BY ADELE CASANOVA
Artist Angel Fant started her company, No Punching Bag, in 2015, and it has become an international fashion brand for social change. Angel runs the business with her two daughters, also artists, Tenijah and Danielle. “I believe in art with a purpose,” says Angel. “I started my fashion brand based on my journey as a human with my family.” Angel and her daughters create fashion collections that draw attention to pressing social issues. Their collections, along with the artful presentation of those collections, address social issues and tell the story of how these issues affect all of us. Collections created by No Punching Bag include Beauty Stereotypes, Racism, the Me-Too Movement, Gun Violence, and Domestic Violence.
“Our fashion collections are based on the cries we hear from society,” states Angel. Collections are designed to show how social issues affect all areas of our society, including government, law enforcement, healthcare, education, politics, etc. The Gun Violence Collection features orange, the color of the gun violence prevention movement. No Punching Bag’s design and presentation of the Gun Violence Collection presents the question, “Who is holding the gun?” Angel describes the collection this way, “Gun violence impacts everyone in our society and has meaning for all of us. We each have a responsibility to understand gun sense and gun safety.” The Domestic Violence Collection features purple, the color of domestic violence survivors. Angel has a personal connection to this collection, as it represents part of her own story as she has journeyed through life. No Punching Bag’s upcoming collection, called Ballot, will feature red white and blue and is aimed at a timely message of the importance of voting and participating in our future through the political process.
Fashion garments for the collections are designed and produced through a detailed process, first with research, then by sketching, followed by physical creation, which includes a custom fitting to the model who will wear it in a presentation to a targeted audience.
Each presentation of a collection focuses not only on the garments but also on the big picture of the societal issue represented. Angel and her daughters use the garments in conjunction with carefully selected graphics and music to tell a story on the runway. The production of these presentations has developed over time to include many steps from choosing the societal issue and researching its history and impact on society, sketching the designs, model calls, garment production, fittings, audience selection, venue selection, and the artistic inclusion of graphics and music.
Angel and her two daughters have been sewing and designing since they were young girls. All three share equally in the design and production of each collection. If 15 garments are planned, each takes on the task of designing and creating five of the garments. They bring their unique design styles to the collections. “We each organically create designs we feel represent the theme of the collection,” says Angel. They work together without any bossing or micromanagement of each other. They also each play important individual roles within the design company. Angel is the Creative Director handling all aspects of the presentations, including location, music, lighting, etc. Danielle is the Lead Designer, and Tenijah oversees the communication and marketing of No Punching Bag.
No Punching Bag was invited to Paris Fashion Week in February 2019 and was selected by Paris Fashion Week Online as a Trend Setter. “Our participation in Paris Fashion Week brought global attention to the issues we were addressing, as well as global recognition of our fashion designs. This resulted in other invitations to participate in fashion events throughout the world, including New York Fashion Week, in which we participated in September 2019. Being at Paris Fashion Week put our business and Winston-Salem on the fashion map,” recalls Angel. No Punching Bag now has a global customer base and has generated passion and interest in the social issues it addresses.
Angel describes the business as a fashion company focused on societal change. She and her daughters are learning to balance business with the goal of social awareness for society’s most pressing issues. Their main goals are to build their business as well as bringing attention to these issues, and support the movements that are dedicated to decreasing the problems, reducing hate, and promoting love.
Angel’s advice to other women interested in creating a company focused on societal change is, “Be true to yourself; tell your own story. Become personally attached to the goal and understand that your personal experience with a difficult issue is only a part of your life and does not define you. Remember that others are counting on you to be a voice for change.”