Throughout September, the 11th annual Detroit Month of Design will feature the best of design from fashion to architecture in venues across the city. And this year, Central Michigan University Fashion Merchandising and Design students, alumni and faculty are among the designers featured.
The CMU exhibit, "Fashion Future," seeks to address questions of what's next in fashion and explores concepts related to diversity, equity, inclusion and sustainability.
Michael Mamp, Fashion Merchandising and Design professor at CMU, is leading the university's first-ever involvement in the Detroit Month of Design as curator of the exhibit. Mamp invited all current Fashion Merchandising and Design students, as well as staff and notable alumni, to submit pieces for the collection.
CMU's exhibit, "Fashion Future," is free and open to the public from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, and from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 30 in the CMU Detroit Center
. The center is located in downtown Detroit at 777 Woodward Avenue, Suite 160.
"We hope the exhibit causes people to ponder what the future holds, as a designer and a consumer of fashion, from a process and product standpoint," Mamp said. "We not only want people to see the inspiring work of our current students but also how our alumni are turning what they learned in our program into successful entrepreneurial endeavors and careers."
CMU Fashion Merchandising and Design is one of only two higher education sponsors of this year's event. The sponsorship was made possible through a grant from the CMU President's and Provost's Fund for Program Innovation and Excellence.
CMU senior LaDyra Lyte works with a piece from her featured collection, "Killing Me Won't Make You King".
Impact through design
LaDyra Lyte, a senior from Detroit, and Pablo Covarrubias, a junior from Grand Rapids, Michigan, are two of the student designers featured in the exhibit.
Lyte's collection, titled "Killing Me Won't Make You King," aims to educate observers on adversities experienced by Black and brown individuals and unjust systematic teachings that have trickled down through generations. Lyte said she hopes the pieces will plant the seeds needed to inspire communities to be more accountable and engage in change-making behaviors.
"The future of fashion relies on how many of us designers are willing to stay true to ourselves and produce at a growing and innovative level, not just a predictable and incessant one," Lyte said.
Covarrubias' collection addresses fashion sustainability — specifically, upcycling: using discarded materials to create new products. Covarrubias used fabrics found at thrift stores and scraps of fabric from other projects. One garment is from the denim of a worn old pair of jeans.
"My goal was to create garments with what I had on hand and force myself to stick within those guidelines in order to reduce waste," Covarrubias said of his collection. "I believe shifting back to a slow fashion, 'less is more' format of the fashion industry in the future is the way to go and will make people appreciate and buy more thoughtfully. Craftsmanship is key."
The Detroit Month of Design, an annual event hosted by Design Core Detroit, is a citywide celebration of creativity showcasing Detroit's role as a national and global design capital.