This week, I had the opportunity to go to the Fashion Speak event in Detroit! It was hosted by the Detroit Garment Group Guild, or DG3, and was held in the Woodward Building. It has a lovely panoramic view of Detroit with its floor-to-ceiling paneled windows and was designed by the architect, Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the World Trade Center. The striking building was the perfect place to hold a series of workshops based on business, creativity, and success. There were several speakers who had a lot of great advice for people looking to pursue a career in the fashion industry.
First up was Rachel Lutz, who owns a boutique called The Peacock Room in Detroit. She focused on tips for branding that she learned from opening a new business. She mentioned that she looks up to brands like Shinola for capitalizing on their location in Detroit. It started out as a simple shoe polish company but was revived in a way that makes them a luxury brand. This willingness to evolve, she argued, is what makes for a strong brand, especially in the fashion industry.
Next we heard from Jeanette Puig-Pey, who is the global design manager for an automotive seat supplier, Lear Corporation. They incorporate the latest technologies in printing and industrial design to create beautifully crafted seats for luxury cars. Puig-Pey’s fine art background led her to organize a fashion show for the company. It included high-fashion garments paired with a complementary seat for cars like Corvettes, Lamborghinis, and Feraris. According to Puig-Pey, “there’s a very concrete connection between fashion and the auto industry.” What better place to hear this than Detroit, Michigan?
Mattew Burnett spoke via video chat and is one of the founders of Maker’s Row, a company that connects industrial manufacturers with small to medium-sized American businesses. He started out his watch and leather goods company with production overseas. After a small, but costly production mistake, however, he decided that he wanted to source his manufacturing domestically, and that he wanted to help other Americans do the same.
Okay, it was starting to feel surreal! Malina Joseph Gilchrist, the senior market editor of T Magazine, also gave a speech. She encouraged us to find one thing we're good at, and focus on building that skill until we're the best at it. Having grown up in the suburbs of Detroit, she’s a big supporter of all things Michigan.
Tracy Reese was the headliner of the Fashion Speaks event. She grew up in Detroit and then moved to New York to attend Parsons Design School. Now she’s a crazy talented designer! Her designs can even be found at Anthropologie!
DG3 announced that Detroit is creating a Garment District! This is a big deal, people. It’ll take some time to develop, but they are already scouting possible locations in the city.
After the workshops, we had the opportunity to chat with speakers and with each other! Many of our fellow attendees were bloggers, students, and fashion-lovers. They obviously had great outfits, so I snapped some Street Style shots!