He and his siblings were abandoned by their parents when he was 14. He spent some nights sleeping at an East Side doughnut shop and others crashing wherever he could. At 17, he put on his first fashion show. Nary Manivong, now 28, worked incessantly for years to go from homeless Columbus teen to critically acclaimed designer.

He and his siblings were abandoned by their parents when he was 14. He spent some nights sleeping at an East Side doughnut shop and others crashing wherever he could. At 17, he put on his first fashion show. Nary Manivong, now 28, worked incessantly for years to go from homeless Columbus teen to critically acclaimed designer.

"Dressed," a documentary that follows Manivong's preparation for his first New York Fashion Week in 2008, features industry experts talking about how hardly any of the thousands of new design companies started each year will succeed.

So how did Manivong do it?

In high school, he'd spend hours at libraries and bookstores reading everything he could find about fashion. Then he would deconstruct clothes found at second-hand stores so he could learn how they were made.

His fascination stemmed from seeing a stylish alternate universe in the pages of Vogue.

"It was just not having the clothes growing up. I felt like an outcast," Manivong said in a phone interview last week. "All the kids were showing off what they got for Christmas or on their birthday. Even though we had friends in school, we felt like we didn't fit in."

After high school graduation, Manivong moved to New York with $200 in his wallet, determined to launch his design collection.

Along the way, the budding designer agreed to let filmmaker David Swajeski create a documentary about him.

"I wanted to tell my story," Manivong explained.

Of course, that story didn't end when the documentary did. As the experts in the film state, one successful Fashion Week show does not mean a designer has made it.

Months after the camera stopped rolling, Manivong abruptly lost his financial backing. He continued undeterred and eventually decided to pursue a partnership with Ally Hilfiger, Tommy's daughter, while putting his namesake collection on hold.

Their line, Nahm, premiered at Fashion Week on Feb. 11, and their inventive takes on the shirtdress received positive reviews from Women's Wear Daily, Style.com and other fashion authorities. Manivong said he has been busy meeting with buyers from stores - a sign of the show's success.

Despite everything, Manivong still has a sense of Ohio pride: He wore an Ohio State shirt to the Nahm premiere. He said it's one way to thank his friends and supporters back home.

"I love Ohio. I love the Buckeyes," he said. "It was showing the love and letting people know that Ohio is the state where I came from."

He believes the hardship he faced while growing up made him a stronger person.

"It allowed me to grow up a little bit faster, so I knew what I was getting myself into," Manivong said. "At a young age, I had to work right away. So I didn't mind putting the work into whatever I was trying to achieve. It gave me mental toughness."

Dress up for the premiere

To celebrate the film's Midwest premiere, designer Nary Manivong, his fashion partner Ally Hilfiger and "Dressed" director David Swajeski will appear at the Drexel for both evening screenings on Friday, Feb. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 26. There will also be a meet-and-greet wine and cheese reception with Manivong and Swajeski at the Hammond Harkins Gallery from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. both evenings for everyone who has a ticket to the 7:40 showing. The designer and the director will also hold a Q&A session after each evening screening of the film.