By The Lovely Amy Peterson, Co-Founder of Rebel Nell

When I moved to Detroit almost ten years ago, it was an entirely different city than the one I live in today, but the love has stayed the same. I had set up residence in a city deep in the midst of an economic down spiral, facing a dwindling population at the rate of 65 people per day over the past 10 years, according to Detroit Works Project. Those who remained were not doing well, and many women and families were struggling with unemployment and poverty.

Three and a half years ago, I co-founded Rebel Nell with my business partner Diana with a vision of what could be salvaged from the rubble, using art to propel the women in the community forward. Never did we imagine that the brand we started in that tiny workshop in Detroit would grow into something that would be displayed in a museum that Andrew Carnegie once called home on the Upper East Side.

And yet we did. From now until February 26th, 2017, Rebel Nell will be included in the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum’s third exhibition of a series called “By the People: Designing a Better America” that takes a look at the way design is being used to create more inclusive, sustainable, and equitable communities. The exhibit features changemakers like Detroit Future City and creators like Raleigh Denim Workshop, where they engage master pattern makers, sewers and farmers from North Carolina to design classic American jeans while maintaining a small carbon footprint.

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