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In our formative years, (DE-FI) served as a volunteer based organization, providing services to designers and models alike free of charge and in exchange, we asked that all participants volunteered at least 40 hours per year in their respective communities in order to re-invest in others in the same manner that we have invested in them.
Always putting community first, we taught self-worth with a focus on inner beauty, while mentoring area youth. For nearly a decade, outside of the fashion aspect of what we do, we've helped organize drives that fed and clothed thousands of people across the Miami Valley for the holidays; supported and sponsored events and organizations designed to fight substance abuse and improve relationships between under-served communities and law enforcement; we've collected can goods for the hungry, school supplies for low income families; built homes for the homeless; fought cancer by raising money towards a cure as well as hosting bone marrow drives, just to name a few. We've been the change that we wanted to see in our community and we did it all without requiring an audience, media attention, or public validation to do so.
Moving forward, sincere community engagement will always be the cornerstone of our success.
We aspire to be a leader in regional fashion, to promote excellence, and gain recognition for our community as a global leader for the discovery of emerging designers, model development, creative expressions, fashion manufacturing, and innovation. Recognizing that:
1) Diversity is not limited to the physical attributes that we possess, it also encompasses thought and experiences. Diversity is not performative.
2) Equality is more than treating everyone the same, it's an understanding of history, removing historical roadblocks and barriers that have blocked access to needed resources and opportunities to a level playing field.
3) Inclusion is not a one size fits all performative participation trophy, rather it's sincere steps and actions to heal past wounds and welcome all to a sit at the table where many were once denied and ensuring that they are supplied with the needed tools for success.
All of which are essential components of our excellence.
We seek to develop and provide support to Dayton, Cincinnati, and the Midwest fashion industries and prepare leaders in fashion through our business resources, meaningful exposure, education, advocacy, advancement, and outreach programs to enhance economic competitiveness regionally, nationally, and globally.
By making Dayton and Cincinnati a fashion capital for emerging talent and development, our core values are: excellence; diversity in people and of ideas; inclusion; access; affordability; innovation; collaboration; multidisciplinary endeavor; integrity; openness, honesty; transparency; and trust.
(DE-FI) Global INC is leading the way in placing Dayton and Cincinnati in the $900 Billion dollar a year global fashion spotlight. With the fashion industry being the 2nd largest employer in the U.S., it's more than just the clothes on our backs or entertainment; fashion is an opportunity for economic growth for our community which has no projected growth for the next 15 years.
We've all heard it before, "location...location...location", did you know that Macy's had headquarters in Cincinnati which is a 45-minute drive from Dayton? Or that Columbus housed L-Brands, Abercrombie, Victoria's Secret, and more as well as being home to the 3rd largest population of fashion designers behind New York and L.A., and is an hour and fifteen-minute drive from Dayton? and that Hugo Boss was manufactured in Cleveland, a three-hour drive from Dayton? In fact, because both I-75 and I-70 run through Dayton, the Miami Valley area was a hub for auto manufacturing for decades. At least 11 other major US cities are within a 45 minute to an 8-hour drive from Dayton including Chicago, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Detroit, Memphis, and Nashville just to name a few, many of which have CFDA Connects programming as well, making our community prime real estate for garment manufacturing and headquarters.
We accomplish our mission by:
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Our Fashion Incubators have made Dayton the Fashion Capital of the Midwest for the development and success of fashion based talent and we're adding Cincinnati to the list.
A few of our goals include:
Highlights from our Strategic Plan
Due to financial hardships, we have several participants in our incubators who are unable to afford the cost of the services that we offer. We never turn anyone away due to their inability to pay. Your support and contributions to The Art of (DE-FI)ance Fashion Fund allows us to keep our services affordable and provide hardship grants to participants in need.
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The Build-A-Brand Experience is back and we are looking for speakers to help our talent and fashion based businesses Reverse Engineer their brands. No fashion experience is needed to lead this signature series…business is business regardless of the discipline. We are looking for speakers that specialize in the following: