Hmong Music Festival (Hmong Music & Arts Festival)
I was asked to produce HMF's Fashion Show a little later than usual. I joined when the designers were already selected and the models were casted by one of the show's main sponsors, REVIVED. We had an amazing group of Designers (Sendy Lauj, Tazme Moua, Pang Sophie Lovanyi, Pa Kou Xiong, Yer Vang, Stacey Lo, Amy Yang, Aroosa Shaikh, Song Vue and Vam Moua) who worked so hard to showcase an array of styles and trends for the future of fashion. Most pieces were Ready To Wear while a few were more of a Formal Affair. The show was located in Fresno and I live in the surrounding LA area. Immediately I knew this project was going to be a challenge since it meant I'd have to drive up and down for rehearsals and meetings. Although Fresno is at least a four hour drive (one way), without skipping a beat, I took on a project that I knew was going to consume my everyday routine. I didn't sleep until 2am and had to be up by 5am for work almost every single day. It was going to be like this for another 2 months because I still had my "day job" to worry about, along with a very active 6 year old son, who's schedule was even more hectic then mine. I took on the challenge and charged ahead. I had a passion like no other so I took on the project with hopes that it'll eventually turn into something major. I believed in the HMF vision and I could only hope that with my expertise, I would be able to help bring that vision to life.
It's now June 1st and the Fashion Show has already ended. The event took place on May 26th at the Fresno Fair Ground. This was also my very first time working with the Central Valley Hmong Community. I've produced Fashion Shows for the Hmong Community in Minnesota, the Hmong Community in Santa Ana and Long Beach and for some of my private clients around the Central and Southern California regions, but for the Central Valley Hmong Community, this would be the first. I have to admit that although I'm a professional and have been in production for awhile, I was quite nervous. I felt the pressure twice as hard because I was now working with a community that was very new to my art. HMF alone was a new event and the pressure was not only on the Fashion Show but on the entire showcase. Without making this blog too drawn out, I just wanted to talk a little bit about the show and the things I've learned from working with my community.
The HMF Fashion Show was on an all volunteer basis. The event was a collection of volunteers from the designers, models, dressers, stylists, hair, makeup artist, the DJ and the producer herself.. (Yep, that's me). Being a producer, I'm my worst critic and so therefore, I over-analyze everything and in my head, the show could have been so much better, but in reality, I know we all did a fantastic job. Yes we ran into technical difficulties, yes we had people who were late (including me), yes we had people who were scared and nervous and yes we had issues at front and back of stage, but in the end, we all came through and I do believe we put on an amazing show. We had some great feedbacks and with this being our first show, I have to say it turned out pretty darn good. We had an amazing group of sponsors: Myself included, REVIVED, My Decor and D&V Cosmetics. My Decor is owned and operated by Dong and I am so happy that he was part of our Set Design team. He truly brought my vision to life and I am so thankful to have him as a sponsor. A fashion show is never complete without a huge runway statement and on my turf, we were going to have exactly that! Dong delivered and I was totally impressed and in awe of the absolute professionalism that surrounded him.
The Fashion Show was amazing and I met a wonderful group of young men and women who were not afraid to step out in faith and pour their hearts out on the runway. We had models who were walking for the first time and models who also did hair and makeup for others. My two personal Stylists (Jesse Lopez and Kashia Moua) even reported back to me that "there were absolutely NO DIVAS!". I am so proud of everyone involved and also to the audience members who made that extra effort to come early and support us. The show started roughly around 1:30 pm and lasted about an hour. With a few technical difficulties, we pulled it off, and the people I met during this whole process has truly lifted my heart to keep doing what it is I love to do. I was able to utilize my passion to infuse my love of fashion and working with people into one. I am the luckiest person to be able to relate to so many people from all walks of life. I was not only a producer but I was also a mentor and a coach to those who volunteered to build on confidence and poise. I wanted to make sure everyone was celebrated and appreciated for the hard work they contributed to the show.
Over and above everything I do, I am a Visual Concept Designer, so my mind is always running with creativity. With this being a Festivity of Music and Arts, you can only imagine where my head is today. I know HMF will be an event that'll only get bigger and better so I can only hope that the Fashion Show will also be bigger and better as well. If you were one of the lucky ones to experience this spectacular event this year, just know that next year will only be better. If you weren't there, I hope you come next year to witness history in the making. HMF represents a wide range of demographics ranging from the classic musicians to the new generation of musicians and artists of tomorrow. We are not only representing who we are today, but we are setting an example to our kids who will one day become leaders of their generation.
I am so proud of everyone involved and I hope that you are part of this event (as a volunteer or an audience member) each and every year. I give a standing ovation to the Director and Executive Directors of HMF! Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to be part of such an amazing purpose of paying it forward for our future generations.
To my designers and everyone involved (Dressers/Hair and Makeup Artists): I want to take this time to thank each and every one of you for trusting me with your designs, your vision and ultimately your brand. I can only hope that I've done you proud as well. Until next year, keep designing and I hope to see an even more advanced and established artist in you! I love you all!
To Ge and Kathy, my HMF Coordinators: Although this was our first time working with one another, you both were such troopers and helped me pull off an amazing show. I can't thank you enough!
To my two personal Stylists, Jesse Lopez and Kashia Moua: I couldn't have done this without the two of you right next to me. You are forever in my heart and I am so happy and so blessed to have you on my team. I hope you'll continue to be right next to me for many more projects to come.
To my two Miss Hmongs (Miss Hmong United 2012 Ariel Yang and Miss Hmong Teen 2012 Jaclyn Xiong): Thank you for setting your crowns down for the day to help your fellow artists shine. You exemplified what a true Miss Hmong represents and its giving back to those who supported you as well. Thank you for volunteering as part of my backstage crew in helping Jesse and Kashia in the background.
To April: You are one of a kind. I'm so grateful that you've been on this journey with me for a few years now. I am so happy that you have never stopped chasing your dreams and are always willing to help and do what it takes to reach your ultimate goal. We have even more projects to work on and I can't wait to have you right next to me! Thank you for being such a hard worker and being part of the Sheng Moua Production team!
To DJ Peekaboo: you were amazing behind that turn table.. I know it was your first fashion show and was probably very different from your everyday disc jockey projects but I'm so happy you took a risk and stepped out in faith with me. Thank you for all your time and effort in making the show so successful!
I walked in as a producer but I walked out as a friend, a sister and a mentor to a group of individuals whom I've never met before. I also met many of the artists from all over the states (some I'm huge fans of) while some I met for the first time, such as Proto-J and Julie Fang to those I've been waiting to meet in person such as Pagnia Xiong, Kristine Xiong and Kong and Shu Lor. Among the amazing artists, I also met staff and crew members of HMF such as Honza (The best MC and our very own Ryan Seacrest) to Cher Peek Lee, an amazing young filmmaker who has an eye beyond his years. I am so proud of the young HMF production team and I can't stop smiling at the thought that I too was part of this amazing group of leaders. HMF is truly history in the making and I can't wait til next year!
|My sister Kashia and I with brothers Kong and Shu Lor|
|The amazing angel voice Kristine Xiong and my sister in Christ|
|Susan Vang-Xiong (Artist Relations Coordinator), Honza (Our amazing MC)|
Julie Fang (Whyte Shadow) and my sister, Kashia
|HMF's new artist winner and my brother in Christ, the very adorable, Alex Thao|
Fashion Show Photos by Jeremy Chaimontree and Phillip Ly So
See more pictures on my facebook page (www.facebook.com/shengmxiong)
See you next year at HMF 2013!