How Détroit is the New Black Became More than a T-Shirt

By: Scott Davis | December 14, 2020

Photo Courtesy of Détroit is the New Black.

Your Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers and the Detroit City Football Club are partnering up to highlight a local small business every week with the Detroit Small Biz City series. This week’s business is Détroit is the New Black, a retailer that shows the diversity of Detroit.

Roslyn Karamoko moved from Seattle to Detroit in 2013 with six years of experience as a retail buyer in New York and Singapore. She quickly fell in love with the city but felt that the fashion scene was lacking, so she decided to put her skills to work.

Karamoko first printed out t-shirts to give out to friends with the phrase “Détroit is the New Black” on them. She purposefully included the accent mark as a nod to the city’s French roots, and the shirt quickly became a hit. She opened an online shop shortly thereafter, then opened a factory store where she hosted pop-up events, which eventually led her to open her own storefront.

Even though she didn’t grow up in Detroit, Karamoko was excited to see where Detroit was heading when she moved here in 2013 and wanted to be a part of that movement.

“I came up with the Détroit is the New Black idea because the city is up-and-coming and it’s cool, but there’s also a black and inclusion conversation to be had,” Karamoko said. “A conversation about how the city has dealt with developing who’s included in the development for the city.”

The store is currently at its fifth location on Woodward and has become a staple for not only the Détroit is the New Black branded products, but because of the vast clothing and styles the shop offers. Karamoko said that there really is something for every Detroiter and it shows that there is commonality between race, politics, and age across the city. 

“It shows that we can find a common thread and we want our store to be that common thread between people,” Karamoko added.

The store is also known for displaying local art from minority artists in its store. Karamoko said that with all of the products they offer, the store sometimes feels like a marketplace experience, and the art brings everything together for a cohesive experience.

You can see all of the latest products Détroit is the New Black is offering on their website or during their store hours. Due to COVID-19, shipping delays are expected for many of their products. For your chance to win a gift card to Détroit is the New Black, be sure to visit Detroit City FC’s Facebook page, and like and share the Détroit is the New Black Detroit Small Biz City post to be entered to win!