October 21, 2016

DGG's Fashion Speak 2016!

To “Keep Michigan Talent in Michigan” is what the Detroit Garment Group’s mission is. Fashion Speak, Michigan’s only conference for the fashion industry aims to provide education, resources, and inspiration. Five nationally recognized fashion experts each conduct a 70 minute workshop that does just that. The crowd consists of fashion designers, stylists, bloggers, photographers, business owners, and students ready to learn. The event is held annually at the beautiful One Woodward, with scenic views of the riverfront and downtown Detroit. Continental breakfast and lunch is served, and breaks are provided for the attendees to mix and mingle with each other, and the experts. First up, was Tradeshow 101, presented by Lauren Kirsch Weiss, buyer at Freeds of Windsor. Lauren gave a listing of each tradeshow that anyone in fashion should either attend, sell, or buy from. She gave insight into making great connections with buyers by saying, "You need more than a name and number", and that it's "so important to really be personable." She also stressed to "no matter what, give them paper of some form", and to tell them "why you're special, and why they want you." Next up, was Determine and Develop Your Best Product, presented by Amy Dietrich, with 20 years of experience as a designer and product developer of women's apparel in NYC. She was very inspiring, by saying things like, "Whatever you're meant to do, you're going to find a way to do it", and "Start with what you do best, then add on." Then was How To Elevate Your Brand, presented by Karen MacDonald, Public Relations Expert. Karen suggested to "mention your product name at least 2 to 3 times" when being interviewed. She also felt you should "satisfy and steer when given difficult questions." The fourth presentation was Get Your Foot In the Door: Developing Relationships with Larger Companies, presented by Annette Repasch, Group Vice President, Softlines of Meijer. She said when selling to companies "be confident, optimistic, and you gotta be resilient." I personally loved her statement that fashion is now "a lifestyle, there is no age." The keynote speaker was Jeffry Aronsson, former CEO of Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, and interim CEO of Emanuel Ungaro and Ralph Rucci. Jeffry told the eager crowd that "your passion makes up everything", and "repetition is what makes reputation." When asked what helped him with his success he said, "Don't ever underestimate the importance of good luck." He met Oscar de la Renta by a circumstance of pure luck, and "found a soul mate in a friend and business partner." This is why I love Fashion Speak. You are reminded that you are not the only one with a dream, the Michigan fashion industry is on the rise, and that anything can happen!

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