When Shelley Van Riper launched Alchemy Detroit — a line of American-made, luxury-tailored womenswear — consultants told her to drop the word “Detroit” from her name. “For me that was akin to asking me to change my identity,” she says. Van Riper, who worked for organizations such as Henry Ford Health System and the Michigan Humane Society, took a lot of inspiration from Detroit leaders in creating her blazers, tees, and scarves.
Started out of their Lafayette Park apartment in 2014, designers Michael Sklenka and Mollie Decker founded Object Apparel with a goal to create well-crafted, unisex clothing with as little ecological impact as possible. The duo creates all of their garments by hand using 100 percent organic, fair trade textiles and inks that don’t contain petrol-based chemicals.
The idea for Baby Beast, an American-made microfashion collection for children, was born in 2013 during a first date. While romance was blossoming between designers Zack Issa and Taylor Hinds, “we mused over the idea of creating an edgy, cheeky streetwear brand for children that would appeal to a new generation of parents,” Hinds says.
White Owl Jewelry
Sisters Courtney and Christina Spivak have been handcrafting lace jewelry under the name White Owl Jewelry since 2007. They make each piece using vintage and new materials. While their jewelry can be found as far away as China and Australia, the sisters are dedicated to a local approach. “We want to strike a balance between success and authenticity, and continue to personally ensure the quality and creativity of our brand,” Christina Spivak says.
Cyberoptix Tie Lab
Founder and creative director Bethany Shorb started Cyberoptix Tie Lab in 2006 for one simple reason: You don’t need another boring tie. Since then, the Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate has grown her line to include designs inspired by everything from historic military documents to Victorian botanical drawings, each handprinted to order using environmentally responsible, water-based inks. With more than 100 fabric and printing ink colors, six tie sizes, and more than 250 graphics, Cyberoptix’s selections are anything but boring.
Detroit’s influence is apparent from the moment you lay eyes on one of Z Ballerini’s meticulously handcrafted bags. The windows in the Detroit skyline are reflected in the brand’s signature window motif, and from design to construction and manufacturing, each of designer Mike Ballerini’s distinctive bags is handmade in Detroit. With materials like 100 percent virgin merino wool and water-resistant, hand-selected leather hides, the collection of men’s travel and everyday bags is as handsome as it is functional.