Up-and-coming Detroit suit maker reinventing his 'Dandy' brand amid COVID-19

A Detroit designer was making his mark in the city with his custom suits until the pandemic hit. Now the man behind the brand Dandy, Nelson Sanders, is forced to adjust to the times with his clothing and customers.

"I give a lot of credit and coming up in the city, Detroit is a kind of, in a sense, a fashion show in itself," he said.

What started out as a simple retail job as a teenager soon became a passion. But his love of style started with his father who he describes as an "authentic old school Detroit guy."

"He taught me to shine my shoes, where to go get a hat, what type of watch to have."

Over the years, Sanders grew his own personal style and knowledge of fabrics and design. Using his dad's influence he put his own twist on men's fashion, creating his own custom suiting brand.

"That one word (Dandy) kind of embodies everything what I am about what I am doing and where I want to take it," he said.

Dandy launched in May of 2019 inside the Detroit is the New Black store on Woodward in the heart of the city. Sanders uses Italian and English fabrics to construct everything from custom suits, shirts and tuxedos to jackets and trousers. It's a handmade classic style with Detroit flavor.

Business was bustling - and then COVID hit, closing stores and putting fashionable business attire on hold.

"This is it. I'm going to make it work one way or another."

Times were tough but as stores started to re-open, Sanders had to start to re-invent his brand. On top of his bespoke suits, the 35-year-old is offering his customers a more casual approach.

In time, Sanders wants Dandy to grow into a complete lifestyle brand - anything a "Dandy" would need.

"I've had to broaden my range of products that I am offering because getting custom suit from me, the turnaround is like 6 to 8 weeks so, people that are coming into the store, people that want something right away, I had to have things accessible for them to buy," he said. "Coming up with more casual, soft constructed jackets, maybe trousers that have drawstrings in them, kind of constructing things that look good and still be comfortable."

You can check Dandy out on social media. Sanders says they are revamping the website right now, dandydetroit.com, but you can always walk in the store Detroit is the New Black. They are taking all safety precautions to serve customers.