Meet Maison Black: The New Online Destination for Black Designers

Opening with a fashion show in Detroit, Maison Black is celebrating the city’s homegrown talent.

In spite of the city’s abundance of homegrown design talent, Detroit isn’t typically seen as a fashion hub. Tori Nichel hopes to change that perception with the launch of the e-commerce hub Maison Black. Featuring an initial lineup of six Black designers—all Detroit natives—Maison Black is more than just a retailer. It’s a platform for Black talent to grow their businesses.

To celebrate Maison Black’s launch, the designers will present their collections on Wednesday in a runway show titled Manhattan to Motown, followed by an IRL pop-up shop. “I’m excited to see the customer engagement, as well as people getting to shop and learn about the designers,” Nichel says. (Coincidentally, Bottega Veneta’s Salon 03 presentation will descend on the city just a day later, providing even further proof that Detroit may be on the cusp of becoming a fashion hot spot.)

When Nichel started mapping out her new business, she knew Detroit would be part of the story. “When I tell you how amazing Detroit has been—it’s just a testament about what the definition of home means,” she says. “I’ve been very inspired by the organic rebuild that has happened. There’s a lot of community support,” she explains. Born and raised in the Motor City until she relocated to New York as a fashion student, Nichel is moved by the way the city continues to evolve and grow.

Nichel has more than two decades of fashion-industry experience under her belt, having done fabric research at Dana Buchman and design at Kenneth Cole, Tibi, and her own namesake brand before becoming a design director at stores like Sears and Kohl’s. This breadth of wisdom isn’t lost on her designer friends. “They’re like, ‘Tori, you’re kind of the go-to,’” she explains. “They come to me for manufacturing, supply-chain advice.” With the launch of Maison Black, Nichel has found a new outlet for her natural role as a resource within her creative community.

“I always felt like there was a void,” Nichel says of her efforts to discover Black fashion designers. “Like, why can’t you find us?” While she’d long felt as though there should be some kind of shoppable destination to fill this void, she knew that it would need to live on the internet. “It’s one thing to have a brick-and-mortar store, but it needs to be accessible to everybody,” she says.

This story originally appeared on: Vogue - Author:Roxanne Fequiere

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