Metro Detroiters with Developmental Disabilities Step into the Fashion World with New Wearable Art Classes

Metro Detroiters with Developmental Disabilities Step into the Fashion World with New Wearable Art Classes

Photo by cottonbro

Gesher Human Services (formerly JVS + Kadima), is collaborating with Detroit’s College for Creative Studies (CCS) to offer metro Detroiters with intellectual and developmental disabilities a chance to explore their artistic and fashion skills by designing clothing and accessories.

Fashion Fridays & Wearable Art is the name for the new weekly program which began July 8 and is being held at CCS in Detroit, led by certified teaching artists. Classes will focus on self-expression, and the joy of making and wearing something that expresses participants’ fashion flare. At the end of the nine-week course, participants will take part in a fashion show to demonstrate the clothing they have created.

Attendees are all participants in Choices, a program offered by Gesher Human Services where individuals with disabilities engage in enriching activities to keep them active and engaged in the community.

Gesher Human Services is a non-profit organization which serves vulnerable communities including those with disabilities and severe mental illness. For images of a class on African-inspired headwear click here.

“We wanted to encourage creativity with a focus on fashion for our Choices members and teaming up with the professional artists at CCS gave us a wonderful opportunity to do just that,” said Craig Nowak, Program Director of Creative Expressions, the multi-disciplinary arts program at Gesher Human Services. “Designing clothes and accessories is a unique way to express your style and we know it will give our members confidence and pride, while learning new skills for self-expression.”

Program classes will include creating loose garments (tops and bottoms) from fabric and paper; creating fashion accessories such as bags, totes, hats, wrist bands, and jewelry from leather and paper; and making simple leather sandals.

Assistant Director for Education and Outreach for Community Arts Partnership at CCS, Larry Lunsford, said that the program is reaching a marginalized community who may not have benefitted from such art instruction in the past. “Working with our talented artists, individuals will get to construct pieces of wearable art that they can actively wear and enjoy,” he said.

For more information on Creative Expressions contact Craig Nowak at; to find out more about the Choices program, go to

About Gesher Human Services

Gesher Human Services is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people across metro Detroit lead more stable and fulfilling lives through career mobility, behavioral health programs and residential services that support our community by strengthening the individual.

Uniting two of metro Detroit’s most influential Jewish human services agencies, JVS Human Services and Kadima, Gesher brings over 110 years of combined experience facilitating equitable employment opportunities and better mental health outcomes for residents. With a network of more than 400 employees and volunteers across 25 locations in southeast Michigan, Gesher delivers a continuum of services and support that directly impacts the lives of over 12,000 individuals and families annually.

Lindsey Jenn

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: