Showtime Clothing: A Detroit Institution

Showtime Clothing: A Detroit Institution
Dan, Showtime's proprietor, giving an example of one of his personal favorite pieces in the shop. Photo by Bruno Vanzieleghem (Flickr: @Bruno_VZ)
Dan, Showtime’s proprietor, giving an example of one of his personal favorite pieces in the shop. Photo by Bruno Vanzieleghem (Flickr: @Bruno_VZ)

There are certain special people and places in Detroit which make it unique—they often combine new and old, sparkles and grit, kind and tough—and Showtime Clothing is one of them.  Showtime is a Detroit institution.  For the past 25 years, the shop has occupied the space at 5708 Woodward Ave. in the Midtown neighborhood.  In that time, many well-known bands (e.g., Slash, Social Distortion, and Suzi Quatro) have relied upon Showtime’s proprietor, Dan, for styling advice and clothing selection.  I recently had the chance to talk with Dan about where he’s been and where he’s going.

Though, as the website proclaims, they have been “dressing Detroit bands and entertainers since 1989,” one need not be an entertainer to partake in the awesomeness that is Showtime.  Want a unique piece of clothing for your wardrobe?  Already have a unique wardrobe you’d like to augment?  Planning to really work it for Theater Bizarre and/or your annual Halloween party?  Come here.  But don’t walk in with the expectation that you’re visiting a costume shop—that’s strictly not the case.  Showtime offers high-quality pieces, hand-selected by Dan to fit your style and body type.

Showtime's front door, decorated with stickers and flyers from the past 25 years. Photo by Bruno Vanzieleghem (Flickr: @Bruno_VZ)
Showtime’s front door, decorated with stickers and flyers from the past 25 years. Photo by Bruno Vanzieleghem (Flickr: @Bruno_VZ)

When you visit Showtime, bring an open mind and let go of your expectations about the modern (read: mall) shopping experience.  Shopping here is a truly personalized experience.  Dan will lend you his eye for style and fit.  He’ll regard it as his responsibility to tell you if a piece isn’t right for your shape, and will work to recommend something better.  Respect is central to how Dan interacts with people—he’ll treat you with utmost respect, and will expect the same of you.  He truly adores what he does: “I love the people who come in here. It’s my life.”

Dan has been doing similar work for nearly 32 years, most of them at Showtime.  He opened his first shop on Second Ave., not far from Showtime’s current location.  After a few years in business, Dan closed up shop and moved to New York to pursue similar work and learning opportunities.  Back from New York, he opened Showtime in 1989.  Dan credits the success of his store to those who have gone out of their way to help him learn and find connections.  It’s obvious that he is pursuing his passion.

Part of Showtime's impressive men's footwear collection. Photo by Bruno Vanzieleghem (Flickr: @Bruno_VZ)
Part of Showtime’s impressive men’s footwear collection. Photo by Bruno Vanzieleghem (Flickr: @Bruno_VZ)

Business at Showtime has been healthy for most of the past 25 years.  However, due to the M-1 Rail construction along several miles of Woodward Ave., many small businesses are suffering.  Dan’s business has declined by several thousand dollars per month since construction began this summer.  He also gave the example of nearby convenience stores and gas stations which are experiencing similar losses.  For Dan in particular, he’s at a point where he must decide whether to close Showtime permanently or move to a different location.  Moving would require a large infusion of resources to be feasible, and the pieces of that puzzle are being sorted now.  Dan’s need to choose one of these options is real; in fact, a friend is facilitating a GoFundMe campaign in order to support Showtime.

Rest assured that, at least for the near future, Showtime is open for business—and Dan would love a visit!  Despite the construction on Woodward, parking is available on side streets within an easy walk to Showtime.  For example, I’ve visited twice in the past couple of weeks, and have been able to find a spot within a block of the shop.  So, if you want to experience a bit of Detroit history first-hand, stop in and take a look around.  Bring an open mind, an ear for a great story, and willingness to try on something new.

Have you been to Showtime?  What did you think?  What other places, in your opinion, might qualify as “Detroit Institutions”? 

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Hi, I'm Shannon and I'm proud to be from Michigan. Some things I enjoy: Cooking, craft beer, most kinds of music, travel, learning things, tattoos, driving, being on boats, water in general, being out of my comfort zone, history not printed in books (the real stories...), cats and dogs, imperfection, girls and boys, live (loud) rock 'n' roll shows, deep voices, smart people, sarcasm, dry wit, consideration, thunder, nerdiness, trying to explain complicated concepts in digestible ways, bourbon, stream-of-consciousness writing, Ford trucks from the 80s, people with useful skills, the color blue.