He’s always on the grind. That’s the word from Grind 24/7 Founder Destin Julian’s growing cadre of loyal ‘brand fans’ and supporters .
The approach certainly seems to be working for the young fashion designer whose devoted the last several years to establishing the Grind 24/7 brand, which fellow designers feel is among the “brands to watch in 2020.”
Hard work is Julian’s hallmark. In addition to creating his own original designs, he’s found time to collaborate with other local designers, participate in countless fashion shows and build his social media audience and related army of brand ambassadors this past year.
Now he’s ready to showcase the fruits of his labor through his first annual Designer Fashion Show.
“I’ve taken part in a lot of events, but this is my first go at organizing a show. I know it’s going to be a good time and a big success,” says Julian, who encourages area residents and supporters to “come out and be ready to be inspired.”
The idea of an independent fashion show began percolating about a year ago, when Julian’s friends encouraged him to hold his own independent fashion show. While he was initially a bit uncertain, his passion for fashion and his confidence in his clothing superseded his passing jitters.
The fashion designer’s first show will take place on Feb. 29 at 6 p.m. at Flint’s Riverfront Banquet Center and will feature 11 local brands in addition to Grind 24/7’s line.
The show’s line-up promises to engage participants, who can expect to see an eclectic mix of urban streetwear designers of varying levels of experience and notoriety.
According to Julian, this element is very deliberate.
“I want my show to shine a spotlight on some talented people who need more exposure,” says Julian, whose show also includes established brands.
“In addition to promoting young designers, I also want to pay homage to those more established designers who have helped pave the way for so many of us,” says Julian.
These type of activities create lasting bonds between participants and often spark invaluable mentoring relationships, according to the designer, who feels that his show will provide a true reflection of the outstanding talent of Flint’s creative class.
His show line-up is partially based on experience and gut instinct.
“I’ve worked with some of the featured designers and have been impressed by their efforts.” he says. “Seeing their grace and dedication with my own eyes — often backstage and away from public view — motivated me to find a way to bring them front and center.
“I think that the public will enjoy this different rotation of designers. And the designers are excited that the public will experience what they are doing with their brands,” Julian says.’
The designer and newly-minted production manager is both excited and nervous, particularly about his decision to elevate ‘underground’ brands that have built their following outside of the public eye.
Moving them on stage and toward a more mainstream audience is critical, according to Julian.
“It’s a new experience for some designers,” Julian says. “I’ve had a number of talks with designers to share my own experiences.
“I’ve told them that we have all felt nervous sometimes. And I’ve shared my personal confidence in them having seen with my own eyes what they are capable of.,” says Julian. “People are going to love them.”
The talks worked and resulted in participants who “100 percent believe the show is going to be lit,” according to Julian.
That anecdote is meaningful to Julian, who had to overcome significant challenges in his own journey. The designer experienced a range of challenges, frustrations and doubts as he’s blazed his trail.
His collaboration with local designer, Jemini Green of Motive Clothing, was a pivotal one, according to Julian, who says he experienced firsthand how collaboration can help build a brand and garner more attention.
“Perhaps more valuable was just learning about the less tangible things,” says Julian. “Things like coming to the table with a healthy respect for people and their time and having good energy and a positive personal vibe.
“I also learned that support comes in various forms. Sometimes a kind word helps. Just sitting down and talking with someone for a few minutes helps. Sometimes, just saying, ‘hey. I see you, or what do you need? Or, I got your back,'” Julian says.
With his realization that a kind word can be a powerful way of collaborating, Julian feels that as Flint moves forward, everyone, not just fellow designers, can support the local fashion industry’s talent. He explains that he believes that for the scene to go to the next level it will take help from a wide cross-section of fields of expertise, life experiences and ages.
“If more people could look at the city’s designers and the Flint fashion scene as a whole unit that needs help, then that would have a different impact than only supporting who is most popular at the time,” Julian says. “There is strength in numbers.”
Having a wider, more collective support base that is not limited to immediate Flint fashion industry insiders could really be a way to get Flint on the map, he adds. As much as people are unaware of how much young talent is untapped in Flint, people don’t realize that this talent is also just thrown away.
“Sometimes I see young talented people not getting support and they give up. They feel they will never get out of the city and give up on their dreams. It doesn’t need to like that,” Julian adds.
For Julian, the time for everyone, young and old, to think about cultivating the city’s go-getters is now. Maybe, for some people that could be telling a young person to keep up the good work, it could be collaborating with a young person, or it could be showing up to his fashion show and giving an enthusiastic round of applause to some of the city’s finest talent.
Editor’s note: The Designer Fashion Show takes place Feb. 29, 6-9 p.m. at Flint’s Riverfront Banquet Center. Tickets range from $15-$45. More info call 810-691-3129 or 810-423-5751