The article that I chose to fulfill this week’s prompt is about the infamous local clothing retailer, Detroit is the New Black (DITNB). The article was written by Candice Williams, and published by The Detroit News on February 25, 2022 (article link can be found at the bottom of this blogpost). Although the article was posted a few months prior to my arrival, the news that came from it still left a bitter taste in my mouth. The article describes how the retailer was permanently closing its only store on Woodward Avenue in Downtown Detroit.
When I found out I would be spending my Summer in Detroit as a part of DukeEngage’s program, I was very excited to explore the city that my older sister, a DukeEngage Detroit alumni, told me so much about. One of the places I distinctly remembered was Detroit is the New Black, which came as a shock to me when I found out the store had been permanently closed. The retailer acted as a platform incubating, supporting, and uplifting some of Detroit's most talented underrepresented founders and their brands. However, the article discusses that founder and CEO of DITNB, Roslyn Karamoko, believes that the company’s mission to support under-represented founders and black owned businesses was accomplished through the brand’s time in Downtown Detroit, and that is the reason for closing.
Through my work at Tech Town Detroit, I have learned about the importance of supporting local businesses in the city, and I believe what the DITNB store had done for Downtown Detroit was inspirational. Thus it was upsetting for me to understand that it would no longer be showcasing some of the rising brands from the city. I hope other support systems in Detroit can fill the role that the brand had over its six year operation on Woodward. The article describes that the brand hopes to still impact those in Detroit through its social media platforms and online shop, and I agree as the brand has a renowned reputation in the city.
I hope in my remaining time in Detroit I am able to understand not only the background of companies like DITNB, but learn from the people behind them.