Origin Story

The Ao Dai Festival Origin Story

Developed and led by Jenny Do, an attorney by trade with a passion for the arts and adamant belief in social change, the Ao Dai Festival brought together a group of artists and social activists that firmly believe in the concept of humanity through arts. That means we produce art and utilize it to change our society in positive ways. It also means that we intend to make direct social impact through forwarding Vietnamese culture and the arts for generations to come.

Jenny Do founded the Greenrice Art Gallery where she invited artists to share the belief that art can serve as a vehicle to raise awareness on prevalent social concerns such as human trafficking, women’s rights, and child abuse. The Gallery’s “Human for Sale” exhibition is a typical example. “Human for Sale” was a photo documentary that has travelled throughout the U.S. for the purpose of raising the public’s awareness on the issue of human trafficking in Southeast Asia. From this experience, the Ao Dai Festival was conceived. One of the principal social themes of the first Ao Dai Festival was the restoration of the dignity of women who were victims of human traffickers.

What motivates Ao Dai Festival’s organizers to engage in this endeavor, however, is a children shelter in Central Vietnam.  Established by the Friends of Hue Foundation (FHF), a California non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO), the shelter has been the home of many children who were once neglected, abandoned, and abused.  Many of them now have become productive members of the society and are taking initiatives in not only in transforming their own lives but also the lives of the needy youth that come after them.  As a result, FHF has become an exemplary US-led NGO in Vietnam, particularly in the region around the ancient capital of Hue.  It should be noted that FHF also operates other humanitarian programs such as natural disaster relief, microloans for the poor, and mobile medical clinics.  The Ao Dai Festival is the principal fund raising vehicle for FHF’s children shelter.

We are proud to say that the Ao Dai Festival has successfully achieved its dual goal:  to promote culture and the arts while continuing to help those in need. For example, while the event has been recognized as one of the most significant contributors, with respect to art and culture by Vietnamese Americans in San Jose, it has also inspired donors to provide financial support to FHF’s children shelter. One remarkable achievement by the shelter is that the Ao Dai Festival has brought a sense of pride to FHF’s children, such that half of the current shelter staffs now consist of youths who once were children placed under our care. These youths represent the future leaders and in turn are training the next generation to give back to their communities.

The Ao Dai Festival also serves as a cultural site that has attracted some of the most talented artists and designers and showcased some of our best Vietnamese performers internationally. Moreover, we have young people from local cities to across the nation participating in the festival on a purely voluntary basis. Many have expressed their pride after seeing their culture depicted through the arts and performances at the Ao Dai Festival.

In addition to servicing the Vietnamese ethnic communities, the Ao Dai Festival has generated among the mainstream community a deeper appreciation of the richness of Vietnamese history, which is often reduced through common perception to America’s participation in the country’s bloody civil war. We highlight the best aspects of the Vietnamese culture, which generally remains unknown to those of non-Vietnamese background, not only to express our pride but also to contribute to the multi-cultural fabric of the U.S.

Because of the overwhelming reception garnered from the previous Ao Dai Festivals, both nationally and internationally, we envision the festival will grow with each year and spawn similar enterprises. Expanding the values behind humanity through arts will undoubtedly help expose the wonders of the Vietnamese culture and assist its people globally as well. We are grateful for all those that support our work.



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Áo Dài Festival on May 12th will once again celebrate all of us. Thank you so much for those who have agreed to take part on this important day. It will be the day that we unite a thousand hearts and create of a beautiful tapestry of Vietnamese American arts and culture!

However, the event cannot be successful without proper preparation. Below are the schedules for both meetings and practices.

Location: Akiyama Wellness Center
110 N. Jackson Street, San Jose, CA - (408) 753-9283
Parkings are the streets around the property.

The Sakura dance room is reserved for all the practices:

April 15 10-1pm
April 28 2-5pm
May 6 10-1pm
May 10 6-9pm

Meetings will be at the Ginkgo room on the following days (no practices but just meeting for logistic discussions):

March 18 from 11 - 2pm
April 8 from 11-2pm

Thank you again very much for your past contribution and your continued interest in supporting/participating in the colorful Ao Dai Festival! If you have any questions, please feel free to write to us at info@aodaifestival.org or jennydolaw@gmail.com or call us at 408-758-2686.

Can't wait to see you all!

Warmest regards,

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Ao Dai Festival V, Saturday May 12th, 2018 at the Fairmont Hotel San Jose. www.aodaifestival.com. For tickets: www.eventbrite.com/e/ao-dai-festival-v-tickets-42953289445?aff=es2

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Have you had your áo dài measurements done? Have you made one to attend the Festival this year? Below are tips on how to measure it according to Ceci Ao Dai. (Mọi người đã có số đo để may áo dài chưa? Nếu chưa thì xin chuẩn bị để đi dự Áo Dài Festival. ) "Tips for measuring for your ao dai:
Stand straight
Wear the same bra and shoes you'll wear with the ao dai
Don't wear bulky clothes
Note the following measurements are measured all the way AROUND each of the subject:
Bust, waist, hip, neck, upper arm, elbow and hat.
Make sure your measuring tape is closely fitted, but not tight
Dress and pants length is up to your preference, it can be shorter or longer.
Warning: If the front of the dress is too long, it could cause difficulties when walking.
Get someone to help
ALL measurements should be in centimeters and whole or decimal numbers.
ALL measurements are required!"
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