DGG The force behind Michigan Fashion industry
Last Friday, I got the chance to interview DGG (Detroit Garment Group) President Karen Buscemi. Whew! I’m still out of breath trying to keep up with her! She is one driven woman and just so happens to be gorgeous too! But she’s so much more than just a pretty face. In the past 4 years, she has also established a great platform for everybody who wants to gain fashion and business knowledge and skills in the Michigan area. She is even working on her dream of building a true garment district here! After talking with her for just a short time I know better to stand in her way when she has her mind set on something.
Karen worked at The Style Line magazine as an editor for many years. During this time period she realized that there are so many talented people in Michigan but they have to move out due to lacking a support system. That is why she started the Detroit Garment Group in 2012, a non profit organization with the lofty goal of trying to fill the need for business education for Michigan’s fashion community. I can’t imagine how hard that must be to get all the funding to start up this organization. But she did. The first program they created (in 2013) to address this need was FashionSpeak, a one-day conference of networking and education that focused on the business of fashion. How was it received? Apparently quite well, in fact it’s still around so you can find out for yourself if you’re interested. FashionSpeak 2016 is back on October 13. Click here for tickets info.
The second program (in 2014) is the Industrial Sewing Certificate Program at Henry Ford College, targeting the unemployed and underemployed to provide a skilled trade that pays a living wage. (Funding is available to those who qualify via Michigan Works.) For more info please click here.
The DGG Fashion incubator, the third program, launched at TechTown in Detroit (in 2015), providing the designers-in-residence workspace, access to industrial sewing machines and high-end software/technology, plus business mentorship and monthly business-education workshops. For more info please click here.
DGG also has its own blog called Style Factory. On every Thursday it will post all the fashion related events in and around the D. I check on their post regularly for all the insight, news and resources.
Can you see how it’s difficult trying to keep up with Karen? Did you notice the pattern above? Karen has lazer focus and the ability to deal with the big problems one by one. Every year she targeted one major obstacle to her plan and created a solution to it. I think it’s her kind of superpower. I don’t know about you, but for me, Karen and DGG are the unsung heroes for so many positive things happening in the local fashion industry. The glory days of Motown and the Motor City may be over but with women like Karen around who have a dream and the courage and ability to make it real, the future of the D looks bright and wide open. I know I won’t be getting in the way!
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