Introducing ArtWear: Promoting Detroit One Accessory At A Time

By |2015-09-03T09:00:00-04:00September 3rd, 2015|Entertainment, Theater|

Susan Rogal is passionate about the city of Detroit. She is also passionate about art. As of late, she has intertwined these two passions under the umbrella of the Detroit Urban Design Studio.
“Our motto is taking Detroit art to the streets,” Rogal said. “We are dedicated to bringing distinct, authentic designs to handbags, clothing, accessories and housewares called ArtWear using exceptional source art from Detroit’s regional artists. Our mission is to celebrate regional artists, promote their work, support a living wage and highlight their valuable contribution to Detroit’s cultural legacy. Featuring new artists, designing a diverse, limited edition product line, and providing opportunities for Detroit regional artists is our goal.”
The first artist Rogal partnered with was the late illustrator Gary Grimshaw. From there she added Leni Sinclair, FEL3000ft – Graffiti King Detroit, Michele Lundgren, Carl Lundgren, Darcel Deneau and Kate Paul. Just last week, Rogal signed her eighth artist, none other than Between The Lines contributing writer Charles Alexander.
“We represent graffiti artists, muralists, poster artists, painters, photographers, illustrators and Charles wraps it up nicely,” said Rogal. “His art is going to look smashing on our stuff because it’s more abstract. Treena Ericson, the director at the Scarab Club, said, ‘His stuff would look amazing on a scarf,’ and it’s true. His work is perfect for product because it’s abstract and it doesn’t really have a beginning or an end. So it was thanks to the Scarab Club director that we kind of met in the middle and he decided to come onboard.”
Alexander said he was honored to be asked.
“I was pleased to partner with Susan because there were a number of Detroit artists whose work is being featured,” he said. “Susan was very pleased with me. She showed me some preliminary things she had worked up, my designs being used for hoodies or for ties or things like that. It’s my impression in my meetings with her that she is very anxious to give publicity to Detroit artists and to use their art to merchandize things. They’re planning to expand outside of Detroit to other countries and so forth. I was so impressed with her sincerity. Plus she had excellent credentials.” As she continues to add artists to her brand, Rogal is also expanding her product line, especially the housewares divison.
“For some of our artists, we have glasses,” she said. “We just came out with ceramic tile. We can take a piece of art and we break it into a 100 parts. So you can do a ceramic wall or a backsplash.”
Currently, ArtWear can be founded in some 35 stores across Metro Detroit as well as online at artweardetroit.com.
“We are passionate about Detroit’s future,” said Rogal. “We want Detroit to thrive in the new century and believe that art and our city’s artists will be vital to Detroit’s future. We share the belief with many people that there is virtually no equivalent of underutilized potential than (in) Detroit today. We believe by creating opportunities for local artists, and showcasing their talent, that it is a positive way to communicate just one more thing that is great about our city.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael joined Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.