“There’s an excitement here,” said Dale Dougherty, editor and publisher of Make magazine, which spawned Maker Faire. “There’s a sense that it’s a frontier again, that it’s open, that you can do things without a lot of people telling you, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ ” Maker Faire follows that ethos; it drew over 22,000 people for demonstrations of wind-powered cars and fire-spewing bicycles to the parking lot of the Henry Ford Museum.Detroit hardly needs encouragement to do-it-yourself; it has a lineage of makers.Scott Hocking, an artist who creates works out of materials salvaged from the many abandoned buildings here, said that the D.I.Y. culture is “in our DNA.”
Levis is catching up to the Rust Belt Chic trend. I don't see the exploitation angle. The campaign represents something very real and celebrates Rust Belt culture. It's a good image for a region suffering from decades of bad publicity.
Much worse are the calls to focus on the supposed good parts of shrinking cities, the so not Rust Belt neighborhoods. You can find such places anywhere and that won't attract talent from Montana or Oregon (more from the above NYT story):
Even during a few days spent here, it is obvious how tight and welcoming the community is. A guy like Kevin Putalik can arrive alone from Montana with an interest in urban agriculture — a booming part of life in Detroit, where grocery stores are scarce — and within three weeks find himself making sausage at a party in someone’s home. “It’s the land of opportunity,” said Mr. Putalik, 28, who described himself as “funemployed,” as he rinsed casings at the sink.The party’s host, Brian Merkel, 25, is an arriviste from Portland, Ore.; he’s been here since October. “I moved here blindly,” Mr. Merkel said. “I was an artist in Portland and I became more interested in food. I decided that when I moved here I would be a butcher. Within the first two weeks we had a charcuterie club.” People move to Detroit, he said, “because they have a sense of purpose.”
To be sure, Detroit Chic has class and race issues. Urban revitalization for whom? Perhaps that's the gist of the concern about the Levis ads. That's a structuralist critique I'm not willing to entertain. I don't see the value in discussing how we can torpedo capitalism because it ravaged inner city Detroit. As far as Marxists are concerned, I'm part of the problem.