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Spartan Profiles: Jeffrey Henry

  • Author:
    Paula M. Davenport
  • Published:
    Fall 2014

Henry, ’05, Mentors Future Trendsetters in Lansing's Own Runway Project

            Dear fashionistas:You don’t have to move to Milan, Paris or New York to launch your fashion livelihood. There’s room foryou at The Runway, a new fashion incubator in downtown Lansing, which opened in late August.

            Situated in thesleekly renovated J. W. Knapp’s Department Store, The Runwayis the first of its kind in the immediate region. It joins ahealthy network of local incubators, sponsored in part by the City of Lansing.

            Jeffrey Henry is The Runway’s operations manager. A self-taught designer, he makes über-cool clothes for alternative rock bands. In his new role, he’llblend his bachelor’s degree in advertising, organizational communications and PR with his business acumen and street-smartfashion cred tomentor the incubator’s artists.

            “I want students coming out of school to realize they don’t need to leave Michigan to be successful in the fashion industry,” says Henry, an alumnus of the College of Communications Arts and Sciences.

            “If I’d had something like this when I started, it would have been a game changer,” he says.

            The Runway encompasses dedicated as well as shared space for beginning and established fashion designers, cobblers and industry-related entrepreneurs. Cutting-edge assets includeadvanced computer software to translate 3-D designs into two-dimensional patterns, industrial-grade sewing and serging machines, dress and suit forms,high-end meeting rooms, offices, retail space, legal and marketing consultants and, of course, a runway for shows, events and photo shoots.

            “Our goal is to help fashion designers create a foundation for their businesseswhile providing the resources they need to produce their collections and ultimately move them to market,” Henry says.

            “We’re also going to be using photographers, models, hair and makeup artists, stylistsand manufacturers,” Henry says. “It’s going to have wide-reaching effects on the Michigan economy.”

            Fashion incubators in other cities have done quite well, he says. Now, Lansinghas joined the trendsetters. In doing so, it’s providing support and expertise, creating exciting new pathways to success and adding diversity to the area’s manufacturing and technology sectors.

            “As a fashion designer myself, I’m super pumped,” he says.