Small Biz + Sustainability: Meet Eugenie and DITNB

by Tracy Reese on May 28, 2021

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Hope for Flowers. But how do we define sustainability? What does sustainability mean to us?


At first glance, you’ll notice that Hope for Flowers produces clothes made from eco-friendly materials. We are continuously looking for ways to make sure production is as kind to the earth as possible. You may also notice that we support a “slow fashion” model, which means that we design beautiful styles that women will want to wear again and again, across seasons and events. These designs are released in fewer, more targeted drops throughout the year to reduce fashion waste. 


But we also define sustainability in terms of our community. We care deeply about the wellness of the creative community in Detroit and strongly believe the creative economy can help build strength for the city as whole. The economic success of local creatives and businesses will create a ripple effect of positivity. That’s why supporting our local, small business community is as much a part of our definition of sustainability as the use of eco-friendly fabrics are.  


Our local retail business partner, Gretchen Valade of Eugenie, shares our views on sustainability and the importance of building up the local creative community. 


“Sustainability can mean so many different things,” said Valade. And that’s why educating consumers about sustainability in fashion is such an important mission of hers.   

Eugenie’s Midtown, Detroit storefront

 

Eugenie is a women’s boutique located in Midtown, Detroit stocked full of sustainably-made apparel from across the world. Eugenie is all about “supporting brands and people who are doing the right thing for the planet and investing in brands that share the same values,” said Valade. 


Valade’s vision for Eugenie, when the concept took root in 2019, was to create an experience for consumers that focused on telling the story of what sustainability is. “We want to help customers do their research to understand what they’re buying and who they’re buying from.” 


“Designers create pieces of art,” she explained. “How we think about a piece of art we hang on the wall… how you value that is similar to valuing [designer] clothing.” She wants to help customers understand that that’s what they’re paying for when they walk into Eugenie: A work of art. 

 

 
Hope for Flowers pieces featured by Eugenie

While Valade loves bringing attention to brands that have flown “under the radar,” as she called it, she is proud to partner with Tracy Reese on Hope for Flowers. Hope for Flowers pieces are featured both in-store and online at Eugenie. 


Supporting local retailers is a growing aspect of Hope for Flowers’ strategy. Customers can also find Hope for Flowers pieces in the downtown retail boutique, Detroit is the New Black


Founder and CEO of Detroit is the New Black, Roslyn Karamoko, launched Detroit is the New Black in 2013 as a locally sourced and based fashion and accessory line and has since done much to cultivate the local creative economy. 


Detroit is the New Black's storefront downtown, Detroit

 

Detroit is the New Black offers dedicated space for events, poetry slams, art classes, trunk shows and more. The store itself functions as an art gallery that features monthly art installations to help customers understand that “art and fashion are one,” as Karamoko says.  


Last year, Detroit is the New Black embarked on a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan to offer youth interested in retail or fashion merchandising careers real-world, paid experience. The program is called the Industry Club and aims to expose youth to the business and entrepreneurship of fashion. 


In addition, Detroit is the New Black runs a retail accelerator program in partnership with Ponyride for five rotating local brands at a time, and focuses in on women- and minority-owned businesses.


Local retailers like Eugenie and Detroit is the New Black go above and beyond to help build a sustainable, creative economy in Detroit. Hope for Flowers is proud to align with Valade and Karamoko. With partners like these, we believe there is a powerful future for fashion and apparel in Detroit. 

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