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Talent Incubator for Detroit’s Women & Minorities

Empowering emerging designers, brands, creatives, and passionate people to become agents of change in their own communities.

$977
pledged of$30,000 goal
15
42Days Left
Fund it
Campaign Ends on October 31, 2020

Project Description

What is the mission of your company or project?

To equip designers, brands, creatives, and passionate people with the skills, knowledge, network, and confidence to succeed in the fashion design and apparel production industry.

Describe the problem you are solving.

There are a ton of opportunities in the fashion industry, but not many are aware of those opportunities or properly trained for them. We are based in Detroit where the retail and apparel production industries are growing rapidly! It's exciting to see our city diversify into different industries, but who will benefit from this diversification? In order to ensure our local communities benefit from these new opportunities, we need to support the talent that is right here in the city. We have had many conversations with established retailers, fashion brands, and cut/sew production companies and they all express having difficulty finding local talent to employ. On the other hand, we talk with local students, designers, professionals, and creatives who are unable to find work in Detroit and end up taking a less desirable job or leaving the city altogether. There is a clear disconnect.

We started asking ourselves how we can bridge this gap. How can we support local talent with mentorship, proper training, and access to our network? How can we support the local businesses here and empower them to hire local talent? We realized we needed an all-encompassing solution, so we launched a Talent Incubator for Detroit's fashion industry with a focus on supporting women and minorities. We understand that by cultivating and retaining the talent we have here in Detroit, we can provide access to jobs in an industry that has serious upward career mobility.

What is the market size/opportunity?

According to McKinsey’s FashionScope report, "70 percent of the top growth cities for apparel sales by 2025 [will be] emerging market cities." We are starting in Detroit because this is our home city, but the potential is everywhere. This is not just a place-based model, we can bring this to other cities! The timing is perfect, and the career opportunities are already here. 

What is your company/product about and how does it solve the problem? 

We operate a talent incubator for designers, brands, professionals, and creatives. We have built out a welcoming space and a solid curriculum to provide our members with a well-rounded experience to learn about all facets of the fashion industry and specialize in areas that interest them most (production management, industrial sewing, fashion design, pattern-making, couture design, brand development/management, client management, etc.).

Our members do NOT pay a membership fee, in fact, we pay our members! We are able to do this through a unique business model that we have crafted. By leveraging our existing production contracts (i.e., producing apparel, accessories, etc.), we are able to actually employ our members and provide them with real-world experience while supporting the growth of their brands, their companies, and/or their own skills. 

Why are you seeking funding and how will you spend the funding?

We are seeking funding for two reasons:

1) we have outgrown our space! This is exciting, but also challenging to find a space that we can afford that will support our growing team. We need at least 2,000 sq ft which does not come cheap. We are asking for $20,000 to support 6 months of rent, or potentially be combined with additional funds to purchase a space outright.

2) we are launching a youth member program! We want to bring in 10-15 youth members a quarter to provide them with mentorship, training, and real-world experience in the industry that will inevitably help connect them with opportunities in their community. In order to compensate the students for their work, we will need at least $10,000 to provide 6 months of runway while we secure additional production deals to support this new program.

Who is on your team?

Cassidy Tucker, Co-Founder

Cassidy is the Co-Founder of Deviate and oversees all business development efforts. Cassidy graduated from Princeton University where she was a part of a founding team her Sophomore year. She had her first multi-million dollar exit at age 23. She believes in the power of her community.

Kelsey Tucker, Co-Founder

Kelsey is the Co-Founder of Deviate and leads creative direction. Kelsey graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in Fashion Design and Textile Design. Kelsey is a successful fashion designer who has worked under well-known designers such as Vera Wang and Adolfo Sanchez. She cares deeply about people and is dedicated to correcting the wrongs of the world.

Dianne Avila, Program Manager

Dianne graduated in 2019 from Michigan State University with a double major in Apparel and Textile Design and Political Science. With a passion for both design and law, she hopes to continue her design journey by bringing attention to the lack of ethical and sustainable policies that govern the fashion industry today.

Abigail Miramontes, Lead Technician

Abigail "Aby" graduated in December 2018 from Wayne State University with a degree in Design and Merchandising with a concentration in Apparel Design. Aby was born in Long Beach, California and raised in Detroit. Aby is a first generation Mexican-American. Her long-term goal is to create a brand for all women that empowers every woman of color.

