If you’re from Detroit than I’m sure you already know Michigan designer, Joe Faris. If you don’t, you may remember him from Season 5 of Project Runway back in 2008 where he made it the the final 6 contestants of the competition making Detroit viewers very proud of his talents and his love for the D.
Faris has been a friend of ours and a Detroit supporter for years and he’s still going strong. His new store “4MEN” at 12 Oaks Mall in Novi, Mi just recently opened up, he creates wardrobes for celebrities, supports many local organizations here in Michigan and he creates Motor City apparel everyone is dying to get their hands on. He’s a family man and a designer with good focus and drive to succeed…. He’s an inspiration to many designer hopefuls. Read more about Faris below during our recent interview with him.
DFN – Joe, we are so excited to speak with you since our last interview was way back in 2011. Tell us about Motor City Design Co.
Faris – We are a full service design company from prototype to production not only for apparel but whatever else we can build and make. Some of our past projects have been Kid Rock’s wardrobe for his “First Kiss Tour” which included 12 of his iconic warm-up sets including 30 pink embroidered western shirts with Swarovski crystals for him and the band. We have also made wardrobe for the auto show and red carpet dresses. More recently, we’re redesigning all custom leather interior coach for a high-end sports car.
DFN – We’ve noticed you still have your amazing leather jackets. What other items does your brand offer?
Faris – Thank you for saying so, we are also making moto inspirited leather and textile combine jackets as well as Motor City and Motown inspired tee shirts, hoodies and warm-up sets. For Fall, we will have coaches jackets and varsity jackets to offer some non-leather choices and we’re always working on new unique items.
DFN – Tell us about your store at Twelve Oaks Mall. Are or will there be more locations?
Faris – Mike Alpert, owner of 4 Men, and I have been friends for over 20 years. We really wanted to create a unique Motor City feel to the store and make it a fun place to shop. 4 Men is a destination store that really focuses on the customer’s shopping experience. Mike and everyone on the floor truly have a pulse for the latest fashions so we get to create something new every month. Yes we are currently planning another location inside the Will Leather store in Midtown with no open date announce yet.
DFN – Describe your best customer to us.
Faris – Someone who understands the meaning of “Fly” or understands the feeling of being “Fly”. It’s the feeling you get when you put something on and you immediately feel like going out. We have that customer in mind when we design, it’s not age or race specific so I like to think in some small way that the customer feels that even with just one of our tee shirts.
DFN – Do you have a favorite show or event you’ve designed for?
Faris – I have to say that I really do like designing auto-centric clothing for the auto show. Cars have alway influenced fashion and visa-versa. I like to make the inspiration almost obvious by actually replicating something from the car to incorporate into the garment.
DFN – We appreciate you representing Detroit so well. What makes you stay grounded here instead of taking your business to L.A. or New York permanently, especially since you’ve gone to Parson’s and have had a taste of New York……
Faris – I have a place in my heart for NYC and LA and I do go a few times a year for work thankfully!! But I have to say it’s for the love of family, Michigan and the Motor City. It’s a fun time to be here ‘Detroit’ is officially a brand just like NYC, LA, Paris…
DFN – Where do you see your brand in the next five years?
Faris – To continue offering products that we are proud of to a wider audience on several platforms.
DFN – What can you tell us about yourself that no one else knows?
Faris – I am both addicted too and inspired by beauty!
DFN – We’ve heard about some burned bridges throughout the last couple of years. What advice do you have for young designers that may struggle with others that may stand in the way of their dreams? How should they stay focused?
Faris – Great question! My simple advice is stay on the path that will make your dreams come true not anyone else’s! It’s not always easy to tell the givers from the takers or that it’s simple to stay focused. As an artist there is always the want to work in other mediums but it’s important to stay true to you while maintaining a good balance between art and commerce.
DFN – Thank you Joe. We appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions in the middle of your busy schedule. We appreciate your brand and your love for Detroit!
Faris – Thank you Shannon! Praises to you and DFN for everything you do for our local fashion community!!!
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Shannon is one of Detroit’s top social media influencers, a fashion leader and a beauty buff who exudes professionalism and knowledge on all three subjects. She is the CEO of The Lazov Agency and the owner of glamorousmoms.com & detroitfashionnews.com. She loves to promote products and brands she adores and is a trusted voice. Shannon has been awarded the Elite 40 under 40 award and has been featured on Fox 2 Detroit, WDIV Channel 4, Styleline Magazine and Metro Parent Magazine. When you meet her, ask her about her handbag and shoe collection!
(Headshot Photo – Dan Lippitt)