Fashion in Detroit: a chuckle-worthy oxymoron or a burgeoning scene? You decide Motor City Fashion Week founder Dana Keaton already has.
"People in Detroit spend millions of dollars on fashion, but they don't realize that we have local designers too. They don't know we're here," she says.
MCFW will kick off its Seven Days of Fabulous at 7 p.m. Monday, July 30, at the Model T-Plex, in Detroit.
"It's fabulous, but it's crazy too," Keaton says of the weeklong extravaganza. The week includes not one but two runway shows (Aug. 3 and 4 with a performance by singer Suai on Aug. 4), a trunk show (Aug. 5), a fashion art exhibit (July 30-Aug. 5), and workshops on everything from sewing to modeling to makeup application, all in the name of putting Detroit on the map of American fashion meccas.
While she may be highly visible as its creator, Keaton isn't the only force behind MCFW. After it became apparent that putting together Fashion Week would be a gargantuan task to take on her own, Keaton teamed up with designer Sharryl Cross. "I'm the founder. This is my brainchild, but Sharryl is my partner," Keaton explains.
Keaton's DivaGroove clothing line is far from haute couture, but it's distinctly wearable. This kind of pragmatism in both her design and her choice to include classes as part of MCFW stems from her strong desire to be an educator in the fashion world.
"I have a fashion mentoring program that I teach on Saturdays for young people interested in fashion," she says. "We have a lot of young designers who need to learn things about the fashion industry."
Keaton also seems to be fully aware of the challenges she will face in trying to breathe life into a Detroit-based fashion scene. Knowledge must come before design.
"I'm trying to create awareness," she said, "Motor City Fashion Week is a chance to show them what we've got."
Motor City Fashion Week will run from Monday, July 30, to Sunday, Aug. 5; visit motorcityfashionweek.com to see a list of events, locations and ticket information. The Fashionable Art Exhibit, which is free, runs daily from noon to 8 p.m. until Aug. 5 at 4731 Gallery, 4731 Grand River Ave., in Detroit; 313-894-4731 The Model T-Plex, site of the opening and some other events, is at 411 Piquette St. (at Beaubien), Detroit.
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