Metro Detroit-born and based fashion designers and models continue to make big moves. For New York Fashion Week (NYFW) this month, designers displayed their fall/winter collections through runway shows, gallery-like presentations, and virtual shows, and models took to the runway for local and international brands. Here’s a closer look at what happened.
On Feb. 11, Detroit-born and Brooklyn-raised designer Aaron Potts presented his collection at New York Men’s Day, a bi-annual fashion show dedicated to promoting emerging talent in men’s and genderless clothing. The genderless collection, titled “SkinFolk: Skin Tones, Sculptural Shapes and Noir-Romantics,” consisted of 27 looks inspired by the colors — black, rosy, and deep rich browns — of the models’ skin tones. Clothing was paired with footwear from men’s shoe brand Florsheim. Potts’ intended to uplift the community and pay tribute to diversity and creativity with the collection.
Detroit-born designer Valdez Hodge, creator of unisex clothing and accessories brand Dez Delmar, gained popularity on social media after displaying his puffer collection, “The Prototypes Deluxe,” at Indie Fashion’s show on Feb. 12 at Manhattan’s Lavan54. Based in metro Detroit, Indie Fashion showcases local and national designers at NYFW every season. Hodge used nylon with 3D-puffed skull logos to create exaggerated, never-before-seen puffer coat and vest designs.
Presented in a public, virtual show on Feb. 15, Detroit native Anna Sui’s “Ready, Steady, Go!” collection embodied “’60s Mod flavored with the opulence of ’20s Deco and the flair of the ’80s Nuwave,” according to Sui. The tangerine and violet color palette seen throughout the show emulated these eras — as well as neckties, schoolgirl dresses, patent leather pants, knitted miniskirts, faux furs, and punk-inspired belts.
Novi native Sarah Kolis presented her couture looks and bridal gowns for the first time at NYFW during Runway 7’s fashion show in Midtown Manhattan’s Sony Hall on Feb. 10. Runway 7 is a showcase for upcoming and underground designers and artists to display their work during fashion week. Kolis’ seven-piece collection was inspired by vintage and luxury couture. “Each piece has a quality of feminine beauty and classic elegance,” she says. “The gowns are fully structured and created with the most luxurious fabrics, many in 100 percent silk. The floral fabrics themselves are vintage.”
Born and raised in Detroit and now based in Los Angeles, womenswear designer Kevan Hall was back this season with his newest collection, “Trading Post.” With blackened gold and copper metallic details, “Trading Post” was inspired by prints and textiles from Mali, Tarshish, and Morocco and other Northern African regions. The time-traveling themed show was presented virtually on Feb. 16 and took viewers through history to folklore and exchanging wares.
Detroit-based fashion label Deviate displayed its Detroit to NY Showcase, “A Bird Trusts its Wings,” on Feb. 2 and 3 near Union Square. The walk-through exhibit consisted of various art created by metro Detroit artists, an audio story, and a collection of upcycled, sustainable clothes. The brand was featured in The New York Times for its presentation. However, Deviate faced backlash on social media from Detroiters who were offended by the brand being portrayed as the face of Detroit fashion in the Times’ coverage and the publication’s erasure of Black creatives. Detroit photographer James Charles Morris created a reimagined version of the article that represented what he and other locals believed should have been the story.
Detroit native Lia Massey made her NYFW debut with her collection “Revenge” on Feb. 10 at New York Fashion and Music Conference (NYFMC), a live-streamed event that showcased a variety of designers and music artists. The themes of the collection and show were beauty in strength, perseverance, and overcoming obstacles in 2021. “Using the simple palette of red, black, and white, I wanted to tell a story of struggle, change, and the beauty that stems from it,” Massey says. She emphasized the importance of change through the juxtaposition of pieces in her collection.
Born in Milford and signed to the agencies Our Model Management and Major New York, model Amanda Austin walked for Greedilous by Tilda’s “Flowers From Venus” show on Feb. 14 at Spring Studios. The collection was a collaboration between Greedilous, a Korean fashion house, and Tilda, an artist and designer AI created by LG AI Research. Tilda is known for creating bold patterns, collages, and multimedia designs, which explains the vibrant prints Austin wore in the show.
Detroit native and model Janiya Hamblin didn’t just model for one show — but for five. She modeled at NYFMC, as well as Indie Fashion. At NYFMC on Feb. 10, she modeled a red, glimmering dress for custom clothing brand In My Genes, a feathered, gold dress for custom clothing brand Kraev Fashion, and a detailed mesh black dress for Detroit brand Lia Gabrielle. For Indie Fashion, Hamblin modeled an array of glasses for The Don Smith Collection, and a two-piece set for Detroit’s own Dez Delmar.
A signed model from Detroit, Trent Madison walked for streetwear brand Who Decides War on Feb. 16. “Witness,” the fifth collection created by the brand’s designers Everard Best (aka, Ev Bravado) and Téla D’Amore, consisted of distressed denim, patterned outerwear, and a sneak peek of Who Decides War’s Nike Air Force 1 Air Max Dawn sneaker collaboration. Madison modeled a fluffy sweater that said “MRDR,” which is part of Bravado’s brand Murder Bravado. The look was completed with matching mittens, distressed jeans, Nikes, and a large bag. He also modeled a look called “The Winged Suit,” an all-white suit with distressed feathers popping out.
Detroit-based model Nyla Colvard made her way to the Big Apple to model for Detroit clothing brand ADonLife: The Don Smith Collection at Indie Fashion on Feb. 12. The collection consisted of sunglasses and eyewear, and Colvard made a statement on the runway with large-framed sunglasses.
Detroit native and Brooklyn-based Kortnei Garrett modeled for A.Potts’ show for New York Men’s Day. He was dressed in a burnt orange, oversized two-piece matching set. Garrett also walked for Los Angeles’ fashion house No Sesso’s runway show, “A Girl with Dolphin Earrings,” at Lower East Side’s Performance Space on Feb. 16. The brand, whose name means “no sex/no gender” in Italian, emphasizes nonconformity and empowering all people no matter who they are. No Sesso presented upcycled materials — as well as a sneak peek of its Levi’s collaboration. Garrett wore a denim jacket with functional utility pants with many zippers, pockets, and straps.
Dearborn native Anisa Dagher modeled for Brandon Maxwell’s Manhattan show on Feb. 12. The collection paid tribute to the womenswear designer’s grandmother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Maxwell also paid tribute to familial closeness and youth through the pieces. Dressed in a sleek, beige strapless dress and matching jacket set, Dagher took the runway with models such as Karlie Kloss. On her wrist, Dagher wore a 3D, large rose bracelet.
Keen Khalid made his debut as a model during A.Pott’s show at New York Men’s Day. The Detroit model wore a three-piece matching set that consisted of a jacket, pants, and a scarf made of a boiled wood blend. The outfit had a brown-orange tie-dye pattern. “The pants had black wool piping details, drawstring waist, and were really long — which caused a billowing bell-bottom effect,” Khalid says. “The jacket was lined with deep, brown silk. All of the pieces were extremely soft, but heavy to keep warm.”