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, just to name a few.
Initially our goal was to serve as a springboard for area designers to connect with other regional fashion weeks in larger markets, however, making that connection wasn't as easy as we had hoped and found ourselves being blocked by gatekeepers who weren't interested in sharing the spotlight regionally...so, we had got to building our own table and blazing our own path. And in doing so, we also built a sense of community, we curate ideas, we disrupt the status quo, we identify the problem then we initiate change. In short, we did not re-invent the wheel, we changed 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. We've all heard it before location...location...location. Macy's has headquarters in Cincinnati, a 45 minuted drive from Dayton. Columbus house L-Brands and is home to the 3rd largest population of fashion designers behind New York and LA, an hour and fifteen minute drive from Dayton. Armani was manufactured in Cleveland, a three hour drive from Dayton. In fact, because both I-75 and I-70 run through Dayton, at least 11 other major US cities are within a 6-8 hour drive from Dayton including Chicago, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Detroit, Memphis, and Nashville just to name a few making Dayton prime real estate for fashion manufacturing and headquarters...O-H...and did we mention Dayton is the Birthplace of Aviation...you literally cannot go a day without the innovations of the Gem City...including the the cash register.
In exchange, 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.
#TheNextLevelIsHere #RemovingBarriers #BeDisruptive #TheFashionPipeline #FashionAdvancement #TheFashionExperience #TheEvolutiionOfDEFI #WhatDoYouDEFI #FirstFlightNowFashion
We need your support to continue 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!
We aspire to be a leader in regional fashion to promote excellence and gain recognition for Dayton as a global leader for the discovery of emerging designers, model development, creative expressions, fashion manufacturing, and innovation. Recognizing that diversity, equality, and inclusion are essential components of our excellence.
We seek to develop and provide support to Dayton and the Midwest fashion industries and prepare leaders in fashion through our business resources, exposure, education, advocacy, advancement and outreach programs to enhance economic competitiveness regionally, nationally, and globally.
How do we accomplish our Mission?
1. Creating a Fashion Pipeline with outreach, training, and opportunity
2. Supporting emerging designers by providing required resources need to advance their careers
3. Providing a support system for aspiring models by educating them on the industry and providing legitimate opportunities for paid work and career advancement
4. Building relationships and establishing partnerships by recognizing that community is the key to success
5. Bridging the gap between our market and larger markets
6. Providing an opportunity to be published in (DE-FI)ance Magazine as well as other publications
Our core values are: excellence; diversity in people and of ideas; inclusion; access and affordability; innovation; collaboration and multidisciplinary endeavor; and integrity; transparency and trust.
In the Fall of 2018, (DE-FI) leadership began an 8 month journey to Re(DE-FI)ne our Goals and Strategic Plan. View our goals and highlights from our Strategic Plan below.
Together, our Fashion Incubator can make Dayton the Fashion Capital of the Midwest!
1. Invest in engaged scholarship and grow impact and reputation of the (DE-FI), transnational and education programs.
2. Conduct commercially viable research on the fashion industry and become the national and international leader in collaborating with industry to drive significant advances for critical societal and economic changes.
3. Provide a world-class fashion advancement program becoming and or maintaining our stature as a top-ten producer fashion-based talent
4. Be a national leader in fashion manufacturing
5. Be a national leader in professional and career development
6. Create and sustain a top-performing, diverse and inclusive Advancement organization that will attract and retain first-rate talent within the framework of an integrated infrastructure and a highly collaborative culture, to optimize constituent engagement, alumni loyalty, and philanthropic revenues.
7. Foster awareness of and advocacy for the (DE-FI) to enhance revenue, reputation and rankings
8. Broaden and deepen constituent engagement with the (DE-FI) to develop more meaningful and loyal relationships that can be leveraged towards increasing philanthropic and other means of support.
9. Increase and strengthen corporate/industry partnerships with (DE-FI) to optimize philanthropic revenues and research grants, as well as to increase experiential learning and career opportunities for students
10. Optimize and maximize philanthropic support of (DE-FI) towards attaining and sustaining $250,000 explain further. in private funds raised annually by or before the end of the following fiscal year
11. Create and sustain an organizational environment that intentionally values inclusive excellence and advances equity.
12. Become recognized as a state, national and international leader advancing diversity, inclusion and equity in fashion
13. Grow and transform our physical spaces to drive learning and innovation.
14. Implement a centric organizational structure in business operations, human resources, and finance to support the strategic goals of (DE-FI) to ensure services are provided efficiently with a focus on customer service
15. Resource Stewardship
16. Our goals will be supported by the strategic investment of our resources, including financial resources, human capital and infrastructure.
Highlights from our Strategic Plan
• The strategic plan is based on focusing our resources on a robust financial plan emphasizing multi-year investments in support of our mission
• We will develop diversified revenue streams and maximize our opportunities to leverage our resources across the Ohio, the Midwest and external collaborations
• We will offer robust mentoring and retention programs for our entire team
• We will support our team through a strong merit-based compensation program and professional development opportunities
• We will ensure our operations are efficient and streamlined to maximize our effectiveness.
• We will ensure our team is highly trained in financial analysis and planning and works in collaboration to manage the financial resources.
The Art of (DE-FI)ance is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit providing economic growth, professional development, education, community outreach, garment manufacturing, and retail opportunities, experiences, and support for emerging and aspiring fashion professionals.