On the heels of the Fall 2010 release of the collaboration celebrating Detroit between Dr Romanelli and Michigan based boutique Revive, the tandem is back for part two of the much anticipated follow up. Just like its predecessor it will again be paying homage to the city Detroit, Michigan. The first offering between these two entitled “The Detroit Collection” was incredibly successful both in terms of viral exposure as well as sales. The debut consisted of deconstructed jackets with amazing craftsmanship. Romanelli took a mix of vintage jerseys which were reconstructed and eventually cut and sewn via various methods of stitching and patchwork. This new debut will also feature the same high quality workmanship and out-of-the-box
ideas that DRx is most known for.
[youtube width=”620″ height=”400″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIPc2coKhW4&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]
In 2011 on Super Bowl Sunday the world was reintroduced to the city of Detroit thanks to the brand of Chrysler. With its gritty, hard nosed IMPORTED FROM DETROIT commercial Chrysler managed to remind the world that Detroit is still working. It was an instant hit and now has a solid 10 million views on YouTube. Highlighted was the new Chrysler 200 taking a trip up I-75 passing Zug Island with its smog and smoke billowing over the industrial area of the city, as well as passing abandoned buildings and homes. The commercial then highlighted some of Detroit’s most famed landmarks like the Spirit of Detroit, the newly renovated Book-Cadillac hotel and the mighty fist of great boxer Joe Louis. The commercial ends with Eminem onstage at the State Theater while a choir echo’s the melody to his hit ‘Lose Yourself’ from the 2002 film 8 Mile. Despite the constant bashing from the media forgetting that this was once a thriving metropolis, people still care. Dr. Romanelli is one of them and for his new collection is going to be marketing pieces through Revive that represent the workers on whose backs this city was built. Reaching
back to the 1950’s and 1960’s Detroit was somewhat of an urban utopia, being the 2nd largest city in America with a bustling downtown filled with families of all races. One of the city’s most famous landmarks was a Hudson’s department store on Woodward Avenue that was the cultural focal point of the thriving downtown. Most families dressed up for the store and made a Saturday of it, spending hours shopping and eating together. It was the tallest department store in the world in 1961 and the biggest in square footage second only to Macy’s of New York City.
Like most of America, early industrial Detroit was patriarchal as women stayed home and tended to the family as the millions of men went to their respective auto jobs working 9 to 5. Your turn-of-the-century Detroit employee was dirtying their ‘blue collar’ shirts in manufacturing jobs in one of the auto plants and steel mills that littered the cities landscape. After the race riots in 1967 amidst the burned and broken buildings, new racial tensions and a collapse of the civility that once defined the city, hundreds of thousands fled to create new suburban communities north of the now legendary 8 Mile Road. While the city is still standing it has no doubt been crippled by the loss of population, failing school systems, mayoral & police corruption and financial woes. However, millions of suburbanites are still driving to and from the city limits to punch the clock for late night and early morning shifts as they keep this nation running on Detroit. Dr. Romanelli and Revive would like to introduce this new collection paying respects to the real architects of this thing we call the ‘auto industry’ that was established by hard working Detroiters over 40
One of the first steps for Dr. Romanelli was finding a brand that has superior craftsmanship and could handle the feat of recreating the clothing worn by these early auto workers of the city. Romanelli chose Japanese brand Anachronorm known for their unparalleled remakes of vintage Americana work wear and were brought on to do the cut & sew for the collection. The outcome of their collection is called DRx STEEL WORKS; a tribute to the steel and factory workers of the time period. The Dr Romanelli one of a kind items are a collection of contemporary pieces made from reconstructed authentic work wear relative to the era. Romanelli dug deep researching and finding period pieces from that age to give a correct visual and physical representation of the ‘every man’ uniform for the early Detroit auto workers. Not only is this collection about the workers themselves, but also about what they wore as they created many of the classics that still cruise Woodward every 3rd Saturday in August during the famed Dream Cruise.
Just like all of his other projects Dr. Romanelli has a visual component to provide a graphic narrative of this journey through the likes of 2 different pictorial components. DRx enlisted the help of California based artist and designer Nathan Cabrera, whose work has been featured in art shows all along the West Coast as well as in numerous comic books, magazines, television shows and toy stores. Romanelli, Cabrera and Revive will first be releasing a poster showcasing the drop done by the artist Cabrera and will accompany
the poster with a video. Made to mimic and pay tribute to the popular genre of Blaxploitation films from the 1970’s, fans of favorites like Dolemite, The Mack and Detroit 9000 will notice similar themes. The video entitled Lie, Cheat and STEEL (and STEEL being used to represent the mills of the city,) will visually represent the collection between DRx and Revive by telling a story of the clothing with the hometown representative Big Sean providing the soundtrack.
Words by :Kyle Kjerrumgaard