Amiri: Fall/Winter 2021 on LA’s most loved bridge
One designer gathering momentum in spite of the pandemic is Mike Amiri, who on Wednesday unveiled his latest collection, shot on one of the most cinematic bridges on the planet.
The Los Angeles based designer presented his fall/winter 2021 collection online at 6 p.m. CET, or 9 a.m. in California, kindly inviting friends and family to a rented drive-in for a viewing.
“There’ll be about 100 of us; a chance to enjoy some popcorn and beers and see the collection from the comfort of your own car,” explained the designer in a pre-show Zoom.
His video fashion flick featured a hirsute and inclusive cast shot on Fourth Street Viaduct, which cineastes will recognize from films like Grease, Eraserhead and Diehard 4.
All wearing the artist-rocker-gent style that has made Amiri into an important influence among fashionable hipsters internationally.
From the leather nubuck trench coats with shearling collars and dandy tartan coats with contrast lapels to the bold knits: cut-out Argyles; bold chessboard crewnecks and playing-card motifs.
Mike likes a long pant, split at the side, all the better to practically engulf the feet; held up by Amiri-logo buckle belts. While his silhouette reflects the contemporary preference for short jackets with extended pants. All told, the Amiri man is as much dude as dandy.
Attracted by Amiri’s modernist attitude and growing legion of fans, Italian fashion mogul Renzo Rosso acquired a minority stake in Amiri, helping finance its debut flagship on Rodeo Drive.
So we Zoomed in with Mike Amiri in his home on Mulholland Drive, to hear his plans for the future of his brand, