Mike Amiri is launching the Amiri Award for Emerging American Fashion Talent, with a cash prize of $ 100,000 and mentorship for aspiring designers.
It funds the annual awards and incubator program itself, bringing in a diverse panel of entrepreneurs and fashion entrepreneurs to judge entrants to one of the top prizes of its kind in the US market.
âI’ve always wanted to do something to help young creatives who are lost in the fashion system because there aren’t a lot of doors to get in,â Amiri said, sharing that over the years, his DMs were inundated with highs and … came looking for advice. âI have people following me from starting in a basement until opening my store on Rodeo Drive, and there are so many things in between, like, ‘How do I know how to which stores to sell? Â»Â« Do I give things to the stylists? “” Do I have to produce first or take orders? “
âI would stay awake at night to respond because I have been through a lot of these things too, and there was no one to tell me the right way and the wrong way. “
Many young designer awards are based in Europe and supported by the biggest luxury groups. âIt’s really special because it’s by an American designer for designers,â Amiri said. âI want to provide a resource that has the potential to change someone’s life. “
The Amiri Prize is open to US residents whose ready-to-wear business has been in existence for one year, but not more than three years. The application is available on the brand’s website.
âI want to catch a designer at a specific point in their career, it’s not so early that they’re just starting from scratch, or so late that they’re already set in their ways,â Amiri said. âBusinesses in general are in their infancy in the first five years, and after the first two years you just hit that bump, and I remember those pain points. “
The judges for the Amiri Prize are designer Glenn Martens, Creative Director of Diesel and Y / Project; Renzo Rosso, Amiri investor and president of OTB; retailer Chris Gibbs, owner of influential streetwear store Union Los Angeles; product designer Salehe Bembury, who has worked on shoes for Versace and Yeezy, among others, and recently announced his new shoe brand Spunge; journalist Nikki Ogunnaike, digital director of Harper’s Bazaar; and stylist Karla Welch, founder of x Karla and The Period Company.
âIt was important to have a group with a diverse perspective, whether it was writing, retail, style or business,â Amiri said. âRenzo has been a mentor to me in many business discussions. He always seeks to support young creatives as well. Chris de Union, he is a staple in Paris and has seen all the young brands. And Karla, when I was just starting out, she found out about the brand and came to my seedy design studio and saw something special.
The prize amount was calculated to be “enough to create a collection and fund a bit of production,” said the designer, developing the mentoring portion, which will cover creation, merchandising, production and distribution, including l ‘access to Amiri and his team. âWhat’s really valuable is avoiding mistakes and knowing which paths to take. Many successful designers have a business counterpart, but young designers do not. I thought that my time and the time of the people in my company, some of whom worked in European houses, would be even more valuable than the capital, so that they could have answers to questions and the tools to build something.
As to why now, Amiri said the world has changed a lot. âThere is an innate responsibility that comes with success where it’s not just for you and the growth of the business, but the growth of the industry. There are so many people who can contribute and have an impact on the evolution of fashion, but they don’t have the voice and the tools. When the whole industry is more open and inclusive and there are more opportunities, we all benefit. “
Inside Amiri’s first amiri ship on Rodeo Drive