Angela Orr, Production Lead

Angela “Angie” is from Detroit, Michigan and graduated in 2020 from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Apparel and Textile Design. From dressing herself at four years old to participating in a design internship in New York City, fashion has been a constant presence in her life and a therapeutic form of expression. She hopes to integrate more creative youth from the inner-city into the fashion industry in order to provide more opportunities in communities where there is an inherent lack of creative outlets.

 

To those who have supported us already, thank you for your time and your resources! To those who took a moment to read more about our initiative, thank you for your time! We have an amazing community, and if you would like to be a part of it or come tour our facility and meet our team, please don't hesitate to reach out!

 

Updates

The Campaign FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who are you helping, exactly?

Great question. Simply put, we want to help whoever we can. Now here's the long-winded answer: We are focused on supporting women and minorities within our community because through our on-the-ground experience we have found that these individuals are having the hardest time accessing the career opportunities in the fashion apparel and production industry in Detroit. That being said, we do not turn away those who walk through our door. Right now, we have a team of eight women who are a part of our Talent Incubator Cohort. There are additional designers who are on a waitlist to join. We are working hard to grow and scale everyday to get our waitlist number down to 0. Your donations help us get there and we are so grateful. 

How much do you pay the members working on your team?

We pay our members anywhere from $10-$13 an hour. We project to raise the rate to $12 - $15 by the end of Q1 2021.

How do you help people?

We are teaching our members all of the following highly-coveted skills: fashion design and collection ideation, technical sketching, pattern-drafting, pattern grading, prototyping, industrial sewing, full scale production planning, draping, boning, embellishing, and textile dyeing. We have helped incubate and launch two new fashion brands since we launched our program March 1, 2020. We have employed seven women through a pandemic. We have supported three brands and helped them design, plan, and launch their very first collections. We are just getting started.

Do you have a proof of concept?

Absolutely! Since March 1, 2020 we have been proving that this initiative is one for the keeping. The Deviate team was able to produce a proof of concept despite all odds.  Deviate partnered with Detroit's Industrial Sewing community to support the production of tens of thousands of isolation gowns for the State of Michigan. We were able to leverage this production deal to build out a model that supported local designers who wanted to lay down roots in the fashion and production space in Detroit, but did not have the access or resources to do so. During this time, we supported the launch of two new designer's products, two new fashion brands launched, we helped one seamstress find a permanent job in Detroit, and we trained eight local women in industrial sewing.

You can read more in this article here (https://www.modeldmedia.com/features/deviate-ppe-program-060220.aspx). 

How has COVID impacted your business?

Similarly to the rest of the world, we have definitely been impacted by COVID-19. We launched this program right before the pandemic hit, and it has been a rocky road to stabilization. But we got there. The fact we can produce a proof of concept in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic reaffirms that this is real, and we need to keep going.

Our team practices social distancing, wears PPE, and we take every precaution possible to do our part and stay safe for our families and our community.

Pamela M
09/18/2020
Deviate Detroit Fashion City Beanie
$50
Lily Ochs
08/31/2020
Thank You!
$25
Kathleen Savage
08/20/2020
Deviate Detroit Fashion City Beanie
$50
alex
08/19/2020
Thank You!
$25
GODNII LLC
08/18/2020
Deviate Detroit Fashion City Beanie
$50
Nicole Renault
08/18/2020
Deviate Detroit Fashion City Beanie
$50
Mary
08/17/2020
Deviate Detroit Fashion City Beanie
$50
Bob Sagot
08/17/2020
Monetary Contribution
$1
Sally Stubbs
08/17/2020
Hand-Dyed Ruffled Pants
$200
Sally Stubbs
08/17/2020
Hand-Dyed Ruffled Pants
$200
Monetary Contribution

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3 Supporters
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50.00 USD
Deviate Detroit Fashion City Beanie

Our team will produce and send you DET FSHN CITY beanie! You cannot get these hats anywhere else as we no longer sell them online or in store. Now is your chance! :-)

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7 Supporters
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25.00 USD
Thank You!

Thank you for your donation!

3 Supporters
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Rewards

Monetary Contribution

n/a

47 Left
3 Supporters
Select this reward
50.00 USD
Deviate Detroit Fashion City Beanie

Our team will produce and send you DET FSHN CITY beanie! You cannot get these hats anywhere else as we no longer sell them online or in store. Now is your chance! :-)

43 Left
7 Supporters
Select this reward
25.00 USD
Thank You!

Thank you for your donation!

3 Supporters
Select this reward