Motor City Fashion

While I typically write about super cars, today’s blog post focuses on super fashion . . . in the Motor City.

“Verge”, presented by the Detroit Garment Group in partnership with Pure Michigan Business Connect, lived up to its claim of being “Michigan’s most inclusive fashion trade show.”

Held August 7, 2017, at The Garden Theater in Detroit, Michigan (USA), the event featured a wide array of local area fashion designers and entrepreneurs boasting “Made in America” products.  Exhibits ranged from designer jewelry (made from graffiti!) – to high-tech (heated) sportswear – to avant-garde swimwear.

The Garden Theater itself was a perfect venue for uniting local area exhibitors in a common cause:  to share their “wears” in a trade show forum.

The variety of products was impressive, each person with a unique offering and inspired story.  Here’s a recap of the most memorable items and people.

Made In America

Two exhibitors were particularly inspirational for their focus on being “Made in America”.

American Made Performance (AMP), manufactured in Pontiac, Michigan (USA), http://www.ampusamade.com

Line of fishing and resort apparel that is grown, woven, and sewn in the U.S.  Co-founded by Bill Ludwig, former COO of Campbell Ewald advertising and Lon Mettler, one of the original partners of Tommy Bahama.  Features contemporary wildlife images by artist Ryan Keene.  I spoke with Terrence Fortuna, who explained the AMP product line-up and showed me a video about the artist who created the fish graphic in this design.

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Linda Busch Private Collection, by Linda Busch, http://www.lindabuschpc.com

A “Made in USA” brand, Linda’s collection comprises “women’s accessories designed and engineered for life”.  I particularly liked the leather handbags, with specialized hardware for both aesthetics and durability.

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Fun & Interesting

Booty Shawl, by Pattie Breen, http://www.bootyshawlmall.com, http://www.mybootyshawl.com

“The hip-hugging friend for your back end”, featuring models Stella Draper, Audrey Hipburn, and Isabella Wrapalini, touts itself as “function, fashion and flirt for any lifestyle.”  Products are versatile to wear with tights, jeans, under sweaters, or over swimwear.  Meghan Trainor-All About That Bass

Mikko Amaté, http://www.mikkoamate.com

I enjoyed talking with these engineers turned fashion designers, who create bold designs using high quality leather.

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At The Extremes

Rebel Nell, by Julia Rhodes, julia@rebelnell.com

As stated on the poster, this brand creates “defiant jewelry” (made from graffiti!).  Detroit-based social enterprise that empowers women, creating graffiti jewelry from chipped paint and offering classes in financial success.  Talk about creative ideas!

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Luxury Veils & Accessories, by Ariel Taub, Owner & Designer, http://www.arieltaub.com

Specializing in luxury veils and accessories, Ariel is approved by Swarovski! for incorporating crystal beads in designs.

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Maggie May Swimwear, by Magdalena Trever, Founder, info.maggiemay@gmail.com

While I couldn’t picture myself actually wearing one, I fully appreciated the creative designs of these high end, avant-guard knitted bikinis.  Each is “a piece of art, richly adorned with extravagant trims, glass buttons and beading.”

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Warmth, Comfort & Style

FNDN Detroit, by Travis Lemanski, www.fndn.com, info@fndn.com

Fashionable, durable, heated clothing (vests, scarves, gloves), inspired by the paint ball industry.  “Form and function perfectly aligned”, it advertises “Make Winter Epic” – perfect for Michigan winters!

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Erin Renee Apparel, by Erin Renee, http://www.erinreneesews.com

Faux fur infinity scarves – perfect for winter weddings, (which was the original inspiration for this product).  Other “flannel and fur” designs provide even greater versatility.

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Wrapped in Love, by Karen MacDonald, Founder, WrappedinLove.com

Fashion accessories and clothing designed for women with cancer and convalescing – providing warmth, comfort, beauty dignity and style.  This product line was inspired when the artist’s mother was in the hospital.

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Comfortable for Every Day

Reversible Co. , by Sara Searing, reversiblecompany@gmail.com

Traveling (and need for economies of space when packing) sparked the design of these upscale basics – which (as the name implies) are reversible.  The products come in neutral colors, are tag-less, and can be washed normally.  The idea started with kids’ wear.  Sara stressed that “fabric matters”, and the materials were chosen with care:  bamboo jersey that doesn’t stretch, pill, or fade. The clothes can be worn year round, and are great for traveling.

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Sugs Shoppe, by Tamara Strzelecki, Sugsshoppe@gmail.com

Comfortable women’s wear for every day.

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Making A Statement

I found the products with an underlying theme or message to be most compelling.

Not Sorry Apparel, by Dy-Min Johnson, http://www.notsorryapparel.com

Just what the name implies, this designer won the event’s pitch contest for best premise  (unapologetic for being from Detroit).  In this photo, Dy-Min is clearly “not sorry” for winning the prize!

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Gärb, by Conner Meager, connermeager@gmail.com

Limited edition menswear that is all about freedom – in both design and color, with all elements contributing to a sense of well-being and freedom.  Products sell for a premium by word-of-mouth only, for those seeking a one-of-a-kind item.  These products are sought after by teenagers and young adults “in the know.”

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The Freestyle Collection, M. Keith Jennings II, http://www.thefreestylecollection.com

“Fashion is a statement, if you ain’t rockin’ the mic… what are you really sayin’?”

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Adamant, by Constantin and Stefan Constandache, adamantdesigner@gmail.com

“Two brothers from Detroit who aim to raise awareness about current social and environmental events through fashion”, their collection is designed to spread awareness about endangered species.

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And last but not least, my personal favorite

Katherine Cross Design, by Katherine Cross, http://www.katherinecrossdesign.com, info@katherinecrossdesign.com

Luxury fabrics and materials in unique combinations (such as African necklaces) set this designer apart.  She even develops her own fabrics!

Overall rating:  I would give this event a 4.5 out of 5 stars, for a number of reasons:  1) its intent – showcasing local designers; 2) the venue – beautiful Garden Theater in Detroit; and 3) the people – an interesting array of designers and innovative products.

Detroit’s got heart, and this trade show is one more example of local talent and entrepreneurship in motion.  Well done!

Copyright 2017, LuxAutoLadyBlog, All rights reserved

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