Arts & Culture » Culture

Détroit is the New Black is our latest city pride T-shirt



Hand-painted signs with the name "Ima" and an arrow guide shoppers around the corner from the G.R. N'Namdi Gallery to this new store, which properly opened a couple weeks ago. Named after gallery owner George N'Namdi's mother, the store functions both as a gift shop and a high-end fashion boutique.

Anchoring the space is clothing line Détroit is the New Black, which owner Roslyn Karamoko says she started about a year ago. "I think there's a new element coming to Detroit, and it's a bit more cosmopolitan," she says. "It's the new hip place to be."

Karamoko describes the store not as a "pop-up" but as a "pop-around" — she hopes to stick around, even if it's not at this location. In the meantime, she plans to provide more than just retail, showing fashion documentaries on weekends and hosting other small artistic happenings.

The line began as just T-shirts but has since expanded to other items, from tote bags to varsity jackets to jerseys emblazoned with "1701" (you know, the year Detroit was founded).

In addition, the store features high-end items from Birmingham's Linda Dresner by designers like Dries van Noten, Comme des Garçons, and Céline. The store also carries typical art gallery gift shop fare, including books and locally made jewelry. "The idea is this shop is sort of a high and low," Karamoko says. "You can get a $29 T-shirt, or you can get a $1,000 dress if that's what you're into."

Retail Detail:

Détroit is the New Black T-shirt

From "Detroit Hustles Harder" to "RUN DET" to "Detroit vs. Everybody," it seems like our fair burg might have more city pride T-shirts per capita than any other place on the planet. The latest foray into that arena is this little number, which owner Roslyn Karamoko says has already gained a its own cult following. "It did really well — shockingly well," she says. The T-shirt sells for $29 and comes in both white-on-black and black-on-white versions. There's even a variation with the phrase translated into French. "I'm picking up on Detroit's French history and just trying to create a more sophisticated approach to the Detroit brand," Karamoko says.

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