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The Pure Michigan Faces Campaign showcases talent, industries and opportunities in the state by featuring those who exhibit the innovation, talent, and entrepreneurial spirit only found in Michigan.
Graphic designer Tommey Walker is founder of Detroit vs. Everybody, a clothing brand that inspires and promotes unity. After his line was featured on Stephen Colbert’s comedy show, sales skyrocketed as did walk-in business at his store in Detroit. Walker says his Detroit vs. Everybody line of apparel is helping remind people how much Detroit has contributed to American culture.
His success is a testament to both his graphic design talent and his passion for Detroit. Below, he talks about his business and why he is proud to represent his city and state.
I grew up in the heart of Detroit – and consider myself a true Detroiter.
I came up with the idea for Detroit vs. Everybody driving down the street one day. Being a native Detroiter, I was really frustrated that Detroit doesn’t get the credit it deserves. The city contributes great things to society but the false stereotype really frustrated me – bad things happen everywhere, but people choose to only focus on the bad. My city has a lot to offer. I always say don’t complain, contribute. I chose to make a change in my own way.
I hadn’t seen clothing being used to highlight the positive in Detroit, so I took advantage of the opportunity. I’m a graphic designer by trade – I studied graphic design at Wayne State – so it made sense for me to use clothing. It’s one thing to be a designer for another company or person, but it’s completely different when someone chooses to wear my design. I think that’s really powerful.
The brand came out at a time when the city was really down – everyone talked about leaving. It was really sad. The city needed something to make people poke their chest out and be proud, and that’s what I think it’s done.
The brand is so powerful because it’s true and it’s in your face. People who aren’t from here that come tovisit can see what’s going on here. Everyone I’ve met that has been to Detroit has the same love for the city that a native Detroiter does. It definitely speaks to the soul of the city and the soul of the people in the city.
I think that I really represent Michigan talent and what someone can do here. I was born and bred here and am a great representation of the city because this city made me who I am. I received a lot of mentorship from the elderly and from others who have looked out for me, and I’m doing positive things here.
It doesn’t make sense to me that people grow up in Michigan and leave to take jobs other places. There are so many creative and talented individuals in Detroit, and I’m in the thick of it – hopefully I can take the positive attention I’ve been receiving and show people that Detroit is a great place to stay.
What surprised me most about the brand was seeing how each person has their own meaning of it – it’s is a beautiful thing. When someone asks me what Detroit vs. Everybody means to me, I just ask them, what does it mean to you?
We have plans to expand our store location as well as introduce DVE kids and DVE sports. Starting the first of next month, we will also be available in the airport. I want everyone to see the brand. We are definitely here to stay.
Tommey Walker is the founder of Detroit vs. Everybody. He was born and raised in Detroit and attended Wayne State University with a major in graphic design. After designing album covers for some of Detroit’s biggest names in music, he decided to launch his clothing brand, Detroit vs. Everybody.
To stay up to date on DVE’s apparel, follow Detroit vs. Everybody on instagram.