Designer Nary Manivong is debuting his latest collection here before taking it to Fashion Week

It's showtime. Fashion designer Nary Manivong, who left New York last year to return to his hometown of Columbus, is debuting his latest collection here before taking it to Manhattan for Fashion Week. His runway show event, which is from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 28 at Strongwater, will showcase roughly 15 looks. Tickets cost $25 in advance at and $30 at the door. We talked with Manivong about the collection, the event (which includes a DJ and cash bar) and the importance of good seating (even if it means building it yourself).

-Kristy Eckert, @kristyeckert

Why debut the collection in Columbus rather than New York?

To celebrate a new journey, celebrate a new beginning. I just felt (I wanted to) give back-treat Columbus to a sneak peek right before New York Fashion Week.

What type of vibe will the event have?

I want it to feel like a proper New York fashion show. I wanted to create an environment where people feel the clothes are great, the fashion is great. My goal is to create build-up for my next show here.

And part of a proper fashion show means benches, you say-not chairs.

I didn't want to do chairs, because I think chairs are used for weddings.

But you couldn't find benches you wanted. So what'd you do?

I went to Lowe's and picked up wood and started making benches. I have a team of guys, from photographers to designers, who are working together.

How many are you making?

Probably 30.

What attracted you to Strongwater as an event space?

The raw space. The history of the area, the history of the space. I didn't want something so new or clean. I wanted something raw and rustic. I wanted to go back to my inspiration for the collection-imagining this Parisian girl wandering the streets of Laos.

Your parents are from Laos, and you've incorporated some of that heritage in your collection. How?

I have leather and silk (fabric) that is handmade in Laos. These ladies are spending hours and days looming this leather and silk into a print. I'm taking traditional and modernizing it with my aesthetic.

Your collection includes several dressier pieces, but all the models are wearing Vans slip-on sneakers on the runway. What's the inspiration there?

I wanted something really easy and classic. I've done a lot of heels in the past. My pieces do have a look like you could just wear it out all the time. How do I imagine this Parisian girl hanging out in Laos? With tennis shoes. And how much more classic can you get than with Vans slip-ons?

How much will the pieces in the collection cost once they are in stores?

They're going to be $150 to $500 for tops and $395 to almost $2,000 for the skirts and dresses. The $2,000 will be for the handmade leather and silk pieces.

Do you have a favorite piece in the collection?

The silk and leather dress, definitely. Because there's sentiment behind it. It represents what the brand identity is all about.