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Brief Published: 4 Jul 2014

Willy’s Extends Made in USA Trend


Confirming its status as both a darling of Detroit’s cultural regeneration and a champion of American-made goods, US retail brand and accessories manufacturer Shinola has opened Willy’s – a new store just a few doors down from its flagship in Detroit. The multi-brand concept store, which is based in a historic space in the centre of the blossoming retail district of West Canfield in Midtown, features fashion, home accessories and beauty products.

The concept is built around four anchor brands: Seattle-based outdoor apparel brand Filson; New York clothing line Steven Alan; LA-based accessories designer Clare V; and California-based surfwear company Mollusk. Additionally, there are another 30 brands from across Michigan, and another 20 from America, although Shinola itself is noticeably absent.

The 2,900 sq ft store is located in the Willy’s Overland building, originally home to a warehouse and automotive dealership of Willy’s MB – famous for also manufacturing army Jeep vehicles. The interior design concept blends original features including an old service motor chain and a weathered brick wall, with new features such as a bespoke, easy-to-modify wooden fixture system with incorporated lighting. "From month to month, the store will change shape, adding an element of discovery with each visit," says Shinola’s creative director Daniel Caudill.

According to Shinola, its in-house store design team worked separately with each brand to ensure they were individually represented, while also adhering to a wider, cohesive sense of modern American style. Filson, for example, is in a structure reminiscent of a log cabin, while Steven Alan is showcased on a boxy, clean-cut set of shelves.

Cementing its philosophy of local-centric business practice, the store also includes a micro shop-in-shop for local cold-pressed juice company Drought, which prepares drinks on-site.

For more on the rising consumer desire for locally produced goods and their corresponding store concepts and marketing strategies, see The Value of Made In, Gap and Starbucks Localise Store Designs and Specialise to Survive, in the Future of the Store Industry Trend. For a specifically US-biased angle, see The New Americana.