As many Michigan natives know, the potential for our state to become a veritable hub of not only fashion, but design as a whole is, in a word, exponential. With everything from a well-oiled supply chain as well as a huge work force, the reasons why the Great Lakes State can't become a center for creative industry are few to none.
Celebrating those hoards of unique individuals, companies, studios, schools and galleries that are at the core of what could very well herald in a new era of industry in Michigan is the Detroit Design Festival.
Put on by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, the festival is in its second year. And it's expanded, growing to accommodate a market that's doing exactly the same.
"This is an event that's almost like New York Fashion Week," says the event's public relations manager, Peter VanDyke. "The point is to see Detroit design talent in action."
To see that talent, the festival focuses on what they call Design Happenings. Throughout the Woodward Corridor, as well as various locations around the city, from Hart Plaza to New Center, events as big as fashions shows and as small as studio tours will be taking place during the five days the festival lasts.
Though there won't be booths lining the streets as one might imagine in the traditional sense of festival celebration, there will be plenty going on during the days it takes over Detroit's Woodward Avenue.
"Last year there were 85 Design Happenings and 300 designers," says VanDyke. And considering the growth of the community as well as the festival, he says we can expect many more this year.
Incorporating events in architecture, film, sustainable design, performance, lectures and discussions and more, the festival invites everyone from the most saturated design commandant to the most novice of the general public. One thing this festival is not, is exclusive.
More than just a showcase, the festival not only allows the general public to interact with designers and buy their wares, and it's also a field for artists as well as buyers to interact with the international design community.
Working in collaboration with London Design Festival as well as New York Urban Design Week, the festival aims to create a synergy with those communities as well bring our local faction into the spotlight.
One happening that even those unaware of the festival's on-goings won't be able to miss is set to not only be quite big, but to change the face of Woodward.
"This year we're doing what's called Stick 'Em Up," says VanDyke. "It's a competition where five teams are going to transform storefront windows on Woodward Avenue using Post It notes."
According to VanDyke people can vote for their favorite transformation and the winning team will go home with a $500 cash prize. A panel of judges will also decide which window is best, awarding their favorite with $1000.
In a sense, the competition isn't just another happening, it's a metaphor for the festival and the community as well – it's taking over Woodward, making the community that much more visible to not just Detroiters, but the world.
To help folks get in on the action and down to Detroit, the festival's offering shuttles to and from Woodward Avenue provided by the Detroit Bus Company on Saturday and Sunday. Shuttles will deposit patrons to the Detroit Design Festival Hub located on Woodward Avenue where maps and schedules will be available. There's no cost to attend the festival or participate in any of the happenings. | RDW
Detroit Design Festival 2012 • 9/19-9/23 • Detroit Design Corridor • detroitdesignfestival.com