DetroitIsIt 2

Detroit Is This! Tracy Reese, Renowned Fashion Designer and Native Detroiter Shares Her Thoughts on the City

A Bite at Corriander Kitchen and a Bikeride to the Waterfront by Way of the Dequindre Cut Are the Things That Make Detroit Detroit


With fond memories of taking Saturday morning art classes at the YWCA and Marygrove College, a high school diploma from Cass Tech, and a love of sewing passed on to her from her mother, Detroiter Tracy Reese headed off to Parsons School of Design in New York to launch an uber-successful fashion design career.

Her work has been featured in the top fashion publications including Vogue, Elle, Glamour, InStyle, O, the Oprah Magazine, and her designs have been worn by First Lady Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Taylor Swift.

In 2018, after working in NYC for over 30 years, she began to feel a strong desire to make a stake back in her hometown. So she bought a house, moved home, and launched Hope for Flowers. a sustainability-focused brand.


Here in our second Q&A featuring insights from pure Detroiters themselves, we sat down with Reese to get her thoughts.

DII: What’s the one thing you missed most about or in Detroit when you were living elsewhere?

TR: Family

DII: Favorite Detroit memory as a kid growing up in the city?

TR: Taking Saturday art classes at Your Heritage House on Ferry, or at the YWCA in Highland Park or Marygrove College.

DII: What does it mean to you to return to the city?

TR: I relish being close to family, seeing my nieces and nephews grow into adulthood. I am also grateful to make at least a small contribution to our community through Hope for Flowers Art Enrichment programming.

DII: It’s Thursday night and you don’t have plans, what’s that one go-to spot you love for a night out?

TR: If the weather is fine, I love sitting by the canal for a bite or drinks at Coriander Kitchen and there’s always something going on at The Congregation on Rosa Parks Blvd.

DII: What is your favorite thing when it comes to Detroit fashion?

TR: I love that Detroiters like to “dress” and truly express themselves. Dressing up is an art form here.

DII: Best way to spend a lazy afternoon in the city?

TR: I love trawling for vintage at Boro Detroit on Gratiot, Old Soul Vintage on Cass, Mama Coo’s on Trumbull, or El Dorado on Michigan Avenue.

DII: Your favorite public transit and where do you take it to?

TR: I love bike riding! I usually ride up and down the streets of the Boston-Edison neighborhood looking at mansions, or I ride down to the waterfront via the Dequindre Cut.

DII: What’s your favorite season in Detroit?

TR: I love late spring when everything is green and flowers come into bloom. I’m at Eastern Market most Saturdays buying flowers for my yard and porch.

DII: What are your favorite new fashion boutiques/stores?

TR: I love shopping at Eugenie on Willis for ethical and responsible clothing and accessories.

DII: What’s your favorite new discovery in the city?

TR: I took my then 3 year old niece to the beach at Belle Isle last summer, which she loved! I knew it was there but had never gone. There is an awesome playscape nearby which perfectly completed our day in the park.

DII: What makes a Detroiter?

TR: Heart, soul, grit, tenacity, perseverance.

DII: What do you treasure most about the city?

TR: The history of this great city and my family’s place in it. The tremendous opportunities available for anyone who truly wishes to make a difference.


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