By Kristen M. Foley
After moving from South Vietnam to the United States when he was just four years old, Ngockhanh Ngo’s family established a home not far from CCAD’s iconic ART sign. Although he had always dreamed of attending an art school as a child, he never knew that sign would ultimately signal a future in art and fashion.
“My parents never wanted me to pursue art at all. They wanted me to go the safer route of becoming a nurse, lawyer, or a doctor,” reflects Ngockhanh. “Coming from a third-world country, artists are usually starving. It took me some time to realize I needed to do what I’m gifted to do and enjoy.”
This year, Ngockhanh channeled his gift into a men’s wear collection entitled “Working Men,” and in his mind each piece has a story to tell.
“I wanted to create work-wear inspired pieces,” he said. “With a little bit of vintage and modern edge to it that is reflective of my own street-edgy style.”
For his four-piece collection, Ngockhanh designed, constructed, distressed, dyed, and sometimes even destroyed various denim pieces that include men’s jeans, jackets, jumpsuits, and overalls. He also took the time to add in unique details such as patchwork, buttons, and even hidden details in the lining of a jacket that only the wearer can see. To him, this was a way to make it a complete and styled collection.
His attention to all the details doesn’t stop with his own designs either. He spent hours online looking for the perfect shoes that would work with his theme without taking away from it. It’s important to him that everything is styled and complete.
“I feel that when you are able to create your own line and pull from your own inspiration it will inspire everything down to the shoes,” said Ngockhanh. “The day before the jury show I even cut two of my models’ hair. I wanted them to have a clean cut. I already told them that before the Fashion Show I want to meet up with them to cut their hair again.”
Known by his classmates as “The Machine,” Ngockhanh admits that he works well under pressure. When he found out one of his models was moving away and wouldn’t be able to take part in the jury show he not only had to find a replacement model, but recreate some of his pieces to fit the new person in less than a week.
“I made the jeans, distressed the jeans, and then finished them the day before the jury show with final details,” says Ngockhanh. “If you have the skills to whip it out and get it done, then do it, but I never want to overwhelm myself. I submitted only four looks so I could put everything into them.”
With the fashion show and graduation just a few months away, Ngockhanh has some thoughts about his future ambitions.
“I would like to see my self working in the denim or outerwear department for Levi’s or Ralph Lauren, two companies I favor,” he said. “I want get the most experience I can soak up in five years and then figure out what’s next for fives years after that.”
Ngockhanh Ngo is originally from South Vietnam and a resident of Columbus, OH. He graduated from Beechcroft High School.
The CCAD Fashion Show is an annual fundraising event that showcases the talent of graduating Columbus College of Art & Design Fashion Design Seniors. This popular event sells out every year and this blog is a portal through which to view the behind-the-scenes goings on.