WALK Fashion Show “Your Source for Independent Fashion”
Founded in 2009 by Crystal Bailey and Daishawn Franklin, WALK Fashion Show was created to further propel the emerging fashion community in their hometown, Detroit, MI. Over time, the production has grown into a traveling show, providing a stage for independent designers, models and other artists abroad.
The production has proven its success by hosting sold-out events in 25 cites and 3 countries. The 2019 Tour will be in 35 cities and 3 countries; including stops in New York Fashion Week, Los Angeles Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, Lagos Nigeria and more.
Walk has featured celebrity hosts from CW's "America’s Next Top Model" - Keith Carlos, Cycle 21 winner; Naima Mora, Cycle 4 winner; Teyona Anderson, Cycle 12 winner; Whitney Thompson, Cycle 10 winner; and Dominique Reighard, Cycle 10 contestant. Building successful relationships with modeling agencies and buyers across the country, adding value to the show's unique brand and making it the largest fashion platform for independent designers of all levels.
WALK’s community contribution has consistently been a top priority, with donating portions of its proceeds to charitable organizations. Conducting fashion segments for the homeless community and providing them with attire to “Rip the Runway” for a day. In addition, to making opportunities available for local entities and individuals to get involved by organizing small, community events that benefit various foundations and organizations.
WALK Fashion Show strives to be a staple in the world of fashion, introducing new and undiscovered talent one city at a time, and promoting the idea that everyone deserves a chance. Combining catwalks and philanthropy is the best platform when growing a national brand.
A NEW WAY TO WALK
By Emerald Shaw
It's no secret that there is a fairly narrow spectrum encompassing the things Detroit is known for by communities abroad. The auto industry, the Motown sound, and the crime rate are just a few common buzz topics. A true Detroiter, however, knows that there is more to this place than historical fame and present day propaganda. In all actuality it is a melting pot of talent. These city limits house an abundance of brilliant and creative individuals carving out their opportunity to burst through the ceiling of adversity with their dreams in tow. Among those persons are Crystal Bailey and Daishawn Franklin, the masterminds behind WALK.
After the birth of their daughter, Bailee Dai, Crystal Bailey, a model, developed an interest in exploring other areas of the fashion business. Her experience combined with the marketing savvy Franklin had acquired as a successful event promoter proved to be the perfect recipe for fashion show production. Like all great things, their shows started off small but grew as success came rapidly. Initial ventures such as "Upgrade" and "Blue Carpet Treatment" were popular among local fashion enthusiasts. It was evident then that the future of this collaboration was bright until one show failed follow the trend. At their largest venue yet, COBO Hall, Bailey and Franklin put on the show that served as the disastrous turning point in the direction their business was going. The show lacked refinement and lead to the realization that there was also an absence of any concrete branding.
Sometimes inspiration manifests in the most unorthodox forms. In 2007 Bailey and Franklin treated their toddler to a Sesame Street Live performance at the Fox Theater. It was at that event that their brand was born. Franklin recalls being struck with an idea during a skit on crosswalk safety.
"They were singing this song where they kept saying the word 'walk' repeatedly" he says. "I jumped out of my seat and started shouting 'That's it! Walk! That's the name!'"
With a new name and renewed focus, WALK Fashion Show solidified itself as an ever growing staple in the fashion industry. Since 2007, the show has become the largest in the Midwestern region and has been put on in five different states including New York and Tennessee.
Part of its charm includes its relentless effort to display diversity in fashion. Models of varying sizes and ethnic backgrounds are offered the opportunity to hit the runway. There is even an adjunct show, WALK University, showcasing children's fashion. The heir to the WALK legacy, Bailee, has been struting her stuff on the WALK U stage since she was two years old.
For Bailey and Franklin, the ultimate goal of each show is to provide an exciting, professional, family oriented platform for all kinds of dreams to come to fruition. It is their hope that each model goes on to be signed by an agency or ignite a meaningful career, each designer eventually finds their garments in boutiques and department stores, and so forth. They understand that within Detroit lie many diamonds in the rough and with WALK they hope to uncover as many as they can, attracting the national attention those diamonds deserve.
In five years the WALK family hopes to be present in at least 20 states, working toward international visibility, and continually breaking down the stereotypes that come along with calling Detroit home. This city is more than what the news reports and it is evolving beyond what history reflects. In the care of Crystal Bailey, Daishawn Franklin and all who have tagged along for the ride, Detroit is well on its way to a more positive persona and to becoming a community known for style and urbanity. Picture Detroit with its chin up, shoulders back, pelvis forward and a "smize" in its eyes. One foot in front of the other, step by step, this fashion show aims to teach the world and entirely new way to walk.