Erin Wetzel, owner of Orleans + Winder, tells SEEN what inspired her to open a fashion boutique and how she’s bringing slow fashion to Detroit. Check out the shop on the new SEEN Marketplace!
By Rachel Schostak
1. When and what inspired you to get into this business? I have always had a deep interest in fashion and design. Although my life has led me on many different paths, fashion was a constant source of inspiration for me. I lived in Paris for a time after school, and the simple, elevated beauty of the lifestyle completely influenced and inspired me. I began to research designers who worked in exquisite and patient ways, often using couture techniques in pattern making and sewing. The simple idea of quality over quantity. Good design makes you feel beautiful, elevated and pulled together. The designers that I work with are a constant source of inspiration to me. When I moved to Detroit 10 years ago, my partner and I knew we wanted a store that would create a platform for this type of design. Orleans + Winder was an idea formed in our loft in Eastern Market and our store opened its doors in November 2014.
2. What does a typical day look like for you? I wake up, get my coffee press ready, and make sure my son is up and ready for school. I have a 14 year old and love how self sufficient he has become in the mornings. I try to get a workout in daily, and my favorite thing to do is to run Belle Isle. I’m at work by 11 to open, and that’s where my day becomes anything but typical. I answers emails, work on collaboration, meet with customers, research new design in the sustainable world, catch up on current fashion news, plan marketing, etc. It’s my job to nurture the business and I truly enjoy it.
3. Who inspires you in the fashion/design world? The designer who really blew my mind right before we decided to open O+W was Marc le Bihan. I met with him in his atelier in Paris, and I’d never seen such exquisite construction that was also very wearable. The attention to detail, the fabrics and the atmosphere of the space was absolute perfection. I knew that I had to bring his work to Detroit. I’m also excited by designers who blur the line between art and fashion such Eckhaus Latta. I find their work very inspiring.
4. What do you love most about your role managing the store? My customers! I love the personalized interaction between myself and a person coming into my store. I want them to feel warm, comfortable and elevated. I want them to leave feeling inspired and well taken care of.
5. What is the mission of your store and how do you want customers to feel when they enter your space? Our mission is to bring the finest slow fashion to Detroit and create options for our customers outside of the norm. I want people to feel almost as if they are entering a serene art gallery, where our pieces are the art. Wearable art!
6. What are your current favorite items in the store? The Layered Cloak by Forme d’Expression is a show-stopping piece that everyone wants to wrap themselves in.
The Pli Kimono Top by Marc le Bihan is one of those classics that you will wear year after year and instantly elevates the outfit.
I am also in love with our new shoe line The Last Conspiracy, in particular, the Fara Sneaker Boot. It has a perfect edgy look and is so comfortable.
7. Tell us what makes the in-store experience special? I like people to feel like they are entering a world where they can slow down, have a tea and really look and try on these designs. I love getting to know everyone that pops in and making them feel comfortable is very important to me.
8. Are there any new products or lines that you will soon carry that really excite you? Yes! I’m quite excited about a new sustainable line called Vincetta Studio out of Brooklyn, New York. Deanna’s mission, and her pieces, are lovely. New Guidi boots and bags also make my heart skip a beat.
9. Can you tell us more about your new podcast? And when will Rachel be on it? (Jk!) I’m so excited for our podcast! Our focus is on sustainability, style, art and Detroit-based creatives doing exceptional things. Our next interview will feature Aki Choklat, one of my favorite people. We would love to have Rachel on! Let’s plan a date 🙂
10. In regard to your personal style, do you have a signature look or accessory? Everyone who knows me knows I love the power of the all black ensemble. I love dropped inseam pants, black sweaters, Guidi boots and lots of silver jewelry.
11. A few items in your closet you can’t live without? My Uma Wang wide leg trousers, all of my Guidi boots and my Sunday Somewhere sunglasses.
12. Who inspires your style? Do you have a style icon? Patti Smith is a big influence to me. Her style is fierce, she owns it. Also, Pina Bausch.
13. What are your favorite 2018-2019 style trends? This is hard for me to answer as I try to stay away from trends.
15. Favorite quote or words to live by? Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts.
You can stop by Orleans + Winder at the location listed below. Follow @orleansandwinder on Instagram for in-store events and new products!
Orleans + Winder
1410 Gratiot Ave #102, Detroit
Shop our favorite Orleans + Winder items on the SEEN Marketplace: