As part Gucci Changemakers’ ongoing commitment to foster unity through community action, Gucci collaborated with Detroit designer Tommey Walker and his homegrown label DETROIT VS. EVERYBODY on a special line-up of T-shirts with a donation benefiting local non-profit organizations. Read a special interview with the designer.
What does DETROIT VS. EVERYBODY mean today differently to what it meant when you first coined the phrase?
My answer requires a bit of historical context.
DVE started in 2012 inspired during a trip I took to L.A. After a day out I turned on the TV and saw Detroit’s then Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in yet another negative depiction of my city. Seeing the face of Detroit's former mayor on a television thousands of miles from home, made me think of Detroit’s rich contribution of its culture and innovation to benefit the world. Yet, as seeming the butt of everyone’s jokes, Detroit was being ridiculed and kicked while it was down.
It hit me- “Detroit VS. Everybody;” a rallying cry if not a movement for all Detroiters to unite against those who doubted us and those who would keep us down. To earn back our respect we must be positive, determined, innovative, and never give up. I put the slogan on a tee-shirt and a hoodie and it was adopted by the city and ex-pat Detroiters (and their friends) around the world.
Since then, “Detroit” has become synonymous for “cause;” whether the cause can be as overarching as the many kinds of social injustices, and disease, or as personal as the underdog individual who must never give up to succeed. As a result, “Detroit VS. Everybody” has expanded its platform to “Everybody VS.” and “VS. Everybody” social impact initiatives and movements.
Today and beyond. The platform exists to awaken the spirit of Detroit living in Everybody – to inspire Everybody to persist, rather than quit; to contribute, rather than complain; to unify, rather than divide; and to innovate, rather than duplicate.
We have become a company with a double bottom line to measure our success. The first bottom line is if we are effecting change, the second bottom line is our P&L, which we need to accomplish the first.
The second bottom line will be driven by mission focused collections of apparel for taking our customer from the street to the C-suite. In addition, social impact business spans apparel, the visual arts, music, film, sports and topical moments in culture.