October 16, 2015

Fashion Speak Detroit!

Yesterday I attended Detroit's biggest Fashion Conference, Fashion Speak! Being this was my first time attending, I had a very little idea of what to expect. Was I glad that I went though, because this event far exceeded my expectations! The event was held on the second floor of the beautiful Fifth Third Bank building, on One Woodward. In a room surrounded with tall glass windows, we had a breathtaking view of the city. High-top tables were reserved for bloggers, tables for seating, couches for lounging, and hundreds of chairs circled the room, making it easy for anyone to view the center stage. Continental breakfast, lunched by Buddy's Pizzeria, and appetizers and cocktails were the options served throughout the day. There were 5 different workshops, presented by 9 speakers, each an hour long with time for questions at the end. The first presentation was by Taubman, owner of multiple successful malls, including Great Lakes Crossing, and Twelve Oaks. Each speaker spoke a different part of their business, including opening a business, visual, leasing, and marketing. When asked the question, "if malls are slowly closing down, how are Taubman malls still thriving?", they gave the perfect response. They summed up that they stay current, evolve with the times, welcome social media and technology, provide interactions with customers and stores, and constantly bring in new additions. A perfect example would be their addition of the overwhelmingly popular Cheesecake Factory. With 2-3 hour wait times, diners are presented with an opportunity to shop while they wait. This was all terrific advice to people who just want their business to stay relevant. Kim Banat, VP of First Merit bank was the second presenter, and spoke of lending between banks and businesses. Kim made it clear that loans are not as difficult to recieve these days, and banks are itching to provide them. This was all helpful information for those who have never borrowed loans before. Roslyn Karamoko was third to speak on behalf of being the owner and fashion buyer of her business, Detroit is the New Black. With an in depth story about her personal journey in fashion, it was easy to connect with her poised demeanor, and cheerful spirit. She stressed the importance of traveling to understand culture and diversity, doing your research on trends, and providing what consumers want. Kristen Deryck, freelance production manager, was the fourth speaker. She provided all the steps from concept to production of designs. Kristen made it very clear that it is crucial to check who you work with, and follow along with them on every step of the production process. Kevan Hall, Detroit-made fashion designer was the keynote speaker and final presenter. Being interviewed by Karen Buscemi, head of Detroit Garment Group, Kevan inspired all designer hopefuls in the room that their dreams could become realizations. From working under world renowned design name, Halston, to outfitting celebrities on the red carpet, to dressing Michelle Obama, Kevan proved that it could be done. With points like, "social media is the competitive advantage young designers have today", and "you are your brand, so you must present yourself well", Kevan hit the nail on the head. Following that, there was time for pictures, cocktails, connecting, and mingling with fellow fashionistas. Business cards, compliments, and hugs were exchanged all around. With so much information and advice, Fashion Speak was a well worth trip! I thoroughly enjoyed the event, and plan on supporting future Detroit Garment Group events, and attending next year's Fashion Speak as a guest blogger!

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