Hometown pride to the extreme

blacktshirt.jpg  (This was originally written last week but then I didn’t have computer access for posting–Note-As I’m typing this I’m wearing a Detroit vintage looking tshirt) So I’m back in Detroit for my holiday break from school and of course I bought yet another obligatory Detroit t-shirt. They’re for sale everywhere, alongside baseball caps, patches, scarves, bags, tank tops, sweatshirts, snow hats, panties, and nearly ever kind of decorative and household item you can imagine. The shirts say things like “made in Detroit (a brand and a theme)” “Detroit soul” ” I miss old Tigers stadium” “Detroit funk” “Faygo (local soda)” “enjoy Detroit (looking like the Coke label” “313 (area code)” and even the old school “in Detroit the weak are killed and eaten.” There are a slew of stores dedicated to these types of products, and just about every hipster and even upscale boutique has a range of hometown related clothing. Truthfully one of the better shops is even at the airport, if you can believe it, in the Northwest terminal, selling Motown exclusive designs. The most popular is probably Pure Detroit so if you’re interested you should check out their site. (Pure Detroit also runs a Design Lab supporting local fashion designers beyond the 313 t-shirts). But in general, the whole thing isn’t not about local fashion designers, or particular fashion shapes, cuts, colors, and styles which are regionally popular. It’s a different type of fashion statement, about hometown pride, and from what I can tell it has to do with expressing an entire philosophy which is a mix of nostalgia, pride, a little aggression, a little bit of an in-the-know type of local scensterism which isn’t relegated to music or subculture types but encompasses all metro Detroiters as a unified scene.So the part that is really of note about this is that from what I can gather this local pride thing is heightened as compared to other places. When I briefly lived in NYC some friends told me that only Detroiters surpassed new Yorkers in terms of hometown pride and they constantly saw Detroiter’s with Tigers “D” caps-similar or even more so than Yankees caps.I have to wonder what that’s all about. What makes one town, particularily one in as much distress as Detroit, so into itself and so wanting to show it through such blatant dress cues around-the-clock. From panties to snowgear, Detroiters are always making sure you know that’s where they’re from, and it’s a different vibe than the Yankees cap wearing New Yorker. I’m a proud one of these people, and I cannot fully explain it myself.  (Note-one the way home I bought another shirt at that NWA Motown store and  pin shaped like an old Motown 45″–I’m a little obsessed…but so is everyone else surrounding the 313) 

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  • Jim D. September 27, 2008 08.25 pm

    Great article. Excellent way of describing the Detroit pride, we see this everyday, proving you are right on. Do you know the name of the store @ the NWA terminal? It sounds like our products might fit in well there.

  • Stefan September 13, 2010 05.45 pm

    UPDATE: There is a new apparel line making a splash in Detroit called Detroit Manufacturing.

    It has ALL NEW designs from the original designer/creator of “Made in Detroit” and his original Detroit-based (important because many “Detroit” shirts are produced in the suburbs, thus the companies don’t really have the same authenticity or provide jobs/economic benefit to Detroit dwellers who need work the most…”Pure Detroit” prints all their merchandise in suburban Troy, “Made in Detroit” (since being purchased by a Clarkston-based company in 2005 produces its shirts almost an hour away from Detroit in the far northern suburbs)

    Detroit Manufacturing (detroitmfg.com) has amazing (+fresh) designs including “Detroit: City of Tomorrow”, “Detroit Muscle”, “Little Miss Detroit” and “Bill Bonds Has a Posse”. They offer free shipping online + sell in Detroit’s historic Eastern Market every weekend.

    If you love Detroit, and want the most up-to-date and authentic product on the market check Detroit Mfg. out!


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