Detroit Hustles Harder brand to celebrate 5 years in Eastern Market
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — “Detroit Hustles Harder” has become a mantra throughout the city as the people of the region struggle to bring the Motor City back to its place as one of the world’s greatest cities.
For the small startup company Aptemal Clothing, those words have helped them develop one of the most recognized brands throughout Detroit.
On May 19, Division Street Boutique, the official home of Aptemal Clothing and the Detroit Hustles Harder brand, will celebrate their five-year anniversary with an all day block party, featuring music, fashion and arts. Located on Division Street just off Russell Street in the heart of Eastern Market, the event will take place from 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
“The lineup is huge,” says Joseph “J.P.” O’Grady, co-founder of Aptemal Clothing. “It’s going to be good music all day long, a free event.”
The Division Street Boutique, located at 1353 Division Street, will open at 8 a.m. that day, with discounts on clothing and a presentation of their new line for spring.
Aptemal Clothing began in 2007 with O’Grady and partner Brendan Blumentritt selling screen printed shirts on the bridge over the Chrysler Freeway in Eastern Market every Saturday. A year later, they developed the Detroit Hustles Harder brand and moved into the Division Street Boutique, opening their store every Friday and Saturday for the crowds.
They understand that their words have helped put great energy back into the city, as the trademark phrase can be seen on T-shirts and sweatshirts throughout metro Detroit.
“What you put into your work is what you get back,” says O’Grady. “We work every single day, we run and manage the whole company ourselves.”
The Division Street Boutique five-year anniversary will be held on Flower Day in Eastern Market, which is the market’s biggest annual affair with crowds expected to swell to over 100,000 people throughout the day.
Division Street will be closed off from Russell Street to Rivard Street during the day, and hip hop and electronic dance music will fill the stage speakers throughout the day, with a variety of local talent scheduled.
Gorilla Funk Mob will take the stage at 4:15 p.m. for their live band performance, followed by the hip hop collective known as CoOwnaz, which features Doc Waffles, Eddie Logix and others. Electronic music DJs Kyle Hall and Jay Daniel will close out the event from 7:30-9 p.m.
A fashion show will take place at 5 p.m. with Love Peace and Spandex, a line of spandex clothing for women that collaborates with Aptemal Clothing, backed by music from DJ Dante LaSalle.
“With our new print, we’ll have some of the new shirts paired up with some of the new festival gear,” says Angela McBride, the owner and designer for Love Peace and Spandex. “We’re going to be selling all over at different festivals all summer.”
One featured performance will be a showcase from the Head Nod Suite, which is a monthly live event that takes place at Division Gallery, located next to the boutique, featuring the music of the city’s prolific hip hop and electronic beat makers.
Show host Leaf Erikson is excited to present some of the best producers in the city with their instrumental music sets.
“Head Nod Suite is really dope,” says Leaf Erikson, who is also an emcee and one half of the group Stoopz N Breeze. “We didn’t have enough showcases highlighting the DJ or producer, it’s just a collection of artists getting together and playing their music.”
The Head Nod Suite live beat set will take place from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, featuring the music of J Mac, Jah Connery and Fahrenheit Temperature 2040.
“The response has been wonderful. Every Head Nod Suite, you never know what you’re going to see,” says Erikson. “It’s been a nice eclectic mix of different music, not just hip hop either; we’ve had a wide variety of music.”
The partnership between Division Gallery and showcase events like Head Nod Suite is a natural fit for all involved. For music artists in the city, the words Detroit Hustles Harder embodies a lot of the spirit they have to exert to be able to reach the public with their sounds.
“To me, it means pride,” says Erikson. “There have been so many negative things mentioned about Detroit, amongst Detroiters, ironically. I can understand the frustration, but to me, I see those three words together: Detroit represents pride, hustle represents spirit, and harder just represents the attitude and the determination. You put all that together and it’s like ‘yeah, I’m feeling that.’ I really think it’s a good representation of where the city is headed.”
The Division Street Boutique 5-Year Anniversary is free to the public, and all ages are welcome. For more information, visit www.divisionstreetboutique.com