The Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) LLC is a first of its kind one stop organization that addresses and supports the fashion industry as a whole. An organization so influential in its practices, strategy, and proven results that it reshaped how other regional fashion organizations across the the Midwest operate. Affectionately known as (DE-FI) and pronounced "defy" we are a barrier removing volunteer community Think Tank providing access for emerging designers, aspiring models, sewist, writers, photographers, HMUA's, videographers, and textile makers into the fashion industry. All of which is established in a first of its kind 14,737 sqft space, the House of (DE-FI)ance: A Fashion & Design Coworking Experience and Dayton Threads inside of the Dayton Mall, 2700 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd., Dayton, OH 45459.
Owned and Directed by failed fashion model Caressa L. Brown, who has dedicated the past 10 years volunteering her time to provide the support system for aspiring models and designers to help others achieve their dreams in fashion that she didn’t have in her one-time promising career that was highlighted by being named a Regional Semi-finalist in the 2001 Elite Model Look Competition and having multiple contracts with top agencies from around the country including Click and FORD.
In July 2013 with the support of friends, local business owners, and community leaders, the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) LLC officially launched. In 8 years together this trailblazing, fun, and laid back community focused incubator has mentored and worked with nearly a thousand aspiring models, designers, photographers, and wardrobe stylist who have come to Dayton from around the world to gain industry knowledge and receive legitimate opportunities to advance their careers. Far from a "polished" organization...nor are we the stereotypical face giving superficial organization, however (DE-FI) is a gate busting, door holding, accepts you as you are and where you are kind of organization that has built a solid reputation for developing world class talent and producing unique and immersive fashion experiences with a style that is raw, in your face, open, honest, transparent, and (DE-FI)ant.
Out of the models (DE-FI) has supported, over one hundred have signed with agencies around the world. They have been featured on some of fashion's biggest stages including New York, Paris, and Milan's Fashion Week. (DE-FI) model alum have gone on to appear in campaigns for Kohl's, Versace, Micheal Kors and Marc Jacobs. They’ve been profiled in InStyle and Vogue, appeared in national commercials, prime time tv, and films. Designers supported by (DE-FI) have been featured in Vogue Italia, Ebony, and Ellements. These designers have worked behind the scenes of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and the newly formatted New York Fashion Week. They've been scouted by some of the top fashion design programs and companies around the country from FIDM, to Kent, to DAAP, to Ross to L Brands and have been named to Forbes Under 30 Fellows list. (DE-FI) designer alum's work has been seen on A List celebrities at the Grammys, the Oscars, Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala, Paris Fashion week, and the Tribeca Film Festival.
We've (DE-FI)ed all odds, every naysayer, every critic, every doubt, every fear, and every rejection. #WhatDoYouDEFI #FirstFlightNowFashion
(DE-FI)'s Intern turned model turned designer Sa-Shai Daniels shares her experience in working with the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) LLC in her 5 year journey of creative self-discovery. Now an a senior at the University of Cincinnati's D.A.A.P. program, Sa-Shai joined us for the Grand Opening of the House of (DE-FI)ance: A Fashion & Design Coworking Experience and Dayton Threads on Saturday, March 27, 2021 at our new home inside of the Dayton Mall.
(DE-FI)'s Owner & Director Caressa Brown, pitching The House of (DE-FI)ance: A Fashion & Design Co-working Experience at a Dayton based pitch event. So...why do dreams fail? Listen to her story and find out how it inspired the work of the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator. #TheNextLevelIsHere #TheFashionPipeline #FashionAdvancement #DontWaitforPermisison #BeDisruptive #WhatDoYouDEFI #FirstFlightNowFashion
(DE-FI) is both honored and proud to be an affiliate of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Resources and from CFDA Connects will be used as a part of our Designer Talk Series Curriculum for the (DE-FI) Incubator as well as the Build-A-Brand Experience and Business Club at the House of (DE-FI)ance.