Go to Fashion Uniform – Black Pants, Black Tank, and an Interesting Shoe

Owner and Curator of Orleans + Winder, Erin Wetzel, Calls All the Fashion Shots

My Style Date_Erin_Katai_8.24.17_E

Meeting in front of Detroit’s iconic Fisher Theater, Erin greeted me on time, and in all black. Her art centric boutique, Orleans + Winder, in Detroit’s Eastern Market, displays an eclectic collection of avant-garde items. With clothing, candles, and accessories, the shop embodies a strong extension of her own personal style.

Nancy Nguyen: What are you wearing today?

Erin Wetzel: Sleeveless jacket by Uma Wang, silk trousers by Marc le Bihan, and Guidi boots.

NN: Take me ‘there,’ why is the Fisher Theater your place of inspiration?

EW: The Fisher Building embodies Detroit iconic architecture and is a beautiful representation of Albert Kahn’s work. Also, my background is in theater, and I love and feel very at home in this kind of space.

NN: I know you studied at The University of Michigan, are you from Ann Arbor?

EW: I’m from a small town called Grass Lake, Michigan, but I’ve always longed for the city. I went to college in Ann Arbor Michigan, and it was a nice layover for me until I moved to France.

NN: Was France where your passion for fashion began?

EW: Absolutely. It changed me completely in a way that elevated aspects of my life. The lifestyle embodied quality over quantity and I tried to hold onto that when I returned. I try to go back for the Shows in Paris for Fashion Week. I was there this past March.

NN: How was it this year?

E: It was amazing. I usually go for a solid week. but this year I was there for only four days. It was a quick trip, and I knew exactly what I wanted for this year.

NN: Who do you think had the best collection this season?

EW: Uma Wang – her show was astounding. She’s fairly new on the scene in the states, yet she’s already garnered a great cult following. This year, her work was just so lush in baroque aesthetics and velvets. She had things I didn’t think would work for everyday, but I found myself saying “I want that” to every outfit on the runway. Lucky me, that was actually her first show in Paris, since she usually shows in Milan.

NN: Is it exhausting going to fashion week?

EW: You know, you’re the first person to ask me that! Yes, it really is. There is something about Paris that makes you want to look pulled together. However, when I step out to grab a baguette at the cafe, I’ll just throw on jeans, a white tee, put my hair in a bun – I feel very Parisian in those moments! What’s exhausting is going to the showrooms and making decisions very quickly when you want everything. Since I’m also our buyer, each season I pick out what we want to curate for the upcoming season. It is exhausting, but in a good way; I can get overwhelmed, and inspired with such beautiful people and the artistry.

NN: What is the meaning behind the name of your store Orleans + Winder?

EW: We named the store for the crossroads where we live and where the idea for our concept store was conceived.

NN: What is the process behind buying for your store? Do you curate according to what you would wear, or do you pick what you think your customer would like?

EW: Honestly it’s a little of both. When I started, it was about me. It was my brand and what I was trying to exude. (I had to make everything I was passionate about cohesive in the lines that I would carry and the pieces themselves.) However, as I’ve begun to gather clients that I grew to know, I’ll go into showrooms and know what my clients would enjoy and personally buy for them as well.

NN: Is that why your store isn’t just fashion, but a lifestyle?

EW: Of course! I try to find unique artisanal things that you don’t see anywhere else.

NN: What is the first thing you notice about a person in what they’re wearing?

EW: Their shoes. Over the years I’ve learned so much about what goes into making a pair of shoes that it’s the first thing I see. I think shoes present a very telling perspective about a person and their lifestyle.

NN: Who is your favorite shoe designer?

EW: My favorite shoe designer is Guidi. Handmade Italian leather shoes in interesting shapes. They last forever.

NN: Who are your style icons?

EW: It’s changed over the years. When I was a teenager, I loved Winona Ryder. Now it’s Patti Smith, especially since she’s gotten into fashion!

NN: Being from Detroit, are you excited for this revival of the city?

EW: I am. It’s becoming this vibrant place. When my family and I head downtown, now there’s so much more to do, with so many more people walking around. Detroit is on this constant evolution, but I hope the focus remains on the mom and pop shops. Not the chains, but the people and retailers that are really doing something here.

NN: Do you have a favorite fashion decade to which you’re drawn?

EW: I’ve always been drawn to the 1920s. Fashion for women became less constricted, with trousers and shorter dresses coming into play. I admire the new freedom and opulence of that decade. 

NN: What’s your perfect outfit to wear on a date with your husband?

EW: High waisted vintage Levi’s, a black tank, a long, black blazer or leather jacket, and black heeled boots.

NN: Do you influence what your son wears to school?

EW: I was able to influence my son’s wardrobe up until about 4th grade, but now it’s a bit more challenging. I try to buy distinct pieces (Levi jeans, nice tees, a pea coat), but he actually has a style of his own developing that includes way more color that I would wear. I love to watch what he puts together on his own.

NN: When you were younger did you plan your outfit for the next day before you went to bed? Or was it a spontaneous last minute morning decision?

EW: I love planning my outfits for the next day the night before! I always have and always will. It makes me feel more centered going into my day. Since my wardrobe has become simpler and more curated, this too has become easier.

NN: What’s that one “go-to” uniform you always feel your best in?

EW: Absolutely black pants, black tank, and an interesting shoe. I love minimalism, with an exquisite fabric, something that feels good on my skin. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, so shoes are my statement piece.

Driving human progress through freedom of movement
Comments
Always stay up to date on the latest news, events, and changes. Subscribe to the newsletter today!