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DG3 Presents Fashion Speak 2014

IMG_0267The most fashionable people in Michigan gathered together on Thursday morning at One Woodward for a day of celebrating the growing fashion industry in Detroit. The Detroit Garment Group Guild  (a.k.a. DG3) put on Fashion Speak for the second year in a row and brought in well-established professionals in the fashion industry, all of who are natives of Detroit.

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IMG_0262Two employees from Lear Corp. spoke about the relations of the automotive industry to the fashion design industry. Some may not believe they relate in any way but the presentation from Jeanette Puig-Pey, the global design manager, and Bridget Sullivan, an automotive fabric designer for the company, showed us how closely they follow trends from the runway and how they work them into the interior of the cars. From colors and texture to stitching and other techniques, these women draw inspiration for their work from fashion. They gave insight into a career path that many people in the room had not considered, and they left many of the attendees intrigued. Who knew fashion and cars were similar in so many ways?

Makers Row founder and CEO Matthew Burnett Skyped into the conference to give us a better understanding of manufacturing, and shared some insight on upcoming business plans. He explained how about 75% of entrepreneurs do not know enough on the manufacturing industry and therefore often do not use these companies to help produce the products. He gave us much hope for a manufacturing industry here in Detroit when he said that many people are looking for more American made products, not to mention it is a much cheaper, faster, and more convenient to use facilities here.

The first speaker of the day was also a Detroit business women, Rachel Lutz, the owner of The Peacock Room, a women’s apparel and accessories shop in the Park Shelton in Detroit. She talked mostly about creating loyalty for your brand. She emphasized how important branding is to a successful business. Throwing the word “Detroit” into your business name is not what is going to make you successful, you must have a story and identity behind the business she says.

IMG_0268Malina Joseph Gilchrist, senior marketing editor at T Magazine, gave similar advice for when pitching material to editors, “What’s your story? How did you get there?” Gilchrist says it’s important to a purpose behind your aesthetic. Knowing your style and what you like will help you establish a brand and set you apart from the competition. Her best piece of advice, do one thing and do it well, the best that you can.

The last speaker of the event was American fashion designer Tracy Reese. As a CFDA board member and with First Lady Michelle Obama as a frequent client, Reese is well established in the fashion industry. She talked about her journey through her successful career, starting with her time growing up in Detroit and her time studying at Parsons to her time working with Marc Jacobs and when she first launched her own label. She talked about her success as well as her mistakes andIMG_0272 how she learned from them. After receiving this advice from her father, and learning through her own experiences, she told the attendees that her number one key component to a successful business is quality.

Through all the advice, life stories, and fashion talk, it left many of us feeling inspired. With many members of the Detroit fashion community in attendance, we hope Fashion Speak has sparked them to continue to build on the resources we have here and create an industry in our own city.

Some of our highlights from the day are also captured in the pictures below:

unnamed-1{Pictured above are some of the lovely Fashion bloggers in Detroit. #Bloggerheaven. Pictured – left to right: blogger wearischelsea, fashion meets god,  our very own, Founder of Styleshack, Rachel Schos,  ColourbyNumbr, Style-Mile, BrandBarr}

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 {Rachel Schostak with Carlotta Tutt Holloway}

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