Despite living in California for nearly 30 years, Christos Garkinos knew that when he launched his luxury vintage pop-up, Covet By Christos, in 2018, it had to be in his hometown in Detroit. “It felt like I was having a renewal with a new business, and I wanted to be part of what was happening in Detroit,” says Garkinos, a Los Angeles resident who grew up on Detroit’s east side before moving to Grosse Pointe with his family when he was 9. “It’s nice to be in the heartland again.” The former star of Bravo’s Dukes of Melrose — a 2013 reality show centered around an L.A. consignment boutique — now has a focus on bringing high-end fashion brands like Chanel, Prada, and Louis Vuitton to markets that typically have limited access to luxury goods. Regardless of his jetsetter life, he always makes time to come back home and often schedules his local pop-up events at the Detroit Foundation Hotel around family weddings and celebrations. Here, Garkinos shares his must-dos when he’s in town.
“I enjoy driving around Detroit and seeing things that I grew up with. My sister and I walk around Eastern Market and go down to Division Street where my parents’ Greek restaurant, Meat Town Inn, used to be for 30 years. I usually make a pilgrimage to my childhood home on Dickerson, but sadly, it just got torn down. Near that house, there’s a famous, now-closed ice cream shop with a huge cow’s head on it. We used to walk there all the time. I also love walking by Lake St. Clair. My family’s current home in Grosse Pointe is four blocks away.”
It felt like I was having a renewal with a new business, and I wanted to be part of what was happening in Detroit.”
— Christos Garkinos
“I have no time to shop, which is unfortunate. But when I do, I hit vintage shops, like Lost and Found Vintage in Royal Oak. When I went to University of Michigan, I was a poor college student, so I’d go to Goodwill to find clothes to wear out dancing. That’s kind of where my love of thrifting started. I still get excited when I find great things in different cities. I found this Balenciaga jacket in Dallas, and I thought ‘this is going to sell in Detroit’ — and it sold the next week. I love finding a piece and taking it from one city to another.”
“On days when I’m working my pop-up, I wake up around 7 a.m. It takes me two hours to set up and people start coming right when I open at 11 a.m. — and I don’t stop until 9 p.m. The first day, I can have 40 women waiting to come in. I enjoy meeting the people at the Detroit Foundation Hotel who are visiting. I’ve connected with people in the lobby, and I’ve done trunk shows with them in different cities. I’ve met so many people in Detroit that I love — from Brooklyn Outdoor founder, Candice Simons; to the Detroit Foundation Hotel’s lifestyle director, Jen Lee; to the host of the podcast A Drink With, Hillary Sawchuk.”
“In Grosse Pointe, my family loves to go to the Original Pancake House. I love the chocolate chip pancakes. Every time I’m home, I go to Greektown with my family. There’s a Pegasus there and one closer to us in St. Clair Shores. I’m Greek, so I get dishes with lamb — it’s our national vegetable. Then, this past time I was in town, I visited the Shinola Hotel restaurant, San Morello. It was one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had. The pasta was amazing. The Braised Lamb Shank ‘Osso Buco’ was great.”