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What is Detroitish?

May 24, 2018

What is Detroitish?

It’s all the rage; you’ve seen it around town and as far away as NYC and even Cuba…that’s right, a Detroitish t-shirt was spotted late last year in Old Havana. True story.

So what does it mean?

If you were to ask 100 people, you’ll likely get 100 different answers. There are those who find it funny that so many people live in the Detroit Metro Area suburbs, but proudly call themselves “Detroiters.” It seems that nearly everyone in SE Michigan now calls Detroit theirs, and that’s because everyone wants to be a part of the amazing things that are happening here! Sure, if you travel outside the state, you will likely tell someone you’re from Detroit, but if you’re from or living in SE Michigan (and let’s be honest, most of you are…), you aren’t fooling anyone - you’re Detroitish.


  1. A term describing people who love Detroit but live in its suburbs
  2. A person who admires and reps Detroit despite never having lived in the city.
  3. A celebrity who wears Detroit apparel, whether for style or to support the revival.

Look, there’s no problem with that, right? In fact, it shows pride in our great city, a city that struggled for years in the face of neglect and corruption. We suffered together and we revived the Motor City together. The Detroitish crowd may have grown up in the suburbs, they may still even live in the suburbs, but the fact is that they live work, live and play in the D. Bolstering the city is what being Detroitish is all about. It’s more than just a cool t-shirt and conversation starter, it’s a state of mind.

Detroit is bigger than Michigan

You can be Detroitish literally anywhere. Detroitish is the energy and vitality of the place that 'almost lost itself’ only a few years ago as the popular JR JR song explains. It is that excitement, that rock n’ roll attitude that IS Detroit. We fight back, we hold our own and we’re cooler than you. For those of us who are here, we already get it... but now the rest of the world is in on it, too.

Ink Detroit created the word Detroitish in 2012 and first printed it on the "Kiss me I'm Detroitish" shirt for St. Patrick's Day. The shirt became an instant hit but people also wanted shirts that just said Detroitish and weren't green. They accepted Detroitish as a proud identity rather than a play on words for St. Paddy's Day.

Kiss Me I'm Detroitish t-shirt

It makes sense with Detroit in the midst of a virtual renaissance, bursting back into national (and international) prominence as the poster child for successful urban revitalization. Award-winning restaurants are popping up all over the city and surrounding suburbs; the art scene is thriving where it was once just barely surviving; design and architecture are being celebrated once again, and the thriving music scene feeds and sustains kids flying in from across the country to catch shows.

Here are our favorite examples of celebrities having Detroitish moments:

Writer and fashion connoisseur, Suzanne Spiegoski, saw the proverbial writing on the wall when she shot this spread for MaQ + Suz, her NYC-based life & style blog. While she is a Detroit native, she calls New York home but still identifies as Detroitish at heart. “If you have to explain [Detroitish] to someone, they probably won’t understand…”

We thought we’d try anyway.

Detroitish is a registered trademark of Ink Detroit.

View all Detroitish apparel here.

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