When local residents hear the phrase “Detroit versus everybody” a few things might come to mind. One could be the famed song by Detroit rappers and singers like Eminem, Big Sean and Dej Loaf. Another might be the t-shirt brand started in the city.
But “Detroit versus everybody” could also describe the mentality of those who participate in a growing industry. Emerging artists on the local style scene, like Fashion Group International’s Regional Director Latrice Delgado-Macon, believe the city is up and coming. Just like in the competitive climates associated with such fashion-centered cities as New York and Los Angeles, when it comes to Detroit fashion, Delgado-Macon says the strong survive.
“I think if you make it in Detroit you can make it anywhere else,” says Delgado-Macon. “We have that mentality here that we work harder. I don’t know what it is, but I think that Detroit is very strong when it comes to getting that knowledge in, and we work real hard to get out there.”
To help promote local apparel and designers, Fashion Group International will host the “FGIDetroit Ready to Wear Trend Event for Spring/Summer 2018,” showcasing Detroit styles at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 9 at 2501 Russell St. near Orleans. The event will introduce fashions that have never been presented in Michigan, including attire, prints and colors.
Established in 1930, Fashion Group International is a worldwide non-profit that specializes in sharing knowledge about fashion awareness, marketing and public relations, as well as hosting networking events and educating those who want to enter the industry. Delgado-Macon became Detroit regional director about four years ago.
Events similar to “FGIDetroit Ready to Wear” – like 2017’s Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Detroit Garment Group collaboration “VERGE,” showcasing about 30 fashion designers – have helped heighten interest.
Local fashionista Nicole Bien-Aime, owner of Voluptuous Bien’Aime Boutique for plus sizes, says Detroit’s fashion scene has let her and her clientele enjoy visibility and recognition since she opened her store in June 2013.
“It’s about helping women have their voice, which is fashion, and just being plus size now, finding things that are flattering for you that look good and that are stylish,” Bien-Aime says. “I wanted to be that person that you can go to and say, ‘Hey, I want something different. I want to look good.’”
Yvette Jenkins, owner of Love Travels. Imports., a 5-year-old, Detroit social enterprise and lifestyle brand, works with artists and designers as far away as South Africa, Guatemala, Peru and Haiti. Still, Jenkins says Detroit’s fashion industry is unique because it’s not just about the style and appearance, but about the local attitude toward those in the industry.
“What sets Detroit apart is determination and resilience,” says Jenkins. “We are die-hard survivors. People like to see and support those that have the courage to step out there.”