Booming bass rattles the concrete floors and steel beaming of the industrial building. Shouts of last-minute instruction from designers and event staff are muffled behind the black curtain separating an anticipatory audience from backstage chaos.
As pre-show rap, fire-twirling, and hip-hop dance performances signal the impending start of the main show, the gray mist clouding the building’s glass-paned garage doors dissipates into golden hour — as if coordinated with the show’s schedule to ensure ideal lighting for the photographers crowding the runway’s edges.
You’d think you’d been transported to an uber-minimalistic New York warehouse — hazy yellow sky tint and all — for a designer’s Fashion Week debut, if not for the stone building engraved “Eastern Market” looming through the ceiling-high window of Shed 3, and the sports cars framing the runway’s entrance, in true Motor City fashion.
On its eleventh year of “showcasing and highlighting Michigan’s prestigious talent in the fields of fashion design, photography, art, and modeling,” Michigan Fashion Week shows its age in experience, but not in its designs.
This year’s streetwear runway looks varied thematically but had one common denominator: Their auras of curated, mature edginess were disrupted by rebellious, youthful nuances that proved the designers’ prowess in modernizing culturally classic streetwear to appeal to a new generation hyper-fixated on trends.
Designers took innovative approaches to staples of streetwear style — denim, graphic tees, colorful prints, and utility wear — giving their designs trendy updates through patchwork seams, corset boning, risqué cutouts, hand-painted prints, and Gen-Z-popularized accessories.
Flya Than Average
Kicking off the runway was streetwear brand Flya Than Average, whose designs featured elevated basics such as biker shorts, baggy athletic pants, graphic tees, and oversized crewnecks and sweatshirts in a neutral color palette of blacks, whites, and browns.
Many of the garments were brand-focused, displaying a variation of the ‘Flya’ logo to denote the pieces as designer. Red accents and shiny glints of stacked necklaces, bracelets, watches, and glasses emphasized the simplicity of the garments, giving examples of their ability to serve as minimalistic bases for a well-accessorized designer outfit.
Mixing microtrends with streetwear classics, Dniomi’s looks varied from youthful, summery daytime outfits to high-fashion monochrome and denim ensembles, and everything in between.
Designer Darien Niomi’s personal style goal to “be bold, be daring, make people ask, ‘Who is that?’” shines through in her custom designs. Standout looks included a denim butterfly-cut corset and shorts set adorned with cross emblems — a signature of the brand’s runway collection; a cropped blue sweater paired with a pink daisy-embroidered blue checkered skirt; a red quilted cropped jacket with ultra-mini cut-off shorts; and a hand-painted vest that harkened back to Niomi’s creative beginnings in elementary art class.
Streetwear met resort wear in Yubehandmade’s collection of crocheted bikinis and coverups. Fringe-lined bikini edges, bright tropical colors, and waist-defining cutouts accessorized with stilettos and oversized sunglasses tied together the chic vacation looks more fit for a yacht in Europe than the beaches of the Great Lakes.
Highlighting the unique use of crochet for swimwear, a number of pieces — all of which were designed freehand and without the use of patterns, according to the brand’s website — featured trailing yarn laces and intricate, web-like detailing.
Royal Oak-based jewelry brand Citrine Tangerine proved accessories are a runway necessity by adorning black, white, and pink smock dresses and bodysuits with beaded chains fashioned into belts, waist and body chains, chunky necklaces, and even a fringed skirt overlay.
The Howlite- and onyx-beaded accessories, some of which are now available for purchase on Citrine Tangerine’s website, cinched dress waists stood out against monochrome ensembles, rejecting the recent decline in accessory popularity on red carpets and runways.
Dirty Diana Brand
With a brand mission to “brighten up” the world through their designs, Dirty Diana Brand understands the impact of color in streetwear.
The collection’s neon yellows and electric oranges lit up the runway with bright flashes of color against muted camos and beiges. Outfits ranged from casual tees, basketball shorts, and loungewear sets to polo mini dresses and custom jerseys — all subtly detailed with the cursive Dirty Diana Brand logo.
Bucket hats were a brand staple, styled to color coordinate with the fabric of shorts or the logo on a tee.
Also logo-centric was Jon Jamar’s collection of looks, which encompassed a range of streetwear styles.
Unique pieces like a logo-printed hockey jersey, paint-splattered oversized denim jacket, and a graphic biker short and tee set appealed to current trends, while classic looks including a black mini dress accessorized with knee-high socks, a pearl necklace, and a leather beret balanced it out.
At a crossroads between comfort and flair, Jamar’s collection was unflinching in the face of bold patterns, colors, and fabrics.
Marrying high fashion and denim in an unexpected, shockingly elegant collection, Skye La’s designs combined heavy jean fabric with feminine elements such as tulle, silk, and pearls.
Featuring deconstructed denim, looks included patchwork denim dresses and two-piece sets; a denim maxi skirt with a tulle train and matching tulle tube top; asymmetrical jeans with a blue tulle leg paired with a pearl and denim bra; and a cowl-neck gown with a flowing train fastened to a denim corset torso.
A returning brand for MI Fashion Week, Mahogani Collection once again featured their stone and beaded necklaces and statement earrings on the runway as a compliment to colorful dresses, tees, and shorts with Eye of Horus prints.
Chunky necklaces shone against the sleek printed garments drew attention to the heavy beading and rough-cut stones in coordinating colorways.
Style Est. At Birth
Style Est. At Birth’s collection exemplified the essentials of modern streetwear. With a focus on wearable basics, the brand featured graphic hoodies and cropped tees, distressed jeans, blazers, and bomber jackets.
Elevating the designs were unique elements like backless cutouts and a utility buckle on the blazer, and an acid-washed knee-length trench. They also stenciled their logo onto the back of denim cut-off shorts and down the leg of a pair of jeans, which added a touch of edgy brand personality to the classic American style.
Not one to shy away from a bold pattern or innovative silhouette, Vera Sacrum’s collection interspersed well-tailored, neutral-toned ensembles with bright-colored cropped utility and puffer vests, black leather pants and matching gloves, and a denim butterfly-inspired corset paired with butterfly-print patchwork pants.
The brand, which focuses on “uniqueness” and “individuality,” according to their Instagram, seamlessly transitions between simple, light, comfortable looks and bold, dark, edgy styles, offering something for everyone.
This family-owned Ann Arbor-based brand — whose brick-and-mortar store doubles as a local art gallery — combines sleek, minimalistic basics with maximalistic prints and accessories that lean into the resurgence of early-2000s trends.
Accessorizing a black leather mini dress and platform boots with a hot pink furry bucket hat and purse, designer Julia Brown toes the line between chic and camp. Muted, baggy garments were paired with graffiti-print jeans and a matching puffer bag. Brown invoked peak early aughts nostalgia with a Bratz doll print mini-skirt set, the girly campiness later offset by a full denim Matrix-esque floor-length jacket.
Featuring a star and bone motif, 1derful’s denim, leather, and olive-green garments contrasted structured and slouchy styles. Stand outs included oversized star-printed maxi skirts, a sweatshirt with bone printing down the arm accessorized with a plush bone body chain, and matching denim and leather jacket and pant sets.
Described as an “exploration of morality” by designer Bryan Wilson, the brand’s bone motif is meant to encourage viewers to “see themselves in the same position” as the skeleton, according to the brand’s website.