On July 27th, fashion enthusiast filled LTU Detroit Center for Design + Technology eager to see eco-friendly fashions showcased by local designers and to hear from fashion entrepreneurs who are redefining sustainability within the fashion industry.
The fashion industry is the second largest in the world but it’s also the most polluting industry in the world, second to oil. William + Bonnie, a woman-owned cut and sew workroom based in Hamtramck, Michigan, recently hosted its Sustainable Fashion: Exhibition & Panel event to showcase local Detroit-based fashion designers who are applying sustainable and ethical design practices to their work.
The fashion showcase was followed by a panel discussion, where three fashion entrepreneurs talked about what they are doing in their business to help protect the environment.
Born and raised in India, Anjali Purohit is the Founder of Studio Variously, a sustainable fashion brand based in Detroit. Anjali studied design at prestigious schools in New Delhi, India and Milan Italy. While establishing her start-up label, she soon witnessed the huge wastage of raw materials, low wages and poor working conditions. This inspired her to build a company using only sustainable materials and processes. “For me, sustainability is all about reviving and restoring and not to waste any of our resources, ” Anjali stated during the panel discussion.
Erin Wetzel is the Owner of Orleans + Winder, a concept store located in Detroit’s Eastern Market that features independent designs from the United States and Europe. Erin lived in Paris for four years where her passion for fashion was developed. Inspired by her grandmother to become a fashion designer, Erin opened Orleans + Winder two years ago. Each year, Erin travels to Paris seeking out the finest in cutting-edge design. “I love learning stories of each piece and what inspired it,” Erin shared during the panel discussion.
Shermane Fouche is a Detroit-based pattern-maker at Apparel Pattern Services. Passionate about her craft, Shermane makes each pattern by hand. Shermane studied in France where she also lived for 13 years. As she would walk the streets of Paris, she would see bags of wasted fabric. This inspired her to develop processes that would help eliminate waste. Shermane moved back to Michigan, and in 2012 she became an instructor at Central Michigan University teaching Apparel Merchandising and Design. Today, Shermane still works with some of the most renowned designers from around the world.