Authenticity matters in Detroit. It always has. That’s one of the reasons Detroit designer Clement “Fame” Brown’s new store, Three Thirteen, has created such a buzz since opening downtown.
The entire store and Brown’s Three Thirteen brand are tributes to the soul of Detroit as experienced by one of her native sons. In many ways Brown’s story mirrors the city’s story.
Like the city, Fame’s creativity, potential and magnetism are undeniable. For example, in 2012 when he was forced to consider shutting down an earlier venture called “Fame Shop”, Fame instead created a community event called “Joy Day” on Joy Road. As part of Joy Day, neighbors and barbers provided free haircuts, backpacks and supplies to school children as way of celebrating them and the community that raises them.
“That’s the kind of guy Fame is,” said Detroit-born author and national activist ShakaSenghor. “It’s his kind of grit, sweat and swagger more than anything else that will be the cornerstone of Detroit’s rebirth.”
He would know. Senghor is part of a national network of inspired black men who work with people of all races and genders to build community prosperity in cities across America.
Creating Joy Day brought Fame to the attention of this network, called BMe Community.
BMe gave Fame $10,000 and their highest honor as a “BMe Leader” in 2013. They then connected him with Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Businesses program which provided him access to their executive training program.
“But that’s not what made the difference,” said BMe Community founder TrabianShorters. “Fame made the difference. When a guy loves a city this much, his success really is the city’s success. We have to share Detroit’s stories of our success otherwise people might begin to think we don’t have any.”
“Plus Fame’s designs really are fantastic,” added Shorters.
For those who scoff that the “real Detroit” has to be street, Fame has had his run in with the law, served his time and paid his debt long ago. This story is not about past mistakes that can never be unmade. It’s about talent and grit; dogged determination, pulling yourself up and uplifting your community too. This story is about the authentic Detroit that we can all experience in the Three Thirteen.