This article was originally published by Sam Tracy on VMagazine.com.
The Detroit-based label locally produces fashion to be globally enjoyed.
First there was Paris, then there was Milan. Soon following suit came New York and London. Now, there’s Detroit.
It’s not entirely unexpected of the city. The midwestern capital has a history long intertwined with the arts and innovation, producing technological wonders a la Henry Ford, musical mastery a la Motown, hip-hop superstars like Eminem and a booming retail scene attracting countless creatives and young businesses to the Michigan metropolis. When emerging fashion brand, Deviate, was looking for the perfect hub to set up shop, Detroit topped the list.
Founded by sisters Cassidy and Kelsey Tucker, Deviate seeks to put Detroit on fashion’s radar. The synthesis of the city’s growing economy and creative social scene made for the perfect climate to introduce Deviate’s socially sustainable business model, centered around giving back to the community and offsetting fashion’s legacy of draining local communities dry of resources and creative minds. Instead, Deviate cultivates local talent by partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, bringing on upwards of 100 youth members from economically disadvantaged areas and providing them with paid apprenticeships. The Tucker sisters recognize that hands-on experience tops institutionalized education and seek to empower Detroit’s youth community about careers in fashion and design through in-house experience.
The journey started in 2018, when the sisters began manufacturing clothes for other labels in their private factory. Retail partners readily jumped on board and hired the sisters for their production assistance and space. And just like that, word grew about Deviate, the Tuckers’ own fashion label.
The Tucker sisters specialize in avant-garde unisex design that seeks to explore current issues and challenge social norms through deep, conceptual collections. With each release, the Deviate aesthetic is honed. Their most recent Fall/Winter 2021-22 presentation, called “Miraculous Journey”, transpired via a dark, Alexander McQueen-inspired fashion film released this past February. And despite their Michigan production, Deviate nails the Lower Manhattan aesthetic. Bucket hats? Check. Cropped hoodies? Check. The hottest pieces you’d find in any downtown kid’s overflowing closet of streetwear are incorporated into the line.
And so far, so great for the all-female team of Deviate. In 2020, the brand was selected by the CFDA as one of the American production companies for emerging and established brands to support the CFDA's sustainable manufacturing program. Not bad for a young brand operating in a city that’s, well, not New York.
Deviate’s quick success signals a new era for the fashion world. Long gone are the days of industry gatekeeping by design school-educated elite and Fifth Avenue-living Manhattanites. In summation of the 5 Ws (and 1 H), Detroit is redefining the “Where?” and “How?”. Deviate diverges from the norm to revive a once-bustling city of yesteryear and trailblaze a new path for getting started in an industry so often shrouded in mystery and exclusivity.
You can check out Deviate’s latest collection and shop the line at deviatefashion.com.