Emily Thornhill's homeslice
metrotimes: What's your fashion influence?
EMILY thornhill: Growing up, Calvin Klein. His classic cuts and provocative marketing got me thinking about self-expression through fashion. Today, I look to stylish people on the streets. I study trends around the world and I'm continually inspired by what people are wearing in Detroit. Detroit has a "work with what you've got" fashion sensibility that inspires the utilitarianism of my designs.
mt: Tell us about the latest line.
thornhill: The pieces I've created for my latest line are designed for the everyday woman, who isn't afraid to be bold after five o'clock. The blouses, dresses and slacks are comfortable and versatile with the ability to be dressed up for the office or down for a dance party. The fabrics consist of the highest quality 100 percent organic cottons grown here in the USA — bamboo blends and recycled hemp. The cuts are loose and unrestricted, designed to flatter all sizes of women. My collections are small-batch, limited edition, handmade here in Detroit.
mt: À la the ever popular question heard on Project Runway ... "Who is your girl and where is she going?"
thornhill: My girl is working a day job, but she's also a Soul Train dancer, or some Stevie Wonder groupie girl. At the office she's a private-sector philanthropist and at night she's on stage, putting to good use her years as a strictly trained dancer. She's a confident, uninhibited, thirtysomething who's socially responsible and promotes sustainable living in her everyday life. She's comfortable, cutting-edge yet effortless in her bamboo jersey jumpsuit, sure to turn heads while she rides her bike in heels to support a local art gallery opening.
mt: Looking at the last three years, in what ways have you seen Detroit's fashion community change, for better and for worse?
thornhill: I've seen Detroit's fashion community slowly growing. There are a lot of fashion students coming out of the art schools around here. I think some of them are seeing the opportunity and possibility in staying, creating and manufacturing product right here in Detroit. I believe you can have just as much success interning for years in New York or L.A., slowly working up the ladder or by trailblazing through it as an uninfluenced innovator.
mt: What can we expect from you in the months to come?
thornhill: I'm thrilled to be relocating to a downtown commercial space for production in the next few months. Until then, I'll be sewing. I'm continuing to build relationships with local and national boutiques in the hopes they will carry the line to grow my stock list. I'm laying my bricks slowly and steadily with the unmeasurable guidance of the Detroit Creative Corridor Center and their Creative Venture program, which I have the privilege of being a pilot business for. I'm working with incredible mentors that are helping me check all the boxes I didn't learn in art school. I intend on releasing biannual collections from this point on.
mt: Where can we find your clothes?
thornhill: Folks can shop easily online at 71pop.com, a new super cool (and green!) Midtown collaborative retailer whose brick-and-mortar space hosted my spring-summer collection. Shopping will also be available at Homesliceclothing.com. I'll also be working on a high-energy runway showcase — of Soul Train proportions — in November with the newly founded Detroit Fashion Collective, headed by Adriana Pavon. They're creating an amazing showroom for local and independent designers right on Woodward in the heart of the old Hudson's retail district. In the meantime, people are welcome to keep up with me on my new blog at the Huffington Post's HuffPost Detroit.
To learn more, see homesliceclothing.com.