Dayton’s first fashion co-working space and business hub opens at the Dayton Mall



A first-of-its-kind space is opening this weekend at the Dayton Mall to boost co-working and creative opportunities for professionals in the area.

Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator, also known as “DE-FI,” will host its grand opening Saturday. It is the first fashion design, modeling and business co-working space in the region, officials from the Miami Twp. mall said Friday.

“Our guests are always changing and evolving, and at Dayton Mall, we want to be able to offer them today’s top trends and shopping destinations,” Dave Duebber, general manager of the Dayton Mall, said in a release. “We are so excited to welcome something so unique as DE-FI.”

Saturday’s grand opening will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. Demonstrations and tours will be available to guests throughout the day. DE-FI occupies 14,700 square feet of space near Dick’s Sporting Goods and Morris Home Furniture.

The new tenant is “the world’s first comprehensive interdisciplinary fashion co-working space — a business hub created by and for the fashion and design community,” mall officials said. “Once the items are designed and created, they are then displayed in Dayton Threads, which is a unique retail boutique and showroom that offers an innovative shopping experience for customers while promoting and supporting the fashion and design talents locally and from around the country.”

DE-FI was created by owner and founder, Dayton native Caressa Brown.

“The House of (DE-FI)ance space is what I like to call Phase I, where the networking, training, professional development and business takes place,” Brown said in a release. “Phase II is where designers can have their product micro-manufactured or prototyped. We have a designer studio for designers to work on their trade and meet with clients. We are also creating a sound studio in the back space of Phase II where designers can work with musicians to create runway music for their shows.”

Brown is a former model who has worked in higher education for the past decade at Clark State, Sinclair Community College, Wright State University and The Ohio State University. Currently, Brown serves as an administrative coordinator for the Agriculture Research Development Program at Central State University, and also sits on the advisory board for Hocking College’s new Fashion Design Program.

“Phase III is the retail space of Dayton Threads and represents the finished product,” Brown said. “You’ve done the work in Phase I, you had your product produced in Phase II, and Phase III is where you’ll sell your work. Ideally, the customer that shops at Dayton Threads is planning ahead for travel or a special occasion.”

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