As the saying goes, “The devil’s in the details.” In Wilmington’s case, it’s in the DETAIL summit, which will be held this weekend at Bourgie Nights and The Beam Room as a diverse networking and creative event. Essentially a reverie in design and innovation, DETAIL (design, entrepreneurship, technology, art, inclusivity, and love) will bring together four speakers and five designers, who will host a morning talk at 9:30 before moving on to showcase creative wares at the art market from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and ending the day with a fashion demonstration at 7:30 p.m.
Created by a team of friends, as well as local entrepreneurs, designers, artists, wordsmiths, etc., DETAIL will highlight the depth of talent in our corner of southeastern NC. “Design is important because it’s literally everywhere if you notice it,” creative director Michael Ussery tells. “From traffic patterns to fashion, design orchestrates our life.”
Along with stylist/editor Drewe Smith, graphic designer/art director Justin Mitchener, designer/maker Alisha Thomas, artist/painter/illustrator Dallas Thomas, artist/illustrator/writer Emily Caulfied, and camera assistant/operator Courtney Bridgers, Ussery became inspired by the community after overseeing the DAWNING fashion show, a fundraiser for the Domestic Violence Services and Shelter, in the spring. The event incorporated talented designers and models in town, who banded together in their passions for fashion and community give-back. DETAIL seemed like a natural progression.
“We all wanted to do DETAIL because we all wanted to attend an event like DETAIL,” Ussery says foremost. “It’s a combination of [our art markets held throughout the year,] There’s Something To Do, and the passion found by the community from the result of DAWNING. Combining them, recruiting more talent and able bodies led us to a place where we realized there was a greater idea brewing.”
The team has culled a variety of speakers, including Jonathan Buckley (former COO of McGarry Bowen ad agency), Jamie Dorfman (Ax + Apple jewelry brand), Lindsey Pruitt (Lindsey Pruitt Co. brand developing), Shawn Doughtery (Good Graces Tattoo owner), and Lindsey Cheek (Gathered interior design). They cross the gamut of design and will speak from the broad to the minutia of cultivating talent and success.
“We used the name ‘DETAIL’ because that’s where the differentiating and remarkable aspects can be found,” Ussery elaborates. “The effect of design and detail are what set people and businesses apart. My dad always said, ‘A job worth doing is a job worth doing well,’ and our hope with our efforts is simply to draw attention to the meticulous, small aspects that can have a monumental difference in a business, a piece of clothing, or even a conversation.”
Ussery and the DETAIL crew want to hone in on aspects of Wilmington that influence design. He hopes for the panel to delve deeper into concepts within their own industries and how it overall influences composition and form. “[They will] connect the dots to make a really incredible picture,” he continues. “They will cover their own histories, what galvanizes them about their hometowns, what knowledge they’ve gained in the business, art or tech world that strengthens their vision which will in turn make Wilmington stronger.”
An art market at the Beam Room will take place after the morning summit at Bourgie Nights. The market welcomes artists and designers to sell their items. So far participants include Pearface Co., Aluna Works, Peppertrain, RYE Naturals, and I Like It Here Club, among others. DETAIL will put a spotlight on the innumerable resources Wilmington has—not to mention the industries it feeds.
“Between UNCW and Cape Fear Community College, the film community, restaurants, nightlife, tourism and destination-ism, Wilmington is an intersection of [many] unique trades and industries,” Ussery tells.
DETAIL will cross into the fashion sector in the evening. A demonstration will take place that will allow the audience close-up interaction with designers Elizabeth Workman, Alisha Thomas, Chloe Gray, and sisters Taylor and Caroline Castles. Designers have chosen a word to represent the clothing they will showcase for the evening: “floral,” “embellishment,” “hardware,” “frill,” and “gilded.” DETAIL will debunk a traditional fashion show to allow the audience to see the garments up close and personal, as models will meander through Bourgie Nights for an “interactive” fashion exhibit.
Tickets ($45) are all-inclusive but more so they’re community-inclusive. DREAMS Center for Arts Education—which provides arts education for at-risk youth—is the beneficiary and will receive proceeds from the summit.
“DREAMS really ties in with our concept of growing and fostering talent on a local scale, prepping the kids in our community to go out into the wider world, prepared to face anything, with a large and stocked network of people and programs supporting them,” Ussery says.
He and the team also are looking ahead to the future of DETAIL and the larger role it can play in Wilmington. With technology and design being integral to fostering brands today, Ussery sees the summit as an opportunity to become something larger—even on a SXSW scale, wherein music and technology merge to challenge and inspire the status quo.
“The goal is really to grow and keep talent here and export our offerings to other cities, always bringing new lessons, new connections, new concepts home,” he explains. “We see so many of our homegrown assets, talented people who went to school or cut their teeth in their fields here, leaving for bigger cities and opportunities in other places. We want to engage and challenge our artists, designers, and entrepreneurs here. We want to showcase what Wilmington and the southeast already have going for it—and make sure we nurture and cultivate this talent.”