You don’t normally think of an industrial sewing machine as an object of hope, inspiration and revitalization. But that’s exactly how Michigan via the Detroit Garment Guild Group is looking at it.
That’s because these heavy-duty machines do everything from sew simple garments to the interiors of your average vehicle. They cost about $9,000 each – and a new program aimed at educating skilled industrial sewers in Metro Detroit needs about $40k to lift off.
And that’s being done through a fund-raising campaign that not only will buy the machines, but help fund a relationship between DG3, Minnesota-based The Makers Coalition, several educational institutions and major employers, such as Lear Corp.
The partnership will create an Industrial Sewing Certification Program to the state. The Detroit version is first. Then the West side. Then due North. It will bring new jobs, new companies and new hope to the city that not only puts a large majority of our nation’s drivers behind wheels but offers a way to clothe them as well.
It is a partnership DG3, its board and its president, Karen Buscemi, have worked on for years. And making this announcement was the culmination of so much hard work – all done by a non-profit organization whose main goal is to educate future fashion powerhouses and foster their dreams – right here in Michigan.
“It’s much more than a job – you’ve got a skill that will really carry you for a lifetime,” said Buscemi, who also is editor of “Styleline” magazine and a fashion guru in her own right.
The Makers Coalition DG3 is comprised of DG3, Henry Ford Community College Michigan Technical Education Center (HFCC M-TEC), The Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA Michigan Works!), Southfield-based Lear Corporation and other local employers.
Lear has helped get some of the machinery needed to start this great enterprise. SEMCA Michigan Works! will take on the role of recruiting and screening potential students, as well as seeking to identify funding for those who qualify and assisting with job placement for students who complete the program.
Registration for classes could begin as early as May, Buscemi said. The first class of students will begin this September at the HFCC M-TEC in Dearborn. In addition, the DG3 has reached out to cut and sew manufacturers across the state, securing commitments from these companies to interview ISCP graduates as positions become open.
“These sewers are hard to find anywhere in the United States. I’m hoping other companies will hear of us and be attracted to come to Michigan specifically the city of Detroit and really help to revive the city,” Buscemi said. “I really can’t wait to see what (this partnership) looks like 2-3 years from now. I think it’s really going to make some great changes here.”
For more information about the Industrial Sewing Certification program, visit the DG3 website at www.detroitgarmentgroup.org or contact Karen Buscemi at 248.722.8407. To donate to its fund-raising campaign, click here.
By the way, a few more DG3 updates. First, tickets are now available for the DG3’s FashionSpeak 2014, Michigan’s only conference for the fashion industry. The event is set for Thursday, Oct. 16, at the historic and modern One Woodward building, with panoramic floor-to-ceiling views of the city and riverfront, in downtown Detroit. If the views don’t grab ya, the red chairs, mod seating areas and neon signs there certainly will.
Presented by Taubman, this one-day conference will bring together nationally recognized experts in five fields crucial to the success of the fashion industry; each conducting a 70-minute workshop, all centered around the business of fashion. Attendees will receive education, insight and advice during the workshops. Attendees include fashion and accessories designers, photographers, bloggers, wardrobe stylists, fashion retailers, students, and more.
“No matter what arena you’re in,” be that blogger, designer, marketing major or business owner, “you’re going to get something out of it,” Buscemi said.
Secondly, the DG3 also recently selected the 10 finalists to participate in the “Samurai: Beyond the Armor” fashion-design competition. The contest is a partnership between DG3 and the Detroit Institute of Arts. The finalists will create a complete outfit based on the artworks in the exhibition, which highlights the lives, loves and passions of the Samurai.
The 10 finalists are: Narjes Almajidi – Detroit, Wayne State University student; Janna Coumoundouros – Clawson, Lilacpop Studio; Loren D. Jordan – Southfield, LOJO; Sarah Lapinski – Detroit, Wound Menswear LLC; Bonnie Pearce – Northville, College for Creative Studies student; Kelly Sager – Ann Arbor, Kelly Lynne; Bridget Sullivan – Grosse Pointe Farms, Bridget Sullivan Designs; Lena Harbali – Ann Arbor, Eastern Michigan University student; Deanna Zapico – Troy, Deanna Zapico; and Cheryl Zemke – Riverview, CZ Creations, Riverview.
Their blogs on their experiences thus far are available at http://blog.dia.org/. The finished ensembles will be displayed for one week in each of three tri-county locations: April 21-27, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, 6777 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield; April 28–May 4, Warren Community Center, 5460 Arden Rd., Warren; and May 5–12, IKEA, 1640 Ford Rd., Canton.
The public will determine the winner by voting for their favorite outfit at any of the three venues, or online, beginning April 21 at www.detroitgarmentgroup.org. The winning design will be announced at a fashion show at the DIA on Saturday, May 17, at noon.