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Featured Designer and Artist

Collaborative organization: Lost Artists Collective

Kelsey Tucker

Kelsey Tucker (age 24) was born and raised in Michigan. Growing up, Kelsey was always experimenting through art. However, it was the sewing machine that she received for her thirteenth birthday that changed her life. She began spending all of her free time teaching herself how to sew. From online tutorials to befriending the JoAnn’s staff so she could join their in-store sewing lessons for free, she quickly realized she wanted to grow up to become a fashion designer.Kelsey attended Wayne State University and graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design and a Minor in Textile Design. Upon graduation, she moved to Los Angeles to work for well-known designers like Vera Wang. While in Los Angeles, Kelsey noticed that the same intricate techniques used to craft luxury, tailored dresses were not also applied to streetwear. This disconnect inspired Kelsey to launch Deviate - a high-fashion streetwear brand that combined luxury tailored elements with graphic design. As an emerging Detroit-based designer, she quickly realized the great potential for fashion in Detroit. Just one year later, she chose to reposition Deviate as Detroit’s first fashion house on a mission to elevate Detroit’s reputation as a fashion city. 

By showcasing her skills through Deviate’s high-fashion collections, she proves that forward-thinking fashion can come out of the Motor City. Kelsey currently leads creative direction for Deviate which is a Detroit-based fashion label designing unisex collections situated at the intersection of art and fashion. Deviate produces deep, conceptual collections that explore current issues and challenge social norms. Each collection harmonizes expert tailoring with highly original, avant-garde designs. Deviate's all-female team is on a mission to elevate Detroit's reputation as a respected fashion city –collections are designed and produced in-house in Detroit, MI. In 2020, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) selected Deviate as one of the American production companies for emerging and established brands to support the CFDA’s sustainable manufacturing program. 

Deviate not only strives to redefine the fashion industry in the city of Detroit, MI, but the brand is also invested in cultivating local talent by empowering and educating its youth community from economically disadvantaged areas. Deviate is partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan (BGSM) to offer members a paid apprenticeship program for Detroit youth who want to learn about all facets of the fashion industry. Detroit is a fashion city today, and it will be tomorrow. 

The “Box of Emotions Jacket” is inspired by the human ability to recover from severe trauma; the piece explores the three phases of healing: inflammatory, warrior, remodeling. Experiencing loss, fear, helplessness, and isolation and working through uncomfortability to uncover a newfound strength is a key message from the work. Kelsey chose to explore trauma and therapy during a global pandemic to capture the fearful sentiment of an entire population while leaving behind a gentle reminder of hope. A human-centric piece, multiple design elements reflect the true stories of real people’s traumatic experiences and how they recovered. 

The use of symbolism and profound meaning behind each design are intentionally conceptualized throughout the piece. Fire and Water appears as a main symbol of overwhelming, uncontrollable sadness and anger. Fire and Water also reference rebirth and new beginnings. Open Wounds are a reminder that trauma does not heal on its own, and it can leave us feeling raw and exposed. Loneliness is a common symbol throughout the collection referencing the constant battle with mental health; the oversized hood on the jacket depicts complete isolation. Kelsey’s redesigned Flower appears on the left chest of the jacket as a symbol of hope waiting to bud into something new.

The duster jacket’s deep pockets portray hidden emotions as the pockets, themselves, resemble a box opening to unleash emotions. The technique of tearing fabric to expose textured fabrics references the bleeding internal scars left behind by trauma. The exterior serging and hand-stitching technique is employed to symbolize scars that have not yet healed. Three-dimensional overlay provides texture and shows transformation and beautiful destruction. Tough fabrics were chosen to symbolize strength and the protection of oneself, while soft fabrics like chiffon and knits are sewn on top of the hard exterior fabrics to portray vulnerability. Mosaic patchwork pays homage to the effect that art can have on a victim’s recovery, Kelsey uses recycled fabrics to create the shapes of fire and water on this jacket. Finally, color-blocking is showcased throughout the entire remodeling phase and symbolizes the strength of the individual to take what was left behind and rebuild again. This piece has a multitude of deep and bright colors to symbolize the many emotions that come with being human and healing from trauma. Featured colors include red (anger, aggression, fire), blue (loneliness, sadness, water), spring green (envy), brown (sadness, isolation), and tan (sensitive nature, maturity). 


Kelsey Tucker

Medium: Mixed Textiles

Size: Fluid

Circa: 2021

$ 2500.

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