The holiday season is approaching and the pandemic is still wreaking havoc on Black-owned businesses like; restaurants, clubs, retail stores and other services that are born in highly concentrated urban communities. Independent urban businesses like clubs, bars and restaurants that rely on steady, dependable streams of customers are suffering… but a recovery is underway. This epidemic has hit the musicians and DJ’s who depend on gigs at clubs, bars and restaurants, as well as, the live event industry extra hard as well. The excessive duration of the coronavirus pandemic — and the restrictions placed on social activity have put small businesses like clubs and freelancers like DJ’s in need of help heading into fall of 2021. This means these vital components of The Detroit economic fabric are seriously at risk.
Kenneth L. Harris, national president and CEO of the National Business League, founded by Booker T. Washington, is the oldest and largest trade association representing Black businesses in the United States. Kenneth remarked, “We didn’t just have social distancing. We had economic distancing,” (via Detroit Free Press). Tough economic times mean we need to help independent artists in hard-hit communities like Detroit whenever we can.
Shop Small | Support Detroit
In order to support small businesses that are vital components of the Detroit Music scene, we have compiled a list of independant Detroit Labels and music-related brands. Each brand has an online presence that we hope you will support during the holiday season. Not all are still located in Detroit but they all fuel the Detroit Music scene. These sites are not just about T-shirts, there are Jackets, Skateboard Decks, Keychains, socks, and of course tons of limited edition vinyl and music.
NDATL Records Store
DJ, Producer, and NDATL Label boss, Kai Alce has great selection of NDATL tracks, shirts and merch on his site. Kai has also recently launched a line of eyewear called Kai Alce Eyewear, so check it out and you can be among the first to score eyewear reminiscent of Kai Alce’s signature colorful frames.
The Hip Hop Shop | Maurice Malone Designs
Maurice Malone is hands down the biggest Afro-American name in streetwear and fashion to come out of Detroit…his business is based out of Williamsburg Brooklyn now but his roots were firmly planted in the Detroit music industry. He grew up as a designer first…but also a musician, DJ, store owner, producer, and promoter in Detroit. Throughout his early career, Maurice kept his streetwear and denim brands MoJeans and Maurice Malone Designs connected to street culture through his love for music…as he became more successful he went on to open the Hip Hop Shop that was Detroit’s most influential hip-hop incubator spawning J-Dilla, Eminem, Royce Da 5’9 and groups like Slum Village. Maurice moved to New York as his brand went global, but his heart remains in Detroit. Maurice may not live in Detroit now but continues to give back in any way he can. For example, he has provided a way for young designers in Detroit to get into the industry the form of a scholarships to the Parsons x Complex Streetwear Industry Essentials in cooperation with our friends at the education brand Yellowbrick.
Axis Records Store
Jeff Mills is one of the most detail-oriented and meticulous creators in music and film. He emerged from his roots in Underground Resistance, (who’s gear can only be purchased IRL in person at Submerge in Detroit) to fuel music projects around the world from residencies at the Lauvre in France to creating soundtracks for the film Metropolis with his label, Axis records… That said, he has a lot of exclusive hidden gems on his website shop, from an exclusive Axis Roadster leather Jacket with Axis logos hidden in the details of the snap buttons, to skateboard decks, tour jackets, T-shirts, and other exclusive boxed musical collectibles. You can even find limited-edition drops of collectibles like the Axis lug wrench.
Eddie Fowlkes label’s shopping page reps his imprint with a few T-Shirts and tons of dope music.
God Said Give Em’ Drum Machines Store
The Music Origins Project archive is a big part of the film God Said Give Em Drum Machines and it’s in its final stages of production. Support the creation of the definitive film on Detroit Techno, God Said Give Em’ Drum Machines by buying merch for the film.
The Charivari brand has roots in the party club scene from Detroit in the 80’s, most recently the brand was reinvented as a Music Festival where his signature logo merch is front and center.
Planet E Records Store
Planet e is Carl Craig’s baby and “Detroit Love” is one of the brands he has toured around the world with. You can score plenty of “Detroit Love” merch and other fun Planet e branded clothing like socks Tee-Shirts and other assorted goodies on the site.
Aux 88 Store
AUX 88 has a nice selection of T-shirts and hoodies to help you support one of the original DetroitTechno Bands. His site also offers rare box sets of their films and vinyl collectibles.
Dez Andrés Store
DJ Dez of Slum Village Fame has one of the largest collections of clothing and merch available on his website from clothing and Baseball caps to artwork prints and branded headphones.
Detroit Techno Militia Store
The Michigan Militia have become notorious…but this is the good kind… this DJ collective is spreading Detroit Techno beats and musical unity so you can be proud to represent with their statement T-shirts and hoodies.
Danny Brown’s Store
Danny Brown is a Detroit hip-hop artist that has moved from music to TV and made a name for himself with his Detroit wit and smart business moves. Check out his music and a few T-shirts that can be copped with his box sets.
Versus Everbody Store
The “Detroit vs Everybody” t-shirt has made it was around the world on the backs of hip artists and other supporters of Detroit. The brand has expanded the message but it remains true to its Detroit roots.
Made In Detroit Store
This Detroit brand is now owned by Kid Rock, but they still offer a wide range of clothing items with their highly recognizable and popular logo.
You can get most of Moodyman’s collection of tracks along with artist like Amp Fiddler, Rick Wilhite, and Andrez on the Mohagani Music Bandcamp page. You need to go to a show to find his rare merch.
Eminem has a strong collection of clothing on his website. There are multiple capsule collections including a limited edition drops of items like the Marshall Mathers Foundation X Downtown Boxing Gym hoodie or T-Shirt that provided funds to the Marshall Mathers Foundation and DBG that is doing good in Detroit and helping support the families of essential works during the epidemic.
Support The Music Origins Project
Help us further the Independant educational mission of this website by purchasing some of our clothing or merch.
If we missed any Independent Detroit brands feel free to suggest more in the comments below.