In response to racial tensions in the U.S., the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Michigan asked its youth members to express their feelings about social justice through art and fashion. The result is a new clothing collection called Reimagine Black Wall Street, which launches online and in-store today — the first day of Black History Month.
The line — which is available to purchase at Détroit is the New Black’s brick-and-mortar shop and detroitisthenewblack.com — is made up of T-shirts and hoodies designed by members of the BGCSM’s Industry Club, an after-school program for young people interested in retail and fashion merchandising careers. The collection features messages such as “Be the change you wish to see,” “I am dripping melanin honey I am Black without apology,” and “In pursuit of true freedom.”
“Being able to put it all together as a group was hard, but we had to push through to tell people what we thought about social justice and our society,” says Industry Club member and designer Erica in a press release. “It was an exciting experience to watch our design develop from being on a sheet of paper, to a painted board, to a real T-shirt.”
Industry Club members worked with Roslyn Karamoko, owner of Détroit is the New Black; Kelsey and Cassidy Tucker, owners of local fashion label Deviate; and Detroit Vs. Everybody founder Tommey Walker to create the collection. All the youth designers will be compensated for their work.
“BGCSM is committed to ensuring youth are career, start up, and homeowner ready when they leave our clubs,” says Shawn H. Wilson, BGCSM president and CEO, in a press release. “Not only will the selected designs be sold online and in-stores, but the youth designers were paid as part of the program and received a paid licensing deal from BGCSM, which furthers our mission around providing economic mobility opportunities for youth and families.”
Reimagine Black Wall Street will get a formal debut at 2 p.m. today during a virtual panel. The event will feature a guest appearance by a fashion designer and a Q&A session with youth designers. Monique Owens, the first Black mayor of Eastpointe, will moderate the segment. Those interested in attending can register at bgsm.org