Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dallas Designer & True Texan: An Interview With Lucy Dang


In a quaint, naturally lit studio space in downtown Dallas, you will find Dallas native and fashion designer,  Lucy Dang.   After graduating from the University of North Texas, Lucy went off to New York City where she worked for Nicole Miller, Rebecca Taylor, Kai Kuhne and Dillards.   Working under these amazing brands and designers inspired her so much, that she came back to Dallas to start a fashion line of her own.  Today, Lucy has two lines.  The first line is her main line,  Lucy Dang, which mainly consist of stunning evening gowns and cocktail dresses.  Her showroom is located in New York City.  The second line is Lady by Lucy Dang, which was born after she recently won the Belk's Southern Designer Showcase for Spring/Summer 2014.  Lady Line was developed, produced and distributed to Belk locations nation wide.  Just a little side note, I don't know if y'all know this or not but I am going to let you in on a little secret.  The new Belk that just opened in the Galleria is out of this world!  I know we were all a little shook up when Saks left the building, but let me just tell you that when I stepped inside for the first time, I couldn't believe my eyes.  It looked like retail heaven with bright white floors and lighting.  The shoe section is to die for, with names like Sam Edelman, Kate Spade and Jack Rogers.  As well as brand new makeup counters and miniature handbag boutiques.  What a great home for Lucy's Lady Line!  


I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Lucy Dang, as well as tour her studio.  She was as down to earth as anyone could be and her staff was just as great! I really enjoyed getting to know her!


HG: Tell me a little bit about you.  Did you always know as a little girl growing up that you wanted to be a designer?

LD: (Laughs) I did, my parents and I are originally from Vietnam.  We moved over when I was two.  My mom actually learned English by watching the movie "Gone With The Wind."  Every Christmas, the church that sponsored us over to the states gave gifts to all the kids and I remember one year specifically.  I was three and half and I received a package.  Inside was this fluffy blue dress.  I can remember thinking "I love this."  

HG: That is so cute!  And were you one of those little girls that was always dressed in those frilly dresses?  

LD: (Laughs) I was! 


HG:  I know you moved to New York City after you graduated from the University of North Texas.  Why did you choose to come back to Dallas?

LD: Texas is home for me.  I am a true Texan!  You know how proud we are!  People in New York would always joke, "You have such a southern accent," and I would say "No I don't...I have an Asian accent" and so they started calling me the Asian Southern Belle.  I took it as a compliment!  When I moved back to Dallas, my business partner and I said "Well, Lucy Dang sounds like Vera Wang.  Maybe we will be the Vera Wang of the south!"

HG: What is it like being a designer in Texas?  Do you face any challenges?  

LD:  I would say production and being close to New York, which is the heart of fashion.  

HG:  You won the Southern Designer showcase with Belk and your Lady Line has been in stores for the last few months.   Tell me a little about your customer for that line.  Who is she?  Where is she going?   

LD: The reason we won the Belk competition was because they were looking for Southern Designers that met with their branding, which is modern Southern style.   Their ideal customer is a modern Southern woman.  I won an evening category, so my dresses for this line are more cocktail and evening.  We came up with the name of the line because you are always a lady if you are from the south and always a little dressed up.  

HG:  Where do you usually get your inspiration from?  


LD:  From every where really.  The ideas just randomly come to me.  For example, when we were thinking about Fall/Winter 2014,  I had no idea what it was going to be.  One day my team and I were taking a road trip up to New York to sell a collection and we were making random stops on our way.  We passed Salem, Virginia and it reminded me of the Witch trials.  We ended up driving all the way to Salem,  Massachusetts to take a tour and that ended up being the inspiration behind the Fall/Winter 14 collection.   

HG:  Who would you say you idealize in the fashion world?  

LD: It really was Vera Wang growing up because she was the most famous Asian designer.  Even in high school people would predict that one day I would be a fashion designer and then team up with Vera and rename the company Wang/Dang (laughs).  I still look up to her.  I think she has such a great brand. I also look up to Rebecca Taylor and her business partner Beth. They started with $40,000 dollars and now they are a billion dollar company.  It makes me feel like I can do it too and anything is possible.  

HG:  I am a huge fan of Rebecca Taylor!  I know you worked for her and Nicole Miller when you were in New York.  What was it like working them?  

LD:  You know, Rebecca was very sweet.  I remember walking into an elevator my first week there and a pregnant lady walked in holding a box of donuts and I was like "Oh That's my boss."  She said to me, "Come upstairs and have a donut!"  She stayed working and designing throughout her whole eight months of pregnancy.  She is very girly girl and I think a lot of that influenced what I do now too.

HG:  What would you say is the best advice you learned from her?

LD:  That you can do it and to be nice to your employees.  Always treat them well.  Rebecca and her team were very personable so we try and do that here too. Your employees can be like family so treat them well. We actually have a pie day here at the studio (laughs).  

HG:  What is pie day? 

LD:  We just go and eat pie at Emporium Pies (laughs), it is so good!  It is the best pie in Dallas!

HG:  What is your favorite pie there?  

LD:  The Cloud Nine!  It is like a butter crust with caramel on the bottom.  Kind of like a mars bar.  It's super gooey with a butterscotch custard and then a brown sugar meringue. 

HG: Ooo that sounds dangerous! 

LD: World peace is possible when you eat that pie..

HG: If you could have any celebrity in your designs who would it be?

LD:  Oh my gosh, I would love to have Taylor Swift!  

HG: She is the ultimate Southern Belle!

LD:  She is!  We are actually trying to get her into our clothes.  So cross your fingers!

HG:  So the last question I have is what is to come for your Lady by Lucy Dang line that has been at Belk?  

LD:  Lady was suppose to come to and end, but we have done well enough that Belk said that they wanted to focus more on my designer line and so they want to introduce it in a trunk show.  Going forward they are even helping us promote our main line which is really exciting!

HG:  Well that is awesome!  Congratulations on all your success and I look forward to seeing more from you in the future, Lucy!  




Wearing a gown from the Lucy Dang main collection

With so many Dallas events coming up (check out my events calendar below),  I know we will all be on the hunt for an evening gown or cocktail dress.  If you are wanting a gorgeous look without breaking your piggy bank,  you can purchase one of Lucy's dresses from her Lady line collection right now on sale at Belk!  Lucy kindly let me try on a few dresses from both of her collections.  I asked her to select what she thought would look best on me, and this is what she chose!  I love them!  





This pink dress is from the Lady By Lucy Dang line



Photography by Suki Lynn 


2014 DALLAS BLACK TIE & COCKTAIL EVENTS 

September
6th - Hollywood Domino Dallas Texas Scottish Rite Hospital & the Art of Elysium 
13th - Water Tower Theatre's Community Cast Party Fundraiser 
13th - Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T 
17th - Eisman Jewels 50th Anniversary and Grand Reopening Celebration  
27th - Round Up for Autism Pegasus Ball 

October
4th - 22nd Annual Cabaret Gala Starring Marissa Mulder
24th - Dallas Opera First Night Pre Performance Dinner & After Party 
25th - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Hosts Evening Under the Stars

November
1st- Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Black Tie Ball
1st- Fashion for a Passion 
1st - ART for ADVOCACY 
8th - Breath of Life Gala 
11th - Center for Brain Health Legacy Dinner
14th - Patriot Party: Serving Our Heroes
15th - Night at the Museum
15th - Best Buddies Dallas Gala 
24th - Russell H. Perry Free Enterprise Award Dinner
29th - Lonestar Chairty Two-Step 

December
6th - The Crystal Charity Ball 





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Thank you for reading and commenting! - XO Ashley