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Written by: Leslie Reese
The Hope for Flowers Artisan Studio hosted its Open House on Friday, August 19, 2021, after the Hope for Flowers team worked its magic transforming the workspace located in the Franklin-Wright Settlement building into a welcoming space for guests. This included an installation of Hope for Flowers garments – created by Sabrina Nelson – which hung from overhead, and a showcase featuring local artisans Najma Ma’at and Shalya Johnson, who demonstrated the Shibori method of hand-dyeing, and screen printing, respectively. A splendid beaded chair created by Lina Stephens, Director of Hope for Flowers Artisan Studio was also on view.
Guests chatted and admired selections from the Hope for Flowers collection, including shoe samples from Tracy’s collaboration with Naturalizer, while refreshing sounds of Minnie Riperton, Jill Scott, Johnny Hartman and Regina Carter played softly in the background. For sips and nibbles there was cartoned water, gourmet chocolate chip cookies, and rosé wine. Bunches of fresh cut flowers were all around, and one area was staged with half-mooned seating for viewing a montage of some of Tracy’s previous fashion presentations, including “A Detroit Love Song” – an 8-minute film produced in Detroit featuring Tracy Reese’s Fall 2016 collection.
The exuberant gathering included many members of Detroit’s creative community, including esteemed elders Dr. Cledie Collins Taylor and Marian Stephens – both of whom nurtured Tracy’s design skills at Cass Technical High School – and Shirley Woodson, 2021 Kresge Eminent Artist. Before introducing everyone to the gifted and dexterous members of the Hope for Flowers team, Tracy spoke to the group about her reasons for wanting to grow a sustainable fashion brand based in Detroit. She shared her vision of Hope For Flowers Artisan Studio as a place to nurture and lift up the talents of Detroit youth and artisans.