Three Wayne State students felt frustrated with the lack of creative media platforms in Detroit. After spending countless hours reading blogs based out of cities such as New York or Los Angeles, the students were inspired to start their very own blog. This led to the birth of La Vie Détroit, a curated blog dedicated on reporting about art, fashion and culture in Detroit.
Shawn Kaura, 20, Avery Naman, 20, and Mason Williams, 19 founded La Vie in February 2017.
Kaura and Naman are both pre-med majors. Together they work on ideas, story pitches and control the creative direction of the blog. Williams is majoring in fashion design and merchandising, and develops the clothing line for La Vie.
Recently, La Vie has received praise from media outlets such as Jibs Podcast and the art blog Taco Picasso. However, the start of La Vie was challenging said Kaura.
“This idea for La Vie would come in and out of our heads, we didn’t know how to make it a reality,” said Kaura. Eventually in January 2018 they decided to act upon their dreams and bought a domain name.
“Our goal was simple,” said Naman. “We wanted to give style inspiration while documenting the local artistic and cultural happenings in Detroit.”
Out of the three founders, Williams is the only one who studies fashion at WSU. However, Naman and Kaura both said their pre-med majors do not affect their ability to write about fashion.
“Fashion for us, although it’s not something we technically study, we implement it in our everyday lives,” said Naman. “We study the game and are constantly filtering through lookbooks, and doing a bunch of background research that people might not see.”
Although the three boys started the blog in Detroit, the three bloggers are from the suburbs of metro Detroit.
Brands, such as Detroit vs. Everybody and General Motors Co., commonly use the personality and reputation of the city of Detroit to market and advertise their company, products and the like. However, Naman said that they are not using the city as a marketing tool, and all of the founders collectively have a certain personal connection to the city.
“Although we weren’t born or raised here, we grew up around and in the city. In high school we did plenty of service and learning in Detroit,” said Naman. “Now in college, we decided to stay and properly move in because we have the connection and care for the city.”
Kaura also said Detroit helped to shape his identity.
“Most of my maturing and self-growth happened in Detroit,” said Kaura. “I have definitely been surrounded by Detroit long enough to where I feel credible to talk about the ins and outs of the city.”
The founders of La Vie said that they have plans to expand their company and create a networking space for creatives in Detroit.
“There is no way for creatives in Detroit to collaborate and work together,” said Williams. “We want to fix that through growing our student organization at [WSU] and helping to bring artist[s] together.”
Naman said that despite the high price tags on some of the clothing they recommend, they proactively try to work with the community instead of exploiting it and perpetuating gentrification.
“We are attempting to learn the underground gusto that encapsulates Detroit. We want to learn more about the city, embrace Detroit’s creativity and show that Detroit deserves to be seen,” said Kaura.
To keep up with La Vie, check out their website.
Slone Terranella is arts and entertainment editor of The South End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.