Natalie Rivera and Isabelle Torres of Fantazma Market & Cafe, a small business entrepreneur hub at The Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC), are gearing up for the 2nd annual Detroit Day of Fashion Show (DDOF).
“It hasn’t always been fashion-based here. We have different events and cater to everyone from singers, to entrepreneurs, musicians, DJs, and even painters. Then we realized as we were planning our events that we were missing people still in this creative world. Natalie brought the idea of doing fashion. I agreed with her because this allows people who may not get the opportunity to be creative to use this space for exposure,” said Torres.
Rivera and Torres went on the hunt for up-and-coming local designers in the city, including Southwest Detroit. To find designers ready to share their original pieces with the world, they followed hashtags and sought out local shops over the course of three months. There are a total of 14 designers who will be displaying their designs on the runway on Friday. March 10th.
Of the 14 designers, only one from Southwest Detroit was also a part of the first DDOF show last year. “Designer Emanuel Moreno is our only male Latino Designer straight from Southwest, and we are very proud to have him. His brand is Fresh 51 Clothing; he specializes in incorporating Detroit streetwear with designer clothing creating one-of-a-kind pieces,” said Torres.
Moreno, who also goes by ‘Manny Fresh’ says growing up in Southwest Detroit was not easy, but he was able to create his fashion line based on his urban atmosphere. He married both worlds of his interest in high fashion and “incorporated the raw, authentic urban city vibe.”
The other designers are from various backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common: They are from the city of Detroit. Most designers are Black women, like designer Rose Marie Lewis, a wife, and mother of six, who has created a swimwear line called Yubehandmade. Her designs are made of yarn to create “sexy crochet clothing and swimwear.”
Some designers who are interested in being a part of Detroit Day of Fashion but didn’t make the cut this year are encouraged to put their best designs forward. They may not be ready for the big runway, but space is created for them to grow. Torres explained. “So the designers that weren’t quite there yet, we give them tips. We created a fashion show for them called 313 Labels. So this is for those staple brands, such as hoodie and t-shirt brands.
“Our goal is to promote local Detroit talent since the city is an upcoming fashion city and attract more business to the undiscovered artists. We’re trying to boost more engagement from the community and see if we can reach out to more unheard-of designers and models for future fashion events,” Rivera said.
According to Torres, show attendees will get a chance to meet one on one with designers and purchase original pieces. “It’s important that the designers get this exposure and sales coming their way. The show is free of charge to the designers, who can set up vendor booths to monetize their designs. This is a community center; we don’t ask for anything from designers. We just ask them to arrive on time. We encourage them to come and be a part of this show so they can continue to grow.”
The public can attend Detroit Day of Fashion this Friday, March 10th, free of charge, at DHDC located at 1211 Trumbull St., Detroit, MI 48216. The show will run from 6 pm to 11 pm. There will also be free beer and wine available for those 21+.
Amber is a freelance writer born and raised in Detroit. She has published work in publications such as Forbes, Chevy in the D, Model D, and Rachel Ray Every Day. She enjoys art and eating her way through the city in her free time.