WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Beside tables covered with sewing machines and scraps of fabric, Angel Fant sorts through dresses and outfits in an open suitcase.
She picks up a long white dress with a woman’s outline painted on the front.
“This one was inspired by my prom dress,” Fant said.
The dress is just one of several in her latest collection, “Surviving Angel.” The pieces traveled with her to Paris for Fashion Week just days ago.
“It was great, I would do it again, and again, and again a whole bunch of times,” she said with a laugh.
Fant and her daughters run their fashion line, called No Punching Bag, from their Winston-Salem home.
She said the business was the product of a conversation she had with her daughters years ago.
“We wanted to make a difference with domestic violence awareness and we felt it was a conversation that was really uncomfortable for people to talk about. So we were like, ‘Let’s do something indirect, something we like to do,’ and what we’re good at is art,” she said.
She said when they got the invitation to show a collection with Flying Solo, a group of designers based in New York, they jumped at the chance.
“(We) raised the money that we needed, which was $5,000 in four days,” she said.
The line features purple fabric, the same color used for domestic violence awareness, as well as strong women figures from history.
She says that as a survivor herself, she didn’t start telling her story until creating the line.
“I think it’s important that my story counts and everybody’s story counts no matter what it is,” she said. “I lived through this, I’m living through this. It’s not the easiest situation to be a survivor of domestic violence.”
Fant also speaks to school groups about dating violence and partners with other local organizations to help survivors of abuse.