Loren Hicks is the glue that holds the Michigan fashion community together. The entrepreneur, designer and creator of Michigan Fashion Week shares why she’s on a mission to grow Detroit’s fashion scene locally and beyond
By Rachel Schostak
Photography by Allison FArrand
Loren Hicks has always loved fashion, but it wasn’t until after graduating from Grand Valley State University with a degree in statistics and working as an accountant that she realized she could turn her passion into a career. “I was missing the creative side of me,” says the Southfield resident, 32. “I felt the only way I could tap into that was to start my own thing.”
Today, Hicks is a freelance designer, image consultant and owner of Lilly & Lizzy, an online kids’ boutique inspired by her two young daughters. She’s also the brains behind Michigan Fashion Week, which she formed in 2012 to highlight local artistic talent and help boost the state’s growing fashion industry. (This year’s event was held in Detroit in February.) She talks to SEEN about connecting Michigan’s fashion community, the women who’ve inspired her career, and more.
Can you share a bit about your entrepreneurial journey? I always knew I wanted to have my own business, and I was always interested in fashion. As I got older, I started designing my own clothing. I found there was a need for designers to be connected with potential customers — at the time, there wasn’t an avenue for that in Detroit. That’s how Michigan Fashion Week was created.
How has Michigan Fashion Week evolved? It’s growing with Detroit as [the city] gains economic stability. More people want to get involved after trying to break into the industry and start their own businesses. I’m gearing MFW to be a resource for designers, models and boutique owners. Our goal is to get everyone in the [local] fashion industry involved so that we can all grow our businesses together.
Where do you see MFW going in the future or can you share some short term goals? I am gearing Michigan Fashion Week to be a resource for designers, models, boutique owners and anyone interested the fashion industry. I want to teach the business side of fashion as well as become an active resource for creatives that is starting off in the field.
What do you love most about your job(s)? The people I meet and work with is the most exciting part about my job.
Since this month is SEEN’s women’s issue, can you tell us about a woman that has influenced your journey? My mother, Sylvia Jordan, inspires me because of her work and tenacity. She ran for [Southfield] city council and lost three times, but kept going until she won.
Now onto style…
Who inspires you in the fashion industry? In 2019, Ruth E. Carter became the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Costume Design for her work with Black Panther. I believe her story inspires all minorities that if you put the hard work in and keep your goals in front of you, you can achieve what you want.
What are three words that describe your style? Colorful, comfortable and bold.
Who’s your favorite designer? [Pierre] Balmain is my favorite designer of all time because of the overall craft of his garments. He [did] a lot of beadwork and work with sequins and put them in such cool, abstract designs. It takes authentic talent to [work] with those materials and textiles.
Finish this statement. You’re never fully dressed without… A smile and a cute purse.
Your current “must have” item? A bold colorful blazer. A pair of shiny or metallic heels.
Your most cherished item in your wardrobe/closet? I have an oversized suede blazer that I purchased when I was abroad in London. I have never seen anything like it and the fit is outstanding.
Your local love list…
Are you native Detroit? What do you love most about our community? Yes, I am a native and what I love most about our community is the tenacity that many people hold in regards to their businesses and passions. I also love that Detroit has such a warm sense of home. Although you may move to another city Detroit is always marked as home.
Your go to for breakfast, lunch and dinner? My favorite Breakfast spot is Original House of Pancakes in Southfield, MI and My favorite Lunch spot is Beans and Cornbread in Southfield and my favorite Dinner spot is Fishbones in Downtown Detroit .
When not working – where can we find you? If I am not working I am at home with my husband and my two young daughters Lillian and Elizabeth.
Head to toe outfit details from the photo shoot: IMNYC Isaac Mizrahi suede boots (shop similar) Lord & Taylor; Black skinny jeans (shop similar), JCPenney; Leopard blouse (shop similar), JCPenney; Pink blazer (shop similar), JCPenney; Personal necklace (shop similar), H&M Detroit; Chanel pin; Silver G bag, Mia Ray artist in Detroit.