After a year of virtual meetings, the members of the Fashion Association of Merchandising and Design (FAMD) took a day trip to Detroit to learn about career opportunities in Michigan. 

FAMD normally has an annual trip to learn about the fashion industry. A group of 12 went to New York City in February 2020 where they volunteered for New York fashion week as model dressers. Due to Covid-19, they were unable to take an out-of-state trip this year.

Instead, FAMD President Emily Doyle, Saginaw grad student, decided to plan a day trip on March 26 to explore opportunities in the Detroit up-and-coming fashion industry.

“It was cool to see like the new Detroit scene,” said FAMD Treasurer Haylee Lupinetti, Las Vegas senior. “Like I know it’s up and coming, and a lot of businesses are going down there so I’m excited to see it in the future.”

A group of 10 fashion students visited Deviate, a Detroit-based fashion label, to learn about the process of starting and running a brand.

Deviate founders, Kelsey and Cassidy Tucker, showed the group around the space they share with The Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan.

Kelsey Tucker, co-founder of Deviate Fashion, shows FAMD members pieces from Deviate’s most recent line at the Deviate office in Highland Park, MI on Friday, March 26.

During and after the tour, FAMD members asked questions about the industry, designing and networking.

Kelsey and Cassidy shared with the group things they wish they had known when starting out. 

After Deviate, the members of FAMD visited the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit to see the current exhibition, Dual Vision.

Their next stop was to the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC), located above Carhartt’s retail store in Midtown, to see behind the scenes of manufacturing. 

Members were told about the ISAIC paid apprenticeship, which teaches courses on traditional sewing as well as advanced technology like the circular knitting machine, which can knit a Carhartt hat in 45 seconds.

“I really liked ISAIC,” Livonia junior Sophia Belletini. “I feel like it’d be really cool to take the industrial course because I am merchandising so having that skill, I think would be really cool and could get me other places.”

Katie O’Connor, education and training manager at ISAIC, shows FAMD members industrial sewing equipment on March 26 at the ISAIC facilities in Detroit. 

Members of FAMD were able to see a different side of the fashion industry, one that is closer to home for many in the group. 

“We wanted to do a panel of Detroit businesses,” Doyle said. “Just to kind of showcase what you could do locally, like, you don’t have to go to New York City to be in fashion.”

Unfortunately, Doyle didn’t get enough responses to host the panel. Instead, she reached out to Deviate and ISAIC and set up the trip to Detroit.

“I felt pretty good about what we were showed, especially with Deviate,” Doyle said. “I wasn’t expecting that, like, in depth of, I guess an introduction to the brand, so that was really, really cool. It’s nice to just have a little, day trip. I get to interact with people more other than just having a meeting, you know. So yeah, I’m pretty happy with how today went.”