Fashion Incubator.Education.Inclusion.Community.Celebration.

Our Foundation

The Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) LLC is a volunteer community Think Tank providing access for emerging designers, aspiring models, sewist, and textile makers into the fashion industry.  Founded by failed fashion model and 28 year industry vet Caressa Brown, who has dedicated the past 10 years volunteering her time to provide the support system for aspiring models and designers that she didn’t have in her promising career to help others pursue their dreams in fashion.

In July 2013 with the support of friends, business owners, and community leaders, Caressa officially launched The Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) LLC. In 7 years together this community focused organization, affectionately known as (DE-FI) has mentored and worked with nearly a thousand aspiring models who have come to Dayton from around the world to gain industry knowledge and receive legitimate opportunities to advance their careers.

Out of the nearly one thousand models (DE-FI) has supported, over one hundred of those models have signed with agencies, 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.

In this same time (DE-FI) has mentored and worked with nearly 20 emerging fashion designers who 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.

Most importantly, as a volunteer based organization, (DE-FI) has always put community first, taught self-worth, focused on inner beauty, and mentored area youth. In 7 years 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 underserved communities and the police. (DE-FI) has collected can goods for the hungry, school supplies for low income communities, built homes for the homeless, fought cancer by raising money towards a cure as well as hosting bone marrow drives. 

In exhange, we ask that all participants volunteer at least 40 hours per year in their respective communities and re-invest in others in the same manner that we have invested in them. Check out some of our Community Outreach efforts that we've organized or have supported in Our Village as well as some of the other community based creative initiatives and outlets that we've either participated in or supported In The Community.

We build a sense of community, we curate ideas, we disrupt the status quo, we identify the problem then we initiate change.  In short, we are not re-inventing the wheel, we are changing how the wheel is used ultimately putting a global spotlight on Dayton’s emerging and advancing fashion industry and talented work force.

We celebrate beauty in all forms and are leading the way in placing Dayton in the $900 Billion dollar a year global spotlight fashion spotlight. With the fashion industry being the 2nd largest employer in the US, it's more than just the clothes on our backs or entertainment; fashion is an opportunity for economic growth for the City of Dayton that has one of the fastest growing economies in the U.S.  according to Forbes. 

#RemovingBarriers #BeDisruptive  #TheFashionPipeline #FashionAdvancement #TheFashionExperience #TheEvolutiionOfDEFI  #WhatDoYouDEFI  #FirstFlightNowFashion

Become A Sponsor or Partner

We need your help in ushering the next phase of #TheFashionExperience!  Due to COVID-19 we had to cancel the reboot of Dayton Fashion Week. the launchging pad to raise funds for the opening of The House of (DE-FI)ance: A Fashion & Design Co-working Experience.   We could not exist  without the support of our many sponsors, partners, and community!  Because of your support, we are able to spotlight and develop the talent  in our community as well support fashion professionals beyond the Miami  Valley region. Become a sponsor and together we can take it to the next level! 

Help Our Cause

Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve our services. Your generous donation will fund our mission.

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