina Shah creates intricate decorations for European and American fashion houses using traditional Indian craftsmanship. She and her mother run the Mumbai-based bespoke embroidery company Aditiany which specializes in custom hand embroidery and beading and produces hand-finished embellishments for the likes of Gucci, Erdem and Alexander McQueen. Naina grew up in New York and learned the trade by working with her mother who founded Aditiany in 1991. The atelier has helped transform a mohair sweater into a garden of silk trompe-l’oeil roses (Dolce & Gabbana), hand-beaded an entire custom jumpsuit tailored to model Bella Hadid’s body (Alexander Wang), turned a velvet Saint Laurent smoking jacket into a galaxy of embroidered stars for Keith Richards and the gold sequin snakes that wound up on the Renaissance-inspired gowns of Gucci’s cruise 2018 collection are the handiwork of Aditiany artisans. Naina was recently featured in The New York Times Style Magazine.

Joy Sewing Main Image

Joy Sewing has been an architect of fashion, beauty and lifestyle coverage as the Houston Chronicle’s fashion and beauty editor for more than a decade. She is one of only a handful of full-time fashion editors at major newspapers in the country. An award-winning journalist, Joy has worked for The Kansas City Star and New York Post and has written for Time, People, Shape, Town & Country, and other magazines. She has interviewed hundreds of famous faces, from Oscar de la Renta to Houston’s own Beyoncé Knowles. Joy is also the host of The Joyful Life national radio show and the founder of the Year of Joy Project, which provides joyful experiences to area children from underserved communities. A native Houstonian, Joy is the proud mom of two Instagram-famous rescue Boxers, Ava and The Prince. The playful, yet mischievous pooches are the subject of her first forthcoming children’s book.

Press coverage

Fashion Power Women Reveal Leadership Secrets in Houston
Asia Society celebrates women in fashion
Asia Society's Women in Fashion Spotlights Asian Designers
Asia Society's 2018 Women's Leadership Concludes With Women in Fashion Evening Spotlighting Top Asian Designers
Women mean [Fashion] Business!

About Asia Society Texas Center

With 13 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the rest of the world. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.