A little over a year ago, I had the honor of serving as the Director of Operations for the first ever Fashion Week in the City of Dayton; like Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland have been doing for years…it was now the Gem City’s turn to take its position in the International Fashion Spotlight. From day one it was an uphill battle getting Dayton Fashion Week off of the ground, the Founder and owner of DFW Junda Morris-Kennedy of JMK Production was new to the area, she didn’t have any local connections, and the idea of a fashion week was a completely new concept to the Miami Valley area.
As someone who was familiar with the fashion industry from a modeling perspective and a cheerleader for the City of Dayton, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this ground breaking and I reached out to the founder and after a brief meeting with her, I jumped in with both feet and started spreading the word within my various community based circles that fashion finally had a platform in Dayton. And soon after an entire new community emerged, the area in general began to recognize the talent that was here, and individual success stories began to surface.
However, in the days and weeks leading up to and immediately following the first DFW, questions started being raised and cracks began to show all surrounding DFW’s Founder. I along with others associated with DFW attempted to address our concerns with the owner and seek out answers from her as well but our concerns were ignored and our questions went unanswered. Never one to compromise my ethics, in September I resigned as the Director of Operations for Dayton Fashion Week–and soon after, so did others. I initially kept my departure quiet not wanting to cast any dark clouds over the local fashion community; but as sponsors, media, models, photographers, and designers continued to reach out to me for answers regarding DFW and sought my support it became apparent that not only did I need to make my departure public but it was also clear that the demand for a fashion outlet and venue in the area was still present.
After meeting with others who were associated with DFW last year, I was urged to create a new fashion based organization and soon the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) was born! Consisting of over 30 local and national media personalities, business owners, fashion experts, and those who just want to be a part of a positive, transparent, and professional organization; and we’re excited about the opportunity to bring a new fashion outlet to the city of Dayton!!! The Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator also known as (DE-FI)’s main goal is to build a solid foundation for the fashion industry to grow on building a viable and economically successful market in the Miami Valley. Modeled after the Fashion Incubators in Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, (DE-FI) is partnering with TIME Magazine recognized Midwest Fashion Week, Dayton Most Metro, Joli Boutique, Sew Dayton, Shuttereye Photography, Studio Dayton, and UnZip the Runway Designer Competition.
(DE-FI) launched in February 2013 and is planning to host 2 intimate fashion events this year starting with an Official Launch Party July 13, 2013 at SunWatch Indian Village. This event will serve as an opportunity to mix, mingle, and network with some of the area’s top professionals, community leaders, and fashion lovers from all over. Complete with an official introduction of the DE-FI team and designers that have been selected into the Incubator; the Launch Party will also feature a fashion show featuring local and nationally known established designers who will be prepared to take special orders on all of their designs.
In preparation for the Launch Party, the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) will be hosting 2 Casting Calls for models on Saturday March 23 and April 20 from 2p-4p at Studio Dayton located at 1001 E. 2nd St., Dayton, OH 45402 in Bldg 100, Entrance B-C in Suite 3220. The Casting Call is open to male and female models ages 4 and up. (NOTE: Models under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.) All applicants must bring (2) images (1) Head shot and (1) full body shot; photos DO NOT need to be professional. All models must bring with them an application which can be found on the website Adult models should come dressed in fitted attire flattering for your body type. Female models must bring a pair of 3″ heels to walk the runway in. Models under the age of 18 should wear age appropriate attire. There will also be scouts from UnZip the Runway in attendance as well. For more information on (DE-FI) and to download your application please visit our website.