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A Letter from DG3’s President: Why Detroit Desperately Needs a Fashion Design Incubator

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Business incubators are nothing new. In fact, the first U.S. incubator opened in 1959 (and is still operational today). However, fashion design incubators are a more recent development, with the most well known, created by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, only running for a handful of years. Today, fashion design incubators are cropping up all over the country, but I could argue that no city could benefit from its own fashion design incubator as much as Detroit.

If there is one thing I have learned about our fashion design community it's that it is much, much larger than anyone realizes. The problem? Our fashion designers are so spread out across the area – with the bulk of them working out of their homes – that with a few exceptions, the national fashion world and the national media have no idea that Michigan has serious fashion game.

DG3 keeps a regularly updated spreadsheet of legitimate Michigan designers, and our count is more than 100. This number does not include any of the college students currently enrolled in fashion programs around the state.

So, you may be wondering, if we have more than 100 fashion designers actively designing (both part time and full time), why aren’t there more success stories? More of them becoming familiar names/brands? More national attention?