This article was authored by Jocelynn Brown and originally published by The Detroit News (here).
Sisters Cassidy and Kelsey Tucker, both Detroiters, are doing their part to help launch Detroit as a major source in the fashion industry with Deviate, a fashion label they co-founded in 2018 that specializes in edgy and contemporary designs.
"The timing worked out nicely because I was leaving my previous venture and Kelsey was just coming back from Los Angeles working with (fashion designers) Vera Wang and Adolfo Sanchez. We both were looking for our next move, and we'd always been best friends growing up, so it just kind of made sense for us to work together." explained Cassidy, a political science graduate from Princeton University.
The Detroit-based company also operates as a "fashion brand and white-label service provider, offering prototyping, pattern-drafting, production, embellishing, and textile dyeing."
A romper designed by Dianne Avila.
Cassidy, 25, noted, "We make everything ourselves. My sister went to school at Wayne State University for fashion and textile design. She can whip up an incredible design in an hour." Their line of fashion pieces include men's, women's and unisex collections, and they're sold on their website (deviatefashion.com) and at Detroit is the New Black store, 1430 Woodward, in downtown Detroit.
However, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two found themselves quickly shifting gears to produce a different type of wearable -- personal protective equipment (PPE).
"When COVID hit, we pivoted really hard into production. We started producing PPE -- masks and isolation gowns. We did that in partnership with Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC), a non-profit in Midtown supporting the manufacturing industry in Detroit," said Cassidy.
"We were getting large orders, so we had to build out a larger design team. My sister reached out to recent fashion design graduates from Wayne State University and Michigan State University. We (then) started training recent graduates in industrial sewing and that program evolved to include all facets of the fashion industry."
In April, despite being in the midst of a pandemic, the ambitious entrepreneurs recognized the fact that the design graduates "were not just interested in learning about production, but all aspects of fashion design." So they decided to take things a step further by launching a fashion design talent incubator, or more specifically, "a program aimed at developing local talent in the fashion design and apparel production industry that focuses on supporting women and minorities."
Cassidy and Kelsey Tucker, founders of Deviate Fashion
"Detroit's fashion industry is brimming with creative talent, but in an up and coming market it can be difficult to identify opportunities without a network and experience," said Cassidy.
“The talent incubator is design-centric and focuses on fine arts production skill-building. By cultivating the local design talent, we can continue to support the growth of a robust garment district,” added Kelsey, 23.
The length of time each designer spends as part of the talent incubator will vary. Cassidy said, "It really depends on the designer. The program is built around the designers' goals and needs. It's an individualized program."
Just last week, Deviate announced a crowd funding campaign (https://ifundwomen.com/
A swimsuit designed by Abigail Miramontes.
If we don't meet our goal ($30,000), we can (still) continue with the program," said Cassidy. "Right now, we have 10 designers on wait list. "So the crowd funding will bring additional designers on board who are currently on the wait list."
Three designers from the incubator (Dianne Avila, Angela Orr and Abigail Miramontes) were selected to have their work featured as part of the latest collection from Deviate -- "Beautiful Ruins." They will keep 100 percent of profits from the sale of their work.