The (DE-FI) Incubator takes on a real time approach to the fashion industry via a series of intensive modules, team building, production, editorial, retail experiences, and more. Our programming provides elements designed to help you thrive and grow at every phase of your career. We don't sell the glitz and glamour of the industry, we provide a realistic look and approach to achieving your dreams by focusing on the other 95% of the industry...the business. The (DE-FI) Incubator consist of the following:
Meet our designers and models and read more about our incubator below.
Emerging Designers you have the unique opportunity to strengthen your business skills in a real time curriculum taught by industry professionals! With a focus on business skills that range from business planning, marketing plans, cut & sew, retail math and social media, Our Designer Talk Series also has real time fashion challenges wrapped throughout the curriculum. Our team is dedicated to providing resources, education and professional development to the fashion community that will enhance and support a thriving and sustainable apparel and sewn products industry in the Midwest.
(DE-FI) Designers have gained firsthand experience working behind the scenes of some of the most legendary design houses and retail companies in the world. The ONLY fee associated with our invite only Designer Talk Series is that designers are required to become members of The House of (DE-FI)ance: A Fashion & Design Coworking Experience which ranges from $15-$100/mo depending on how often you'll need to use the space.
Led by a network of fashion professionals, business owners, and community leaders; this network simply known as (DE-FI) pronounced “defy” is re-engineering the global and regional fashion experience making Dayton, Ohio’s fashion scene one of the most highly sought-after territories and markets in the Midwest. Fashion organizations from Atlanta, Santa Fe, D.C., NYC, Chicago, and around Ohio to name a few have reached out to us for support.
Our Strategic Goal
To become a top fashion program with a distinctive and enabling environment for teaching, learning, discovery, innovation and creative expression that transforms and enriches individuals and society. No experience is necessary to join our incubator, this could be your very first line or you can be looking to expand into a new market, we customize our services to fit your needs. See more of our goals and highlights from our Strategic Plan HERE.
During the Designer Talk Series, Designers will learn the ropes of the industry by:
Developing a Strategic Plan
Learning To Control Expenses
Learning How To Land & Grow Sales
Building Buyer Relationships
Learning Effective Social Media
Securing Your Financial Future
During the Designer Talk Series, Designers will learn the ropes of the industry by:
The Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) LLC is NOT a modeling school, we are NOT an agency or talent management. We provide opportunities for aspiring models regardless of age, height, weight, size, gender identification, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. The overall goal of our Model Incubator is to eliminate the need for our Model Incubator by attracting legitimate agencies with ethical practices to Dayton, OH. The (DE-FI) Model Incubator reveals the truth about the highly competitive and not so glamorous aspects of what it takes to pursue modeling on a part-time or full-time basis.
You will save time and money as we help to lay the foundation and provide the needed support system that will help you and your family decide if this is the right path for you. We are also, the only regional Fashion Organization that provides a way for models to earn pay for their work. Models invited to join our Model Incubator are required to sign our Model Agreement which does not conflict with any agency contract(s) that you may have, in fact we have on-going working relationships with several agencies whose models are a part of our incubator. Plus you are able to work with whomever you'd like, our model agreement is NOT and has NEVER been exclusive.
We have mentored and help launch the careers of thousands of models with over 100 of our models being signed to agencies worldwide including Factor, Red, and Next. They have appeared on Project Runway and in the pages of Vogue. They have walked for New York, Paris, and Milan Fashion Weeks for designers like Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, and Versace and have appeared in commercial ad campaigns for Michael Kors, Old Navy, Kohl’s, and Ashley Stewart. Our models have appeared in prime-time television for shows such as Empire and feature films on the Hallmark channel. Outside of modeling several of our models have gone on to pursue professional degrees in fashion, as well as acting from some of the most prestigious programs in the country. Our most notable success stories and model alum include Aube Linda Jolicoeur, Alexis Henry, and Naomi Baker.
In 2019, models in our incubator models to use their voice to promote fair treatment, equal opportunity and sustainable practices within the regional fashion community. They are researching laws, and leading the way to introduce proposed legislation to have more transparent and comprehensive laws on the books related to the fashion and entertainment industries in Ohio. By organizing a talented, knowledgeable, and supportive group of models they will use their influence to promote legislative advocacy, greater transparency and accountability within the regional fashion industry.
Though not a modeling agency, the (DE-FI) Model Incubator will teach you the dos and don'ts of the industry that many new models aren't aware of as well as the important skills to master, and pitfalls to avoid. Models will be required to complete (6) Professional Development Free Model Talk Workshops that will cover an array of subjects:
Models will learn:
***You can safely and anonymously report any unwanted or inappropriate conduct related to your modeling experience HERE***
Understanding Contracts, Releases, and Agreements
Posing and Runway
Models in our incubator are given top priority for photoshoots related to (DE-FI)ance Magazine, Dayton Threads, and non-(DE-FI) submission shoots. Models will be cast first for Dayton Fashion Week, they are eligible for the agency visits, will receive support in agency submissions and they will gain first hand knowledge and support for castings related to NYFW. As always, there are opportunities for models to receive monetary compensation based on commission. (See images from our Chicago Agency visits HERE.)
When we host events, we do ask models to sell at least (4) tickets to the event, if they sell all (4), they are paid the cost of (2) of those tickets, if they sell less than the (4) they are paid 20% of their ticket sales. If they are unable to sell tickets, they are NOT penalized and can still participate as a volunteer model.
Models for Dayton Threads will be paid an hourly base rate and yes, for Dayton Fashion Week there will be some non-commission based paid opportunities for models in the (DE-FI) Model Incubator. Check out images and footage from our previous events HERE.
