Philip Lauri, Creator of DETROIT LIVES!
High School: West Bloomfield High School
College: Michigan State University
How he’s making his mark on the city of Detroit:
“I started DETROIT LIVES!–a creative factory with a social mission of telling a good story about Detroit. We design media that gives a positive look at the city through film, an apparel line sold throughout Detroit and beyond, public art in the city and a blog. The overall goal is to encourage growth in every aspect for Detroit– economically, with it’s public image and it’s overall functionality as a world-class city”.
On how he accomplished his goals:
“I started the blog in February of 2009. By the summer, the apparel line was gaining some traction and I was going to a lot of art fairs and festivals talking to people about what I was trying to do. The first mural went up near Eastern Market that same summer and then the documentary short released in the fall, and from that point forward I think DL! was starting to get a little more attention and recognition for at least attempting to give people in the city and everywhere else a new way to delve in to the positive components of such a vibrant and exciting city”.
On why he chooses to stay in Detroit:
“Detroit is America’s most exciting city, how could I not stay? See, Detroit is positioned to be one of the first cities in a long, long time to be re-settled. Yep. At one point we were a budding industrial metropolis. Those days have disappeared. Now, we sit at a very culturally and historically significant time– the era of re-settlement.
How many other major cities in America have had this opportunity? Some would argue this is the best gift any place could get– the chance to hone its game, re-define itself and then blast off as a new model city. Many American cities are locked in their old, tired, complacent ways; but here in Detroit we get to write a new rule book. And quite frankly, anyone with a lick of adventurous spirit in their stride should be foaming at the mouth right now”.
On his favorite things about Detroit:
“The genuine people! My god, one of Detroit’s best assets are its inhabitants and the close proximity of social circles. We are all in it to win it— together. Other than that, the architecture all over the city does not suck at all, we have a good hockey team, neat bars (err, speakeasies) like Cafe D’Mongo’s and a wildly exciting music scene. And let’s not lie, the cost of living is a huge asset.
People well in to their 30s are still shacking up with roommates in Brooklyn, Chicago and San Francisco because they can’t shake a stick at affording to buy a place themselves. Well, in Detroit we can buy our own house, and in most cases get a car– all for about the same price as rent in one of the “big cities.” And oh yeah, those same house-buying young people start businesses and create lifestyles that actually make them happy. I mean, what’s not to love about this city and the opportunity it presents?”
On what he wishes you knew about Detroit:
“I wish more people could really understand the opportunity that goes along with re-settling this place they call Detroit. We get to re-define a city, something that was mostly taken care of in the early 20th century in America. If people understood the true beauty of that alone, they would be coming in like they did for the California Gold Rush. For business and creative endeavors, there might not be a better place in America to get the best bang for your buck.
Taking that even one step further, people should know that in Detroit you get the gratification. If you make an honest go of something in this city– business, creative or otherwise– with a full-heart and heavy steam, you will feel the exhilaration of victory. People will support you. Look at Sean Mann with this new Detroit City Futbol League that got wildly popular. Look at Torya Blanchard starting a world-class creperie. Look at Nate Faustyn and his business partners at The Burton Theatre.
These are ordinary people taking advantage of the opportunity in Detroit, making an honest difference for the city and having fun in the process. We are programmed as humans to desire this sort of “success.” So, people need to know that they seek it out in Detroit. And when they do fully realize it, we won’t be able to keep them away.”
On future plans:
“I want to keep growing DETROIT LIVES! as a brand that is associated with positive growth and progress. This will mean more film projects, certainly more additions to the apparel line, there’s talks of doing another mural soon, but more importantly some new and exciting projects”.
Philip’s words of wisdom: “All it takes is a decision. You decide to do what it is that you love, you put some steam behind it, give it a full-go and this city will respond. You can do anything from Detroit, you just have to mean it. And amidst Detroit’s re-settlement, you may very well come out an innovator and have the possibility of influencing generations and generations to come. Talk to people, too.
Reach out to those around you and tell them your idea, less with fear that they will take it and more that they will breathe some new life in to it. Some of those small conversations can lead to a chain of events that puts you where you want to be. You just need to vocalize it and let people know that’s where you want to go. I guess it’s all quite simple actually: just do it in Detroit. It’ll be worth it”
- The Official Detroit Lives Website