What happens when a passionate, Detroit-loving artist manifests her goals on a vision board to work with a local sports team? In this particular scenario, she gets an Instagram message from the Detroit Pistons.
She also starts her own business.
27-year-old Allison Sims is a self-taught artist who created 10/7 Apparel in 2016 and has grown it to include accessories, custom shoes, artwork and murals. The highlight of the apparel and accessories is the spelling out of Detroit while featuring all of the key components of the city: The Old English “D”, the 313 area code as the “E,” industrial “T’s” that acknowledge Detroit’s lead in the automotive and industrial boom, the outline of Michigan as the “O”, and the Spirit of Detroit as the “I.”
“The atmosphere in Detroit is so vibrant, spending time in the city helped me piece together this idea to create a Detroit logo using graphics that embody the city’s important history and icons,” says Sims.
Sims says her dad used to tease her for wearing her many beloved hoodies, and she told him one day she’d put artwork on a hoody. “When the idea for the Detroit logo came to me, I thought ‘this is it, I have to put it on a hoody.” And she did.
Sims, whose family moved from Detroit to Memphis when she was in fourth grade, and then back to Detroit when she was 18 says that when she returned she could not get enough of all things Detroit, and the thriving artisan scene.
For me, going to the Eastern Market District gives me inspiration and I can create from that, she says. In Memphis, there is nothing like that – this creative space where other artists are learning and sharing. Being in this type of community drove me to create the logo and then my paintings and other artwork.
Sims attributes her love of art largely to her mom, saying, “My mom signed me up for a Saturday morning art class at Wayne State University when I was young, and she always promoted creativity. She would draw my name with shapes all around it for me to fill in and color. There was always a lot of that in our household.”
Upon creating the Detroit logo and 10/7 Sims began selling the products in the Eastern Market District and has been there ever since, while also sharing a lot of her work on Instagram.
That’s where she was noticed by Aaron Johnson, Brand Strategist for the Pistons.
“Aaron reached out to me on Instagram and said they had a project they wanted to work with me on. At this time, I was just getting into a few custom walls for some private clients and getting into my artwork on a larger scale. I was just so excited.”
For the Pistons, Simms started with a two-piece canvas set designed to unveil the 2020/2021 season, city edition jersey. The set was displayed in Flagstar National Bank on Woodward.
For the 2021/2022 season, she designed customized boxing gloves for each player for opening day.
Each month Sims also creates a customized pair of shoes for each employee of the month. “This could range from featuring their pet to an alma mater or some stick with a Piston’s theme,” she says.
The Pistons also commissioned Simms to design baby shoes for rapper Big Sean’s baby. “It was really fun to work on these – they were so cute,” she says.
About the opportunity to work with the Pistons, Sims says, “To have them reach out to me was really amazing. This is something I’ve always wanted, and I’ve now accomplished it and the work is fun and rewarding. It’s also great to be able to reach more people through and with my artwork.”
Regarding what’s next for her, her brand, and artwork, she says, “At the beginning of every year I write down my goals. I would like to work with and partner with other Michigan and Detroit sports teams. I want to continue to grow as an artist and support and show off the city I love.”
As always, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates on all things Detroit.