Detroit Denim, Mike Han teams up on limited edition bags

Wearable art is becoming a thing in Detroit, thanks to one local brand and artist.

Detroit Denim Co, a denim company specializing in made-to-order items, is collaborating with Detroit artist Mike Han for a limited edition “Blackout Bag” design to highlight intentional, wearable art. There are only eight bags being made for this collection, and each will be unique. The bags are being made available starting at 11 am on Tuesday to Detroit Denim and Mike Han email subscribers. If the bags don’t sell, they will be available for public sale on Friday.

“We hope this becomes a series. We just love the experience of working with artists and kind of stretching our wings in terms of what we can do and what we can make outside of just the jeans,” said Detroit Denim co-owner Brenna Lane . “It’s a lot of fun for us.”

Detroit Denim Co was created in 2010 by Eric Yelsma and co-owner Lane.

“From the Cordura nylon we chose to the webbing handles to the leather, to the deadstock Cone Mills lining, every piece of this is really, really thoughtful,” she said. “We sourced stuff that is really sturdy and it’s a little bit of an over-engineered bag, but I feel it should be. It’s got that Detroit sturdiness to it.”

Materials used in making the bag collaboration between Detroit artist Mike Han and the Detroit Denim Factory are laid out on a table at the Detroit Denim Factory in Detroit on November 16, 2022.

The Blackout Bag is a hand-stitched, medium, two-handle nylon bag that features Korean-inspired calligraphy paintings on it by Han. His artwork typically includes sharp contrasts “to illuminate life’s ubiquitous truths.” He also works on manufactured, hand-crafted, or found objects that have a component of sustainability.

“The painting is sort of my visual language,” said Han. “There’s the alphabet, where I have sort of a finite amount of standard shapes, geometric and organic. But the combinations of them are very much like my fingerprint, or snowflakes where at first glance they resemble the same thing but each one is absolutely unique .”

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