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!