5 Reasons to Love the Detroit Fashion Scene

5 Reasons to Love the Detroit Fashion Scene

by Alisha Hartley

 Although Detroit’s fashion industry might still seem small to some, there’s no denying the fact that it’s already getting a lot of attention and patronage. The city has long been recognized as the historic heart of the American automotive industry, but local fashion visionaries like Laura Collier, Cynthia LaMaide, and many more are using the Motor City’s reputation as inspiration for their unique lines and designs. Fashion Group International’s regional director Latrice Delgado-Macon knows the national and global competition is steep, but is convinced that the Detroit fashion industry has what it takes to survive. “I think if you make it in Detroit you can make it anywhere else," she says. "We have that mentality here that we work harder."

 Apart from this unique brand of perseverance, there’s so much more to the Detroit’s local fashion than meets the eye. Here are our top five reasons to love the Motor City’s fashion scene:

 It’s Environmentally-Friendly

IMAGE SOURCE: A Wool Story

IMAGE SOURCE: A Wool Story

 Many of the designers based in Detroit are young, aspiring artists pursuing their dreams of becoming fashion designers. But more than that, they are their own brand of advocates, too. For instance, textile artist Meghan Navoy creates fashion pieces using zero-waste methods of production. She uses ethical materials for her creations and she loves to forage for dye materials locally. Bridget Sullivan is another designer to take note of, as she uses thrift garments, lace, paints, natural dye, and organic kozo in her creations. These include vintage gowns that she repurposes into beautiful wedding dresses.

It Empowers Women

IMAGE CREDIT: RockCity Lookbook

IMAGE CREDIT: RockCity Lookbook

 ... and local artists, too. RockCity Lookbook co-founder Bree Gant and Stephanie Blair Watts started a blog that they describe as an outlet and reflection of themselves. "Getting dressed is one of the many ways we connect," Gant explains. Among their goals is to empower young black artists who were doing great work in the city but weren’t being represented in the media properly.

 It Comes in all Shapes and Sizes

photo credits @hungryindetroit

photo credits @hungryindetroit

Here at j’adore Detroit we believe that there’s nothing more badass than women who uplift women — and Detroit brands make sure that’s what they do. In the international scene, body positive brand Woman Within makes sure to offer sizes 12 through to 44 on most of their items, which translates from a size small all the way to 8x. This sounds like a simple move, but for women who find it challenging to purchase clothes for their sizes in stores that often only carry a small part of that spectrum, it makes a world of difference. In the Detroit scene, local designers are paying attention to these needs, too. The recently concluded local size-inclusive pop-up event sponsored by 11 Honoré and Christos featured over 100 curated pieces for women to choose from, offering a variety of clothing to fit different body types — an important show of awareness that all women come in different shapes and sizes.

It Gives the Locals Jobs

IMAGE SOURCE: Pexels

IMAGE SOURCE: Pexels

 The local industrial sewing trade has been growing over the past few years, thanks to the development of local design and production. This robust growth has even led local community colleges to offer an Industrial Sewing Certificate Program for those looking to learn and make money from the trade. Design schools and colleges have started offering creative studies, too, to equip aspiring designers with the right fashion and design know-how.

 It’s Relatable

IMAGE SOURCE: Pexels

IMAGE SOURCE: Pexels

...not to mention personal and down-to-earth in levels that international fashion and bigger retail brands would find difficult to reach. Detroit style isn’t solely about latching on to the latest, most popular trends. It’s not about outshining others either. Instead, it focuses on meaningful ways of expression and connection — all evident in the way designers create their lines and where they get their inspiration and materials. Nelson Sanders, founder of local fashion brand The Seen, has a passion for bringing people together through fashion and is one of the best examples of Detroit fashion being easily relatable. It’s because his designs aim to incorporate and highlight the different neighborhoods and small businesses in Detroit.