Roslyn Johnson


Detroit is the New Black

What is Detroit is the New Black (DITNB)?

DITNB is a lifestyle brand and soon-to-be boutique inspired by Detroit’s contributions to fashion history. The womenswear line is minimal with an urban twist. My emphasis is on really clean, sophisticated and cosmopolitan designs that are also accessible. There are some great boutiques in the city, but there isn’t anything super young and trend-focused, which is what I hope to bring to the retail landscape. My background is in corporate retail buying, both in New York City and abroad, so I’d like to bring a more cosmopolitan sense of style to the city. I chose the name because creatives are flocking to the city – Detroit is the ‘new black’ i.e. the new place to be.

What was your experience in Build Institute?

Initially I wanted to have a small capsule collection and sell to local boutiques. Once I started to understand what made sense here, I decided a brand was too limiting. A shop is more accessible to more people. Build helped me hone in on my market and the customer base that is here, and helped me put all my ideas into a business plan that made sense. The best part of the class was our final session and presentation – it was wonderful to see how my peers’ ideas had evolved and how we could all support each other. In Detroit it’s all about collaboration and meeting people – Build helped me make some great friends and connections in a city that was brand new to me.

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“Build helped me hone in on my market and the customer base that is here, and helped me put all my ideas into a business plan that made sense.”

 

What are your most recent developments after the class?

I presented at Build Celebration SOUP in February. It was a great opportunity for me to network and get my idea out there. I’ve also launched a pop-up at Spiral Collective and I’ll be doing a one-day pop-up in Detroit on April 24th with EntreSlam. I’m also currently in talks to secure my own pop-up space for the summer. You can check my website for updates about upcoming pop-ups!

What’s in the future for DITNB?

I hope to eventually have a permanent space in the downtown or midtown area. I also want to focus on growing my collection by developing more screenprints tied to Detroit’s fashion history and possibly collaborating with local brands and designers. As I continue to expand my brand, I want it to remain scaleable and accessible to everyone.

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