The founder and owner of Spectacles is Zana Smith. She is one of the most important tastemakers on the Detroit fashion and music scene, and she has spent years creating and building her Detroit brand. Her sense of style is shared by some of the most diverse people in the city. Young and old, artist or professional, Spectacles influences the movers and shakers. Zana finds eyewear, accessories, and clothing collections that Detroiters want to wear. She finds obscure and stylish items that you want to be the first to wear or possess. But her store is not only clothing, but she sells music and books, selling rare CDs from those innovative local musicians that no one else has heard because Spectacles had it before the world knew who they were. Trendsetters are sure to visit the shop to see what’s new on the world’s stage of fashion, music, and literature. Spectacles is not only a store but it’s a gathering place for like-minded people who know what’s cool.
Over the years she has compiled a vast archive of images and insights about the Detroit Techno and house music scene and she has been interviewed for the film God Said Give Em Drum Machines. You can hear some excerpts from her interviews on the God Said Drum Machines Podcast.
Zana Smith has run Spectacles, her downtown clothing boutique, for 35+ years now. Her store is a landmark of Detroit fashion, drawing customers from Harmonie Park to Japan. With the launch of the M-1 Rail construction that’s become the city’s main artery, down Woodward Avenue, business is picking up.
“You have to love what you do. For me, I enjoy being a retailer, I enjoy servicing my community, I enjoy finding out what your needs are and fulfilling those needs,” says Smith. (via UIXdetroit.com)
“Spectacles hit its stride at the dawn of the 1990s when, on a trip to New York City to visit her sister, Smith met filmmaker Spike Lee and the crew behind his 40 Acres and a Mule clothing line. As Smith tells it, Lee is a filmmaker, not a clothing retailer, so getting 40 Acres to ship product to stores outside of New York was difficult. Smith was soon filling her own car with 40 Acres products and transporting the clothes herself.”(via UIXdetroit.com)
Zana has a gift for curating cool brands, drawing people from all over the world to come to buy hard-to-find lines of clothing. Smith is constantly breaking trends, like the “Detroit vs. Everybody” T-shirt enabling that shirt’s designer to open his own shop. Now Detroit’s vibe has shifted to cater to hipster culture and more large corporate brands like, the Detroit native John Varvatos’s shop, has opened nearby, but locally-owned brands like Spectacles are still representing.
“The whole thing is about how you can make it interesting and fun,” says Smith. “Of course, when the person gets home with the product, they have to be in love all over again. It doesn’t do them any good if they get home and they say ‘Why did I buy this.’ You gotta leave people with a good taste in their mouth and that creates the return client. I’m good at that.” (via UIXdetroit.com)
“Smith has a rich entrepreneurial history and comes from a family of businesspeople. Her grandmother had a boutique, her mother ran her own moving company, and her uncle had his own line of milk. In college, Smith was running a boutique out of her dorm room, selling Afro picks, Afro sheen, and sunglasses. In 1971, Smith re-opened Junior’s Jazz Room, her brother’s old record store at Dexter and Davison. In 1974, Smith opened her first boutique, Zana, at Seven Mile and Livernois.” (via UIXdetroit.com) Now 35+ years later Zana continues a long tradition of keeping Detroiters in style and promoting everything that’s cool through her enclave Specticles.