No Punching Bag is a Winston-Salem based family-owned fashion brand for social change. Made up of mother Angel Fant and daughters Danielle and Tenijah, No Punching Bag promotes a sense of community and unity in the quest to end violence against women and children. Their designs will be showcased in Paris for Paris Fashion Week on Feb. 28. You can follow their work on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We interviewed Angel, who will be traveling to Paris by herself.
How and when did No Punching Bag get started?
The conversation started in 2014 and we were founded in 2015. Basically, it started with a conversation about domestic violence, violence against women and about the #MeToo movement. Since we’re artists, we wanted to see what could we do about it. As a child, I was abused and I was a child of a mother who was a domestic violence survivor. It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have about these things and we thought, ‘Why don’t we have a brand.’ As time went on, we began to showcase social issues in fashion shows.
How did you come up with the name?
It had to be very blunt. We played around with it, but it had to be very direct. I’m a domestic-violence survivor but the brand is not just about domestic violence. It’s about self-worth and it’s about respect. The foundation of No Punching Bag came from domestic violence, but the ultimate goal is to have a society where people will love and respect each other.
How did you get into fashion design?
Fashion has been my dream since I was in third grade since my aunt sent me my first fashion design kit. I’ve been drawing since I was a kid; I can just about make anything. People contact me for all kinds of stuff. As a kid, I remember going to the Ebony fashion show in Winston-Salem and I wanted to be a model but was told, ‘You’re gonna have to grow a few more inches,’ but I never grew! So, I set my sights on fashion design.
What inspires your designs?
We all have different inspirations. Mine is portraiture and painting. I love to paint. Awhile back I made a cape that has hand painting on it with portraiture of historic women like Oprah Winfrey, Marilyn Monroe, Mary from Mary’s Gourmet Diner, Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks. Women who have paved the way for so many people in society.
Danielle’s designs are more geometric, and Tenijah, we don’t know what she’ll come with but it’s always like, ‘Wow.’ We combine all of our designs together. I want everyone to be able to relate to the designs
How did you end up getting invited to show at Paris Fashion Week and how do you feel about showing there?
We were invited by Flying Solo Designers. And then we started a Go Fund Me. The folks of Winston-Salem are helping me get to Paris Fashion Week. To be featured in Paris Fashion Week is really amazing. Paris is the capital of fashion. I’m very excited; of course, I’m excited.
We have a global mission and just to be able to use our platform and take it elsewhere, out of the US, that’s pretty awesome. We decided to do the collection in purple mostly because purple is the color for domestic violence; it’ll be symbolic of domestic violence. I’m excited to see Paris. I’m gonna go to the Eiffel Tower; I’m gonna go everywhere.