DCH Apparel was originally established as an idea toward addressing ways that would help Detroit youth gain a strong presence and large cultural impact within their communities, as well as creating a sustainable education program that promoted the youth’s empowerment and creativity. Initially started as a class project through the University of Michigan’s Penny Stamps School of Art and Design Detroit Connections program – Detroit Connections: Change by Design – a team of University of Michigan students collaborated with an art class of thirty freshman at Detroit Community High School to develop creative ideas and collaborations that would help impact the school’s surroundings and environment. When working with the youth the team discovered that a lot of the students didn’t feel that they were capable of making an impact because of their lack of involvement regarding the recognition of their communities and urban culture. So after brainstorming, the team developed a goal and means to create opportunities that would allow Detroit youth to implement their creativity within local communities and provide them the necessary resources and know-how to do it. When thinking about the core means of developing a way of achieving this, the team noticed that something that most students had in common was their enthusiasm and self-expressive focus toward athletic apparel. Thus, the team developed DCH Apparel.
After running several in-class workshops at D.C.H.S., the team had gained the interest of many students by teaching them how to develop their own designs, print them, and turn them into tangible products that can be worn and recognized. The intrigue of the students created a reassurance that this method of learning was not only practical, but also sought after. The team and three students presented their idea of DCH Apparel to local micro-grant organization, Detroit Soup, in a December benefit dinner with an audience of over 200 people and receivied not only large-scale support of community members but also enough funding to purchase equipment for large scale apparel production. DCH Apparel’s victory with Detroit Soup later landed on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, as well as spread awareness to a large demographic, strongly aiding their presence as a apparel line.