Detroit Fashion Collective: Keeping Fashionistas in The Great Lakes State

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Independent local fashion designer Adriana Pavon has a vision that could one day do for fashion made in Detroit, what Berry Gordy once did with Hitsville USA, Motown's precursor. Yes, Pavon, 35, really believes her Detroit Fashion Collective, a new incubation, production and showroom space for designers and fashion creatives, could eventually be just that big of a hit.

"We are a town of talent, manufacturing drive and creative vision,'' says Pavon.

The idea driving DFC is a vision to recast Detroit as a hub for any new designer, while drumming up enough demand to stem the tide of designers moving to established fashion capitals, New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Pavon says the twist is linking together Detroit designers, makeup artists, fashion stylists and photographers with opportunities, training and resources to produce in Detroit. “The industry is already here if we can just bring the pieces together in one space.’’

While Gordy began his little dream with an $800 family loan, Pavon has been the beneficiary of other creative lending talent, time and intellectual capital. Through collaboration with downtown realtors and entrepreneurial mentors, Pavon has secured physical space and community sponsors and mentors. “If you can collaborate you can do almost anything in Detroit right now.’’

Pavon’s showroom space opens in downtown Detroit in late September, as a showcase for the work of locals as well national designers visiting the area as part of the DFC’s guest lecture series. The DFC's raw production space will operate out of a 30,000 square-foot shared cooperative building in Corktown. Student and local designers have the option of paying a membership fee to participate in training events, marketing and networking sessions.

"Ultimately, what we lack is more the resources and the access to opportunities to carry out and executive the design right here. I’ve been traveling to L.A. and New York, collaborating with companies that very much believe Detroit has creativity and want to expose their clients to the quality being made here. ‘’

In 2010, the Mexico City native's fashion line won the Fashion in Detroit Local Designer Award.  Born into a family of garment workers in Mexico City, Pavon has spent the past 17-years designing women’s clothing for private clients and sourcing fabric and fibers for others in the industry. But for the past two years her most prized design has been sketching the vision for the DFC, traveling the country sourcing materials and building a pipeline of venues willing to help her feature Detroit designers nationally. She insists it's a dream ready to hit the runway.

"The creative outpouring in this city is amazing. I could choose San Francisco or L.A. but I live in Detroit by choice because there isn't another place where you could come up with an idea and have such a large community ready to share and collaborate with you.''

Listen to Nichole Christian's podcast on the Detroit Fashion Collective from our affiliate WDET.