MAISON BLACK, Curated Online Retail Space, Brings it Back  

MAISON BLACK’s Founder Tori Nichel, third from right, stands with her designers during the MAISON BLACK show on Wednesday, October 20 at Ford Piquette Avenue Plant.

Photo by Jillian Nathan


Black fashion in Detroit came out to play on Wednesday, October 20.

The Black fashion industry, all in a league of their own, commanded the attention of everybody in the room with early 20th century Ford Model T’s as a backdrop as models fiercely strutted the catwalk during MAISON BLACK’s Manhattan to Motown fashion show Wednesday, October 20, at Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, 461 Piquette Ave. in Detroit.

The curated online retail space (with luxury fashion accessible to all) — made from products by Black designers — is the new bourgeoning concept behind MAISON BLACK.

During the event (where the who’s who in fashion were invited) MAISON BLACK’s Founder Tori Nichel, also a chief creative officer, spoke heartfeltly about why she launched the online platform that is poised to offer a space for new — and seasoned — Black designers to launch, promote and increase their businesses.

“We got to bring it back. We’re going to bring back the furs, the gators … everything we know,” Nichel said of bringing fashion back to the forefront in Detroit. “I am thrilled. I am beyond grateful and humbled that the six designers trusted me to bring this back to Motown. I want to pinch myself because I can’t believe I stand before you all,” Nichel, in a patterned, blue spaghetti strap dress with crème and black snakeskin boots. “We ask you to support us and our brothers and sisters – and the other brothers and sisters that will be coming. And let everyone know not just about MAISON BLACK but all these wonderful designers.”

Nichel added it all about offering fashionable accessibility to the people.

“We are here to provide access and… what is special about these designers is these designers have 20, 30, 40 years along with our brothers and sisters in New York and across the United States. They are so often overlooked,” Nichel said.

Nichel told the Michigan Chronicle that her inspiration behind founding MAISON BLACK came from the lack of findability of Black-designed products.

“In addition, a key motivator came from the imbalance and lack of access [to specialty and luxury retailers] and inequalities in funding for Black designers,” she said previously. “MAISON BLACK is in the business of building legacies and ensuring staying power.”

MAISON BLACK is a global retail destination that will feature Black designers who have been underrepresented and overlooked.

Nichel’s background has led up to this moment where nothing felt impossible that evening – especially with the fashions displayed by some Cass Tech alumni and other Detroiters who did the thing.

Featured fashions included seasonless collections in a runway presentation featuring native Black designers like award-winning APOTTS (Aaron Potts) and Kevan Hall, Isaiah Hemmingway, N’GAI (Nicole King), TRUTH (Sharryl Cross), and S. MCGEE COLLECTION (Shawna McGee). Following the runway presentation, the “Manhattan to Motown” collections were also available for purchase at a three-day pop-up shopping experience later that week for guests to meet Nichel, the designers, and purchase their respective collections.

McGee told the Michigan Chronicle that she felt “ecstatic” after the fashion show.

“Coming back from New York to Detroit where it all started for me as a kid at Cass Tech High,” she said getting emotional. “I’m gonna cry, I don’t want to cry. This is where it started so to bring it full circle … is awesome.”

McGee added that her pieces are luxurious, resort “to the max” with African elements weaved throughout to pay homage to her history.

“It is my heritage – Africa is homeland it is the spirit within me. No matter where I am it’s always Africa within me.”

Iconic fashion designer Tracy Reese, who attended the event, told the Michigan Chronicle that she appreciated the fashions and so much more.

“I really enjoyed (seeing) all this amazing talent show their work in this beautiful venue and half of these people I already knew very well,” Reese, who had a front-row seat, said of the designers including people she “idolized” like McGee. “When I was a freshman, her work was … oh my God, she’s so amazing. Aaron — that collection blew me away … we can see that the levels of design, quality, (fashion) -– everything is here. All here… it’s nice to see these designers have an opportunity to shine and be front and center.”

For more information go to Find MAISON BLACK at @maisonblacknewyork.



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