“We had a budget of $20,” Michelle laughs “and it all went toward hanging supplies.”
Supporters chipped in to print fliers, and the building space was given over for free. Saying the first show’s budget was shoestring is beyond understatement. The force behind Pop Up Detroit is the ingenuity of its founders, Michelle Tanguay and Nina Markus-Kurlonko.
Nina and Michelle started Pop Up Detroit because they wanted more opportunities to show their own work. But Michelle points out that it’s grown beyond that now. Firm in their pursuit to show other new artists’ work, they’ve taken a director’s role in orchestrating the Pop Up openings. This means no one shows twice, including them. In this way, they’ve stuck to their own rules.
These shows are almost compulsively fresh, and it really shows. This time around is no different.
A fashion show will take place in New Center Park on August 6 at 6:00 pm. “It’s beautiful,” Michelle gushes, “a real oasis. You don’t feel like you’re in the middle of a city until you look up and see the skyline.”
So while the jump from vacant building to lush park seems large, the sense of surprising beauty runs through both.
“When Nina brought up the idea of a fashion show to me, I literally laughed,” Michelle recalls. “It’s just not what I’m used to… but we’re rolling with it.”
“I grew up in New York,” she explains. “and the fashion scene there was so inaccessible for most people. It really bothered me.” Working on this project with the designers in Detroit changed her mind. “They’re artists too,” she says, “but instead of keeping your art on a wall, they get to walk around on the street.” How’s that for accessible?
Between coordinating 40 models and eight different designers, with five to eight looks each, she found time to make her own clothing. “I started cutting leather” she says, “and I got so obsessed, I made two dresses in 10 hours.” All in all, it’s a real conversion story.
She says it doesn’t matter who you are or what you like because you’ll find something at the show that resonates with you… even if you don’t consider yourself a fashionista-type.
Everything from simple screen-printed dresses to fetish inspired leather is represented here, and every garment will have been made just for this show. That means if you’ve been around the Detroit fashion block, you won’t be seeing any repeats from these designers. The garments are also available for purchase. Dethlab, Joe Vargas from Tour Detroit and Drew Pompa of Blank Artists are all spinning.
Photo credit: Karpov the Wrecked Train