Southfield (CW50) - If you've ever walked around Detroit, there's a good chance you've seen shirts, hats, or other apparel with the words "Detroit is the New Black" written on them. What started as a collection created by designer Roslyn Karamoko became a phrase people began to recognize across the city. The popularity of the merchandise led Karamoko to believe it could grow into something more than just a brand name.
She joins Lisa Germani on Community Connect to talk about how the brand grew and what the importance of her work is within Detroit's retail district and creative community.
Karamoko moved to Detroit in 2013, after a life of traveling, and began to call it home because of the city's creative community. Believing she had a chance to be a part of Detroit's rebuilding process, her design led her on a venture to help other Black entrepreneurs succeed.
The store and the brand, Detroit is the New Black, is more than just an apparel provider. The store is a space for events, exhibits, classes, trunk shows, poetry slams, and a space for the art community to feature their work. These events are meant to create a community where up and coming entrepreneurs can connect and feature their work. Detroit is the New Black helps support other entrepreneurs by selling their products in its store as well. The majority of these products are designed and produced by black and women entrepreneurs. This is done because Karamoko doesn't just want her brand to succeed, but wants to other black entrepreneurs to follow in her footsteps on the path to success as well.
Karamoko created all of this because she was an outsider who fell in love with the city of Detroit and wanted to see it continue to grow its creative community into an inclusive space where everyone could thrive. "The new black" may be a phrase to define something as trendy, but the business model created by Karamoko in Detroit could lead the city to be more than just what's trendy today but what could be a building-block for communities everywhere.
You can check out Detroit is the New Black's space and designs at DetroitIsTheNewBlack.com
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