(Detroit Metro Times) Darryle Miller was just 20 years old in the summer of 2010 when he was killed for his Cartier sunglasses. Known to his mom as Little Darryle, the 6'6" former high school basketball star from Detroit had taken a 30-minute drive to Somerset Collection mall in Troy earlier that summer to purchase the $2,400 pair of Cartier C Décor white buffalo horn frames, better known simply as "White Buffs."
Although they may seem frivolous to outsiders, Cartier glasses are a status symbol in the city, and for more than 30 years, they've remained a staple of Detroit fashion and culture. With a retail price that's since jumped to $2,650 and up for the most popular frames, they've also become deeply associated with crime. They're referred to as Carties, Cardis, 'Ye's, or Sticks. For a while, the most fashionable designs were the Woods, made with Bubinga lumber, and Wire Frames, with lenses fixed in a thin gold rim. But today, at the top of Detroit's Cartier eyewear hierarchy are the "All White Buffies," immortalized by local rapper Rich Ken on a song of the same name. The whiter the Buffs, the more coveted the frames, and D. Mills, as he was known to his friends, wore a pair the night he died that were as white as ivory.
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They were so visible, so goes an eyewitness account, that even as he emerged from a dimly lit underpass after a celebratory night downtown, they were spotted by a man who was lurking in a dark alley. He was tall, even next to Darryle's power-forward frame. Brandishing a handgun, he demanded Darryle's glasses.