By: V Lynne Smith
FashionSpeak2018, Michigan’s largest conference for the fashion industry, which is held annually in October at the One Woodward building in Detroit. The event created by the Detroit Garment Group and presented by Taubman, brings together nationally recognized experts in fields crucial to the success of the fashion industry, each conducting a one-hour workshop centered around the business of fashion. The conference is the perfect place for those looking to network and learn how to take their fashion business to the next level.
The conference opened with a panel discussion on “Going into Business with a Partner: Should You or Shouldn’t You?” The panel participants included Laurie Tennant, Elizabeth Mays, and Sara Searing, which was moderated by Linda Schlesinger-Wagner owner of Skinny Tees. The event continued with workshops from this year’s speakers Aki Choklat, Chair of the Fashion Accessories Design Department at College of Creative Studies, Tommey Walker Jr., principal designer at Detroit Vs. Everybody, and costume designer, Phoenix Mellow, who served as the keynote speaker.
It was Detroit Native, Tommey Walker, Jr., the man behind the iconic brand, “Detroit vs Everybody” who gave attendees a humorous, yet down to earth presentation on branding. Walker knows a thing or two about branding and was the perfect choice to speak on the topic. “The Birth of a Brand” details how “Detroit vs Everybody” grew into one of the most coveted brands reaching markets far beyond Detroit’s borders.
Fed up with the constant media bashing Detroit received Tommey Walker, a graphic designer by trade, set out to create a brand that Detroiters could wear with pride while restoring an image to a city that was rising from the ashes like a phoenix. “Detroit vs Everybody” was rooted in one simple goal, rebuilding Detroit’s image through the restored pride of Detroiters universally". Since its debut in 2012, Detroiters immediately took to the brand. Then in 2013, Keith Urban wore the tee on “American Idol,” and “Detroit vs Everybody” went viral overnight. This kind of exposure has allowed “Detroit vs Everybody” to become a forceful movement within Metro Detroit allowing the company to grow to 7 locations. The slogan is simplistic yet powerful and can work for any city, company, group of people or location that has ever felt it was in a competition to survive. That’s the beauty of branding the “Vs Everybody” collection.
“Detroit vs Everybody” has attracted national and international fame which falls in line with Tommey’s Walker’s plan to bring the “Vs Everybody” brand to everyone. Walker owns the trademark on the “Vs Everybody” brand which has allowed him to collaborate the NBA, MBL, NFL, NHL and, Faygo. Tommey Walker has even created an item in honor of breast cancer awareness, donating a portion of proceeds from the “Everybody vs. Cancer” Collection to Karmanos Cancer Institute throughout the month of October. When asked about other philanthropic opportunities, Tommey is also working on creating the Tommey Walker Sr. Foundation, named after his Father. The foundation would educate and mentor young people in entrepreneurship.
Phoenix Mellow, a costume designer known for her work on Comedy Central's television show, Detroiters shared some insight on being a costume designer. Phoenix has worked alongside some of Hollywood’s extremely influential designers including Ruth Carter, serving as an assistant costume designer on Marvel’s hit movie “Black Panther”. Having a background in Fashion Design really gave her an advantage when working on “Black Panther” as she was able to make the costumes that she designed. One of her favorite projects was working as a stylist on Katy Perry's “Hey” music video as there were no boundaries and is able to release her passion for high fashion and keep a fun edge to her work.
FashionSpeak is presented annually by Detroit Garment Group. For more information on Detroit Garment Group out
their website at www.detroitgarmentgroup.org.