Editor’s Note: In the second part of our Off the Beaten Path series in partnership with Montblanc, we’re telling the stories of Detroit — America’s off the beaten path, but rising, city. In this series we look at Detroit through the lens of those who know it best, its tastemakers, experiencing the very places they feel are worth a stop.
The story of Detroit, the underdog, clawing itself back from decades of neglect and mismanagement (culminating with the city’s bankruptcy in 2013) has been told time and time again. The rock bottom home prices attracting transplants, the urban farms popping up and new industry finding its way to the city are well recorded along with the “ruin porn” that defined the outsider’s view of the Motor City for much of the aughts. But in 2019, things are different in Detroit. “America’s Comeback City” is back, but if you’re not there, you may not know that. Whether you are going to Detroit for work or just for a vacation, the city has more than enough to offer and take in. Not least of which is the burgeoning fashion scene of makers and boutiques helping to define the Detroit style.
With companies like StockX calling Detroit home, style has a natural place here. And not everyone is a recent transplant. Born and raised in the city, with over 14 years of tailoring experience, Nelson Sanders is one of Detroit’s own defining what it means to get dressed in this city. Sanders runs his own custom tailoring shop in the city’s downtown — a stone’s throw from the Quicken Loans headquarters (which relocated there in 2010 as a bet on Detroit’s future) — aptly named Dandy. Working with Italian and English fabrics, Sanders offers clients a fully custom experience with a knack, as he says, for a certain Detroit flourish. With Sanders as our guide, he took us on a tour of his stylish Detroit for some more à la carte offerings that would be worth bringing back from any trip to Motor City.
Sanders’s Dandy is located inside another well-regarded brick and mortar style haven, Détroit Is The New Black. This 2,300-square-foot shop stocks a mix of local designers as well as those on a global scale and has room for Dandy to take in clients for fittings as well. With pieces only to be found in-store — Détroit Is The New Black’s e-commerce is pretty limited — and a rotating crew of Detroit-based designers and a collection of hard to find magazines, the shop is well worth a visit, regardless if you are getting measured for one of Sanders’s suits.
Detroit is, of course, an iconic blue-collar city. Not only the birthplace of the nation’s auto industry but also Carhartt was founded in nearby Dearborn — it seems fitting the next stop would serve up some denim threads. Detroit Denim Co. was founded in 2010 and nearly a decade later they are still making everything there in its Rivertown factory. With the shop right off the factory floor, you can get your new jeans hemmed in a matter of minutes. But it isn’t only handcrafted jeans you can grab to bring back from your trip to the city at Detroit Denim Co., there are also limited runs of workshirts, leather goods and even tote bags — which caught our eye. From custom-tailored suiting to selvedge denim, Detroit is worth a visit if just for the pieces you can bring back.
Along with Sanders, we put together a directory of the must-visit shops and some of the Detroit styles to bring home for yourself.