As a Seattle native and a Detroit believer, Roslyn Karamoko, the mind behind the brand Détroit is the New Black, started her current gig in the city by a simple t-shirt.

Her family and friends were reluctant about the idea of her living in Detroit when she made the move about two years ago and she remembers telling them, “Detroit is the new black,” she said. It was cool, up-and-coming and she wanted to be here and spread the word about the opportunity and positivity.

Karamoko made her friends and family t-shirts after working with a graphic designer on a simple, clean and editorial-like brand stamp that read “DÉTROIT IS THE NEW BLACK.” As a brand, Détroit is the New Black aims to engage existing Detroit fashion in a contemporary format.

She wanted the accent in the brand name because of the rich French influence the city of Detroit holds.

As no foreigner to fashion, Karamoko studied fashion merchandising at Howard University where she spent her time living in Washington D.C. before she went on to live in New York and hold a position as a buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue.

The next career move for Karamoko was to work as a consultant full-time and she spent much time traveling with a stay in Singapore, where she continued to work on this Détroit is the New Black concept on the side.

After her move to the city, Karamoko started showing her merchandise at Eastern Market and Dally in the Alley, where many people started to embrace her concept and design.

“It just kind of took on a mind of its own,” she said. “I wanted it to be positive and make a definitive statement,” she said of the name and what the words embody.

Karamoko said Detroit is happening and changing and there’s a new kind of urbanite and cosmopolitan moving in.

It’s important that she finds a way to support the city and its design, too, so Karamoko spends a significant amount of time programming with other local designers and bigger department store names to share her store space in a pop-up-like fashion. Détroit is the New Black has had a spot in midtown since early in 2015.

Before acquiring the gallery-like space Détroit is the New Black occupies, Karamoko launched her brand in pop-up like form, too, an


d appreciates the support of other designers, so she likes to support the community and Detroit fashion scene as well.

“It’s great to be part of the community,” she said. “I want to provide a platform and space for designers to try out the Detroit market.”

As for the future of Karamoko and the brand, she plans to design a proper collection with more than the definitive statement, while expanding on product development and design.

In addition to a separate collection, Karamoko also hopes to collaborate with big names like Carhart or Tracy Reese.

To keep current on products and events, follow the brand on social and visit the space at 52 E. Forest Ave.

Written by Erica N. Rakowicz / Photo Credit: Facebook


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