(Please Note: A company/organization's tax exempt status does not eliminate their ability to pay, it only changes how they budget for model compensation, for example The American Cancer Society is a tax exempt organization that is strongly depended on volunteers to help them do their work, however, the American Cancer Society still has employees on their payroll as do many tax exempt organizations).
Models will be required to match the number of hours that we invest into them back into the community, including but not limited to serving as mentors to new models into the incubator. Our Model Incubator is an invite only opportunity and consideration is give to individuals that attend one of our Open Calls in March and September of each year.
There's no catch with us; truth is, you may not even need (DE-FI)! We've provided more FREE Modeling Tips that can get you well on your way to starting your modeling career. However, we strongly encourage you to read and re-read this page in it's entirety and make sure that you have a full understanding of the level of work, commitment, communication, discipline and sacrifice that this industry requires along with having a solid support system in place to help you grow into your career. Rejection is tough and rejection happens daily in this industry, having support is essential even when the jobs start rolling in. Please see Modeling 101 below for additional tips!
The House of (DE-FI)ance is home of the world's first comprehensive interdisciplinary Fashion Coworking space, a business hub created by and for the fashion and design community. Our vision is to create the leading and most effective business networking experience in the country for the fashion and design community. From concept to retail and everything in between; our House was created to bring the entire fashion Industry under one roof including the often understated role of design outside of worn garments.
At the House of (DE-FI)ance, you will:
Open to the public, the House of (DE-FI)ance: A Fashion & Design Coworking Experience has a little something for everyone all while representing the 3 level of the (DE-FI) Incubator. Check out all of the details here and find out why membership has benefits.
(DE-FI)ance Magazine is the mirror image of the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) LLC. It is a meticulously designed, and award-winning, independent annual fashion, art, and lifestyle publication. Curated for a global-minded audience, (DE-FI)ance has sold in 13 different countries, was created to give a voice and exposure to emerging talent and has continued to grow in influence that reaches well beyond the Midwest region.
Our style is confident and authoritative, yet conversational and at times controversial. Our voice is that of an insider—your trusted friend in the business as well as the outsider---the blacksheep, who does not fall in line with others…you know, The “(DE-FI)ant one”. We are the accessible voice and inspiration to the confident and creative woman who loves fashion but is not the stereotypical seditty, face giving snob. We are the still, non-attention seeking, quietest person in the room whose presence alone speaks volumes with an in your face boldness that doesn't need to be stated because it's already known. Our work is often dismissed and left out of the conversation, not because it lacks merit...we just threw out their rule book and did things our way but rest assured, when we move...everyone pays attention, takes notes, and levels up.
In (DE-FI)ance Magazine talent will:
Inspired by fashion weeks from Fashion Capitals in New York, Paris, and Milan, Dayton Fashion Week is designed to bring participants and guest alike a fully immersive fashion experience. Led by a volunteer team of experienced fashion industry professionals, business owners, event planning specialists, and more; our vision is to celebrate Dayton as not only the Birthplace of Aviation but as the Innovation Capital of the World! It is our mission to provide support to Dayton and the Midwest's fashion industries in the form of business resources, exposure, education, advocacy, and advancement.
During Dayton Fashion Week talent will:
Dayton Threads, specializes in high quality, independent and emerging designer clothing, accessories, homeware and more; giving our customers direct access to the next big thing in fashion and design. Like our parent company (DE-FI), we're disrupting the fashion industry and re(DE-FI)ing mundane ideas of what it means to shop small and supporting independent designers and artisans, each of whom have been carefully selected from across the country.
We work to promote and empower emerging talent, while showcasing a curated selection of their products in a stylish yet ethically and environmentally conscious fashion community. We also offer micro-manufacturing at our store front location giving designers hands on quality control over their products. Customers can also receive alterations on site if a look doesn't quite fit right, as well as having customized pieces made just for you!
At Dayton Threads you will:
(DE-FI) Fashion Week isn't your "show" heavy Fashion Week. In fact, there won't be a single runway show taking place during this event. Consider (DE-FI) Fashion Week the commencement ceremony of our year long incubator process, where we are bringing in all of the heavy hitters from the CFDA for a week long series of one-on-ones and WERKshops exclusively designed for designers in our Incubator in preparation for Ohio Market Week. There will also be lectures throughout the week that will be exclusive for members of The House of (DE-FI)ance: A Fashion & Design Co-working Experience.
In March 2017, we produced the first (DE-FI) Fashion Week. Unlike your typical fashion week ie Dayton Fashion Week which is filled with Runway Experiences, (DE-FI) Fashion Week focused on the Business of Fashion. It was a week full of WERKshops, trainings, professional development, sourcing, logistics, and only one runway experience, The Taste of (DE-FI)ance. With the 2021 Dayton Fashion Week being scheduled for December 5-11, (DE-FI) Fashion Week will take place early March 2022 to allow time for the designers to process and SWOT out their brands in order to be more intentional about their time spent with industry leaders and representatives ahead of Ohio Market Week. Additional Details coming soon.
Ohio Market Week is a Collabetive Collabetation project that is volunteer driven and gives participants an opportunity to organize a jam-packed week of retail and textile focused events designed to bring buyer, corporate decision makers, dealers, wholesalers, and manufacturers to the Gem City. Not to be confused with the concept of a Fashion Week which is comprised of runway shows where fashion designers can showcase their latest collections to retailers and the media. Fashion Weeks are not where buyers sit and meet with designers to place orders or purchase their product. In short Fashion Week is to display designs to get the buyers attention, Market Week is where the deals are made and business grows.
The end goals of this project are to:
Mark your calendars for Saturday, July 31st, 2021! The Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) LLC will be celebrating our 8th Anniversary!! Are you ready to answer the call of 12 local grassroots organizations who are doing amazing work in our community?