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Society: Maison Black launch event features Black designers from Detroit

Chuck Bennett
Special to The Detroit News

A couple hundred serious fashionistas gathered at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Wednesday evening to celebrate the launch of Maison Black. Founded by designer Tori Nichel, Maison Black is a curated online retail destination for luxury fashion, exclusively featuring products by Black designers.  

Guests were escorted on a freight elevator to the second floor of the venue for a cocktail hour, which featured bourbon and macaroni and cheese. Nichel greeted everyone and explained her vision before presenting the fashion show. 

From left, designer Nicole King, Maison Black founder Tori Nichel, the Rev. Oscar King (Nicole King's father), and retired Cass Tech fashion instructor Marian Stephens.

“I created Maison Black to build an ecosystem that fosters design excellence and creativity for Black designers,” she explained. “I want to create a destination for discovery where Black designed products are accessible globally. It is our mission to serve the Black designer community in order to create access, exposure and longevity in the fashion industry.” 

To pay homage to the city that gave them their foundation, six established Black designers came to town to present their seasonless collections in a runway presentation called "Manhattan to Motown." The featured designers, all native Detroiters who now live and work in New York, included APOTTS (Aaron Potts), Kevan Hall, N'Gai  by Nicole King, Isaiah Hemmingway, Truth  by Sharryl Cross and S. McGee Collection by Shawna McGee.  

Models showcasing the Kevan Hall collection.

The show was high energy and exciting. Innovative and diverse designs were featured, from Nicole King’s cool, fresh and casual looks to the glitzy red carpet dazzlers created by Kevan Hall. 

“Showcasing a collection on Maison Black is a great opportunity to present Black excellence to a global audience,” says Hall. “For those looking for a stellar design point of view of high-quality fashion and accessories, they need not look elsewhere. Maison Black presents a beautifully curated selection of Black design talent.”  

Following the runway presentation, the “Manhattan to Motown” designers and their collections will be available for purchase at a three-day pop-up shopping experience on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Shinola, 441 Canfield Street, Detroit. 

Ann Duke of Bloomfield Hills and hat designer Boswell Hardwick.

Chuck Bennett is a freelance writer and Fox 2 Detroit style ambassador.