Allison's Art: A New Approach to Detroit-Made Artwork & Apparel
By: Michael Fossbakk
May 23, 2016
“I want to make art that people will remember,” Allison Sims, a Detroit native turned Memphis transplant turned Detroit returnee, told me over the phone.
Sims has been making art her whole life, but it wasn’t until last year that she opened an online store called Allison’s Art Expressions where she could sell her work to the masses.
“Allison’s Art Expressions: I had the name for I guess maybe two years and within the last year it’s really grown to the point where my work has really noticeably improved,” Sims said.
Being not only open to, but skilled in a wide array of art styles has done nothing but help Sims improve her artwork while also bringing in new clientele, thus expanding her business. Sims’ portfolio includes paintings, jewelry, custom shoe drawings, bookfoldings (folding the pages of a book to create a pop-out effect that says a word, date, etc.) and more.
Expanding on the benefits of being open to different types of commissioned work, Sims sees it as an opportunity to refrain from stagnating in her artistic ability.
“It would get kind of tiring, unless you just really, really love what you do, to do the same thing every day all day,” Sims said. “So, to switch up my canvas from a regular piece of paper to a pair of shoes, it’s different and I like that, and it’s always exciting, when I get a new order, to speak with a new client to see what they’re wanting on this or what the gift is going to be used for or if it’s for themselves. And then seeing their reaction when I complete the project.”
While Allison’s Art Expressions was Sims’ first venture into mixing her artistic side with her professional sensibilities and drive to make a living doing what she loves, 10|7 Apparel is her newest foray. 10|7 Apparel (formerly 10|7 Detroit) is, as the name suggests, a clothing company that specializes in clothing that is both comfortable to wear and promotes the city of Detroit.
“I love wearing hoodies, wearing t-shirts, you know, to dress comfortably,” Sims said. “So, I always knew from the beginning, ‘Whatever I’m gonna do, I want my own hoodie business, I want to sell something I love to wear.’”
Moving back to Detroit from Memphis was what ignited Sims’ creativity and inspiration and helped her come up with the idea for 10|7 Apparel and it can be seen in the design of 10|7’s “Detroit” logo.
“With Detroit up and coming and there’s a lot of businesses moving towards Detroit and it’s just this huge, thriving feeling when you go down there. I was like, ‘This is what it’s gonna be about.’”
Sims’ reasoning behind changing the name of the company from 10|7 Detroit to 10|7 Apparel is because she didn’t want to limit the potential for growth the clothing line might have. If things go well, 10-7 Apparel could expand to other notable cities and would have a design that is unique to that particular city in the way Sims’ Detroit design is unique to the Motor City.
More than anything, though, Sims sees 10|7 Apparel as a way by which she can give back to the community that fostered her creativity by hopefully growing the company to the point that she will need to hire additional employees.
“I’m really trying to build it in a way that I can start giving back to the community ‘cause I really feel that Detroit is a blooming and prosperous place, and it’s really gonna get back to where it used to be back in the day.”