When several different groups of people come together to show support for a great cause and bring positive vibes not just to the community but amongst themselves, where else would you want to be? When I first found out about Raising the Bar Detroit and everything they were doing, I quickly became interested in their mission. When the co-founders of Raising the Bar Detroit, Steve and Marco, invited me out to their Sterling Heights location near Lakeside Mall, I had to go see what it was all about. I learned that it’s not just a clothing line, it is so much more. Raising the Bar Detroit is made up of many components; there is the Raising the Bar Detroit clothing line, the Raising the Bar Detroit Foundation, and the Raising the Bar Detroit Closet which is made up of multiple talented artists from Detroit along with clothing designers and photographers. I would say they definitely have a lot going on; building a platform for people to succeed while helping those in need and they are growing in popularity.
The Raising the Bar Detroit brand was established in 2016 by co-foundered Steve Astemborski and owner Marco Iaconis aka MarcoPolo. Raising the Bar Detroit is focused on invigorating Detroit and enlivening the city’s surrounding neighborhoods. When I went to the store and asked Marco what Raising the Bar Detroit entailed, he said “Raising the Bar Detroit could be considered a brand or a movement but I believe it is both and will become a hub for art, entertainment, and business while working alongside the surrounding communities and with children.” The first shirt was launched on Thanksgiving of 2016 and so Raising the Bar Detroit commenced. Later, plans for a store front and foundation were in the works.
Marco linked up with an old time friend from high school, Carla Dub, about 2 years ago. Carla originally had a thrift store and was going to host some of Marco’s clothing; she even considered opening a bridal store with a thrift closet in the back at one point. Together, Marco and Carla came up with the Raising the Bar Detroit Closet. The Grand Opening of the RTBD Closet was June 24th, 2017; a mere two months after Marco and Carla partnered up and decided to make this Closet a reality. When I asked Carla what her thoughts on Raising the Bar Detroit was, she had said,
It is exactly what we put in the statement- Raising the bar, putting our city on top.
Which is a slogan seen throughout the store.
The closet is made up of the Raising the Bar Detroit Clothing Line along with other clothing lines and Detroit based artists. There are so many but I’d like to name the few that stood out to me: Big Sweetz (it’s all Raw clothing), Fabulous Ladies Living Life clothing, Gothic And Girly Girl by Taleh Mone’t (www.gothicandgirlygirl.com), artists Ria Noregia (Ria’s Records), Frame This, Samantha Martinez, Dalton James (Mickey Mouse), Johnny Versace, and Motor City Metal. There were so many different products and clothes in there, I’m sure I didn’t see them all but that’s just a taste of some of the items from the talented people they have in the store. Let me tell you that after talking with Carla, I would go to the store just to see her; she really is a great person.
Not only is Raising the Bar Detroit a store, it is a brand as well as a foundation. What does the foundation do exactly? It is dedicated to supporting organizations that are improving the lives of children in the community and investing in their future by giving them an opportunity to grow. Two of the various charities around Metro Detroit they have worked with so far are the Judson Center for Foster Kids and Kicks for Kids. Raising the Bar took the Judson Center Kids to a Pistons game in limousines, hooked them up with gear, and had a pizza party for them at the store; the kids a great time and a wonderful experience. Joining as one of the sponsors for Kicks for Kids, they raised enough money for 600 inner-city children and youths to receive a pair of shoes. Carla told me it was important to them because a lot of kids get bullied because of their shoes or clothes and they joined the anti-bullying campaign. MarcoPolo Italiano is the Founder/Executive Director of the Raising the Bar Detroit Foundation and Nikki Sweeney is the Director of Operations; together they make the Raising the Bar Detroit foundation happen.
From what I gather, Raising the Bar Detroit is not just a brand or a store looking to help the community, it actually is helping the city and it’s communities succeed and excel. The long term goal is to help as many people as they can to be successful by providing a platform in which they can express their creativity. There is much more to come from Raising the Bar Detroit including location expansion, events sponsored by the brand, and quite possibly an after- hours TV show. I checked them out once before after their grand opening to see what it was all about and they accepted me with open arms; this truly is a great group of caring people. The message behind raising the Bar is one with meaning, to not only to help others but to promote positivity. To find out more, check out: