Society: Up-and-coming Detroit fashion designers in spotlight

Chuck Bennett
Special to The Detroit News
Bag designer Sue Fuller hosts event at Foundation Hotel with her dog, Oliver Thomas.

When custom fashion bag designer Sue Fuller learned how many undiscovered, talented fashion designers are based in Metro Detroit, she felt compelled to help spread the word. To do so, she decided to host an event, OT in the D, at the chic Detroit Foundation Hotel on March 21.

“I thought it would be cool if we got together to support and introduce the talent to the public in a cool setting,” explains Fuller, whose company’s name, Oliver Thomas, was inspiration for the name of the event.  “I wanted it to be super inclusive, which is why it was free and open to the public.”

RGA model in fashion show at Foundation Hotel.

More than 300 local fashionistas joined in celebrating Detroit’s fashion talent that night and cheered throughout the progressive fashion show. The guest list was quite diverse, including veteran garment industry people along with energetic neophytes. Detroit Foundation Hotel’s eclectic, old fire house setting provided a perfect backdrop. Guests indulged in tastings from the menu in the hotel’s Apparatus Room created by award-winning chef Thomas Lentz, and in honor of National Puppy Week, a portion of the proceeds from bar sales were donated to Detroit Dog Rescue.

From left,  jewelry designer Virgil Taylor, musician Amp Fiddler and music producer Nick Speed.

Keeping with the canine theme, or perhaps where the theme began, Oliver Thomas Bags were named after the company’s “co-founder” Oliver Thomas, a 7-year-old, black and white Shih Tzu.

Oliver Thomas offers a variety of down-filled, quilted bags with multiple compartments. They start at $49 and are available at several retail outlets and on the website

Fuller welcomed a couple dozen local designers to participate in the edgy presentation at OT in the D, using some of Detroit’s top models, provided by RGA Model Management. Among the outstanding designers in the show were jewelry designer  Virgil Taylor, who showcased his distinctive wearable art; Janna Coumoudouros of Lilac Pop, who uses recycled upholstery from automobiles and turns it into fashion apparel; and fine art photographer  Laurie Tennet, who featured her renowned prints on scarves and accessories. Oliver Thomas was there himself, sporting a $39 Haute Dog Coat from his company’s current collection.

Scott Ferguson, host Sue Fuller, and Renee Godin, owner RGA Model Management


Chuck Bennett is the creator of and hosts “Happy Hour” Monday-Friday from 5-7 p.m. on 910AM Superstation.