Desirée Venn Frederic is an agent of alternatives. The Sierra Leonean born social entrepreneur is of Geechee and Maroon ancestry. She is a commercial real estate placemaker, historian, vintage cultural expert and installation artist heavily inspired by her transnational experiences. Through her work, the thought leader explores spatial politics, the commons and commoning discourse, socio-cultural matters, identity in common space and its impact and relationship on thought, expression and behavior. She is a champion for independent retail and community minded-human centric development. The themes of space, ownership, social dislocation and identity run concurrent in her personal and professional life. She is the founding director of Combing Cotton Co., a think tank and social equity community development firm with active projects in Detroit, New York, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Passionate about the role of arts in society and promoting economic equity, Venn Frederic is a member of The Urban Land Institute, International Council of Shopping Centers, National MBA Association, the National Industrial Areas Foundation, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, and serves as an ambassador for the USAID 1000 Woman Project and Define American - the nation’s leading non-profit media advocacy organization that uses storytelling to humanize the conversation around immigration, citizenship, and identity in a changing America. She holds a Masters in Business Administration and certificates in Sustainable Urban Planning, Corporate Finance, Community Organizing and Organizational Development. Her social practice and research is currently focused on forms of emancipating spatial practices, developing hybrid value chains and urban commoning through advocacy, policy and community activation at THE FIRST FLOOR, a learning lab for responsive community development. She has lectured at TED, National Endowment for the Arts, The Maker Faire,  The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Hometown Summit, George Washington University and The Institute for Peace. She serves as a board member at Empower DC and chairwoman of Local Merchant Independent Retail Association. Her work has been recognized by The Washington Post, Le Monde, Huffington Post, Suitcase Magazine, Amtrak and New York Times. She lives in Trinidad neighborhood of Washington D.C. and is a mentor to 3 college-aged social entrepreneurs.

TEDx / General Assembly / The National Endowment for the Arts / The National Maker Faire / Creative Times Summit / American University / University of Maryland Smith School of Business / Tom Tom Founders Festival / Shakespeare Theater / George Washington University Textile Museum / Sustainable Fashion Summit

Combing Cotton Co. / Agents of Alternatives / The First Floor / Local Merchant Independent Retail Association

PAST PROJECTS Nomad Yard / FEW Foundation

INSTALLATION ART White%, Smithsonian Arts & Industries, June 2016 / A Gentrified DC, September 2016 / l a n d t r u s t, October 2018 / Quotidian, 2019 / Jamea Richmond Edwards’ ‘Stay Fly"‘ 2019 / Shirt Stories curated by Joelle Firzli, 2019

Fashion Institute of Technology, BA / Columbia University, Corporate Finance Certificate / Northwestern University, MBA / The New School, Social Good Strategies Certificate / Industrial Areas Foundation, Community Organizer / Harvard University, Sustainable Urban Development Certificate

BRAND COLLABORATIONS + CAMPAIGNS Aesop / Amtrak / Anna Sui / Busboys & Poets / Caudalie / Glossier / Google / Global Healing Center / Human Rights Campaign / Macy’s / Modcloth / The Line Hotel / Full Service Radio / Eaton Workshop / Urban Outfitters / &OtherStories


It Can’t Always Be About You / With Out Meaning Podcast / Digital Influencer / Content Producer

The Artist Union / Black Immigrant Network DC / Define American Ambassador / Empower DC Board of Directors / USAID 1000 Woman Project

Elle /  Essence / Huffington Post / Le Monde Francais / Marie Claire / MTV / New York Times / Suitcase Magazine / Vogue / The Women’s March on Washington / Washington Post / Washington Life / Washingtonian Magazine /

CONTACT Email / Instagram / Linkedin

internship & studio opportunities available