Published: November 27, 2012. thesouthend.wayne.edu.
It’s rare to hear Detroit and fashion being spoken of in the same sentence. It’s not that the two are unrelated, but people, for the most part, don’t see the connection. While there is a fashion scene in the city and it is rising, it is still fairly unheard of and small. Consequently, Detroit, for a long time, has been disregarded as having little merit when it comes to fashion. However, whatever the current state of Detroit fashion may be, many don’t realize that at one point the city was considered a fashion hot spot in the Midwest.
Along with music and automobiles, fashion played a large role in the development of Detroit. With a large population and thriving economy, Detroit was the destination for some of the most fashionable and forward-thinking people. Apart from shopping at department stores in downtown Detroit, many people would often make trips to the Avenue of Fashion, the roughly one-mile strip of Livernois Avenue between Seven and Eight Mile roads, to get a more personal and unique shopping experience. The avenue, in its prime, was filled with a plethora of boutiques that held only the chicest and most sought after items on the market.
In the spirit of fashion and all that is retro, I decided to visit the Avenue of Fashion. The street today, although not as popular as it used to be, is still home to a variety of boutiques. From trendy women’s wear, specialty menswear and small restaurants to nail and hair care, the avenue offers a shopping experience that is suitable for just about everyone. Each store is welcoming and truly a world of their own and you’re sure to be greeted with a hello from everyone you pass.
As many are aware, there’s a small fashion community within the Royal Oak and Ferndale area. It’s common for people to spend a day walking the town, grabbing a bite to eat, and shopping with friends all within the limits of these cities. So why would anyone go out of their way to visit the Avenue of Fashion when Ferndale and Royal Oak are just a mile or two away?
For one, the avenue has a variety of stores that are unique. From a specialty hat and veil shop to an authentic African boutique, the Avenue of Fashion is a truly one of Detroit’s best-kept secrets.
Furthermore, the Avenue of Fashion is a location rich with history. Walk in to any of the stores on the street and you’re bound to catch yourself in a conversation about the golden years of Detroit fashion. With each shop owner and retail worker proud of the achievements of the avenue, a trip there is sure to be reminiscent of the best days of Detroit fashion.
It’s difficult to predict what the future of the Avenue of Fashion might look like. There’s no doubt that there’s an abundance of passion and creativity, but is that enough for the avenue to be what it once was? Regardless of the answer, the Avenue of Fashion appears to be making great strides toward a comeback, so only time will tell.