Detroit’s national emergence as a major player in technology, entertainment, art and fashion is nothing new, especially for Detroit residents. When news broke in January that Gucci’s luxury brand would be moving to downtown Detroit, there was no shock. However, there was a mix of excitement and caution about what this meant not only for downtown Detroit, but also for the heart of the city – its people and the community as a whole.
In an exclusive one-on-one with Susan Chokachi, President and CEO of Gucci Americas, Chokachi addresses the elephant in the mixed reaction room and explains why some Detroiters are concerned about what may be perceived as poaching of business.
“Gucci found a natural alignment with Detroit and its vibrant culture many years ago. In 2019, we collaborated with director Jenn Nkiru to create the film Black to Techno which celebrated techno as a local art form of Detroit: When we established the Gucci Changemakers program that same year, we identified Detroit as a focus city, to support grassroots grassroots organizations and tap into the city’s youth to advocate for stronger representation. in the fashion industry.
For Chokachi, what many may not know is Gucci’s presence as a community partner and its impact before securing the downtown location with their Changemakers program.
“Gucci is synonymous with community, and the local relationships we have built over the past few years will grow in the years to come. We have been able to collaborate with Detroit residents across the city through our partnerships with Cass Tech and JOURNi , thanks to local artists, poets, filmmakers, musicians and friends like Tommey, and of course, thanks to our Gucci Changemakers programme.
“These relationships have allowed us and will continue to allow us to gain a better understanding of Detroit outside of downtown proper, so that we can continue to contribute to this vibrant and diverse city. Our hope is that this location will serve as a gathering point for the energy of downtown and the creative and unique character of Detroit’s many neighborhoods and the people who live there. said Chokachi.
“I have been fortunate to personally engage with the students and faculty at Cass Tech High School over the past few years. Principal Phillips leads such a talented and inspired student body, including people like Brooke Solomon, former from Cass Tech, whom I met in her senior year and followed while she was pursuing her studies at Howard University. It was rewarding to discover and nurture the confidence, creativity and determination of Detroit’s youth.” She continues: “In July, we are thrilled to announce the next round of Gucci Changemakers Scholarship and Impact Fund recipients, alongside the opening of the Detroit store.
The most recent and notably in Detroit as part of the Changemakers program was the collaboration with iconic Detroiter brand Tommy Walker “Detroit Vs. Everybody”. Although according to Chokachi, Gucci’s commitment to the collaboration does not include to stop with Walker.
“Detroit vs. Everyone really embodies the spirit of the city, and for our first collaboration with Tommey, we wanted to bring that spirit to our Gucci Changemakers cities across the country. It was such a hit, we knew we wanted to work together again. The opening of Gucci in downtown Detroit is the perfect opportunity. Now, the multi-city project that started with t-shirts will evolve into a product collaboration with the Gucci Off The Grid collection. , made of recycled, organic, biobased and sustainably sourced materials with DVE iconography.
Beyond this partnership, supporting the next generation of fashion professionals is the ultimate goal of the Gucci Changemakers Fund, and we’re excited to continue rewarding the city of Detroit’s incredible students and nonprofits.
Detroit’s comeback was a years-long process, which Gucci, like County, noticed, but the question is, why expand into Detroit now?
“Gucci has been rooting in downtown Detroit for a few years now, since 2019 when the Gucci America team came to the city and felt an incredible connection to what was happening in the city and its communities. We knew right away that we wanted Gucci to be part of Detroit’s upcoming downtown revitalization.
Being the only UNESCO-designated City of Design, Detroit has a rich history of creativity and innovation, and the people of Detroit are truly guardians of their city with incredible energy. You can feel a palpable creativity in the air, and you can see how Detroit continually uses this energy to turn times of challenge into opportunity and prosperity. We had planned to come to Detroit before the Covid pandemic, but think it’s even more important now. The arrival of Gucci in the city is a tribute to this strength. said Chokachi.
An experience fit for Detroit’s style and grit is what’s expected when you walk through the doors of the new location.
“The boutique was designed to combine the timelessness of Detroit’s architecture with Gucci’s Italian heritage. We immediately knew the Library Street location was our home when we saw its unique “Gucci Green” facade! My favorite element is the restored glass tiles you see on the historic 1910 building.” said Chokachi.
The Italian Renaissance terracotta building that Gucci will call home draws a resemblance between the essence of the luxury house and the timeless character of Detroit. The ground floor facade of the 1910 monument features restored glass panes under geometric ironwork trim. The monochromatic decorative floors mirror the geometric panels of the facade, creating three-dimensional effects and harmonizing with the cylindrical luminaires. Throughout the store, there are plush cushions, with modern blue faux fur rugs laid out on the textured floor.
Gucci will draw on its rich heritage and timeless identity to provide Detroit with the luxury retail destination it deserves. The store is a tribute to the fearless ingenuity of the Detroiters and the site of American retail history.
Also, according to Chokachi, what makes this location different from Somerset in an effort to draw people to Detroit is the specially curated collection that will be unique to Detroit.
“The downtown store’s product will be specially designed for this location and will showcase everything Gucci has to offer, from accessories and home décor to men’s and women’s ready-to-wear. In such a historic building, we were inspired to bring a unique expression of the brand into Detroit’s distinct architectural landscape, providing visitors with a new doorway to engage with Gucci. I’m thrilled to announce that our second collaboration with Tommey Walker will be available exclusively here – only in downtown Detroit.
The collaboration called GUCCI VS. EVERYONE 2.0 (GVE 2.0) with Walker. The project started with t-shirts representing each of the 11 Gucci Changemaker cities in 2021 and will now include items from Gucci Off The Grid, a gender-neutral collection that emphasizes circular production using recycled materials, organic, biobased and sustainable. .
Featuring innovative textiles such as Econyl, recycled steel and organic cotton with embroidered DVE iconography, GVE 2.0 will feature a duffel bag, baseball cap, backpack and belt bag. There will be a limited quantity of this collection available exclusively at the Detroit store. In line with Gucci’s global stores, the Detroit site will offer an extensive collection of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, footwear, handbags, luggage, small leather goods, jewelry, watches, eyewear and Gucci home decor.
Gucci’s new store at 1274 Library Street in the historic LB King and Company building in downtown Detroit is set to open in summer 2022.