Detroit Renaissance: Cars To Fashion To Food

John Varvatos
The Detroit Arrow, made in Detroit by Shinola

John Varvatos comes home to Detroit.

Actually John Varvatos is returning home. The fashion icon and Detroit native just opened a retail store in Detroit. The store is located downtown on Woodward Avenue, the city’s main corridor and in recent years a vacant canyon of grand but empty store fronts. The opening of John Varvatos is an important part of the city’s mission to restore the downtown shopping district.

It seems like every time I go the city, I discover another gem, from Shinola, makers of hand crafted watches and bicycles to Detroit City Distillery, which makes artisanal whiskey, gin and vodka.

John Varvatos

John Varvatos elevates Converse sneakers

Detroit City Distillery is part of Eastern Market, a year round public market that sells fresh local food. There are also cafes and restaurants and a coffee roasting shop in Eastern Market.

Motor City Brewing Works has a taproom, and its beer is available at bars and restaurants around town. The India Pale Ale is a fine example of this style of beer and there is hard cider made from local apples.

And near Wayne State University in Midtown a number of hip stores have opened, with the neighborhood anchored by a Whole Foods, where there is almost always a wait for a parking space.

When they’re not waiting to park at Whole Foods, however, Midwesterners can be stylish as they cruise around town in a Detroit-made car and in their John Varvatos duds.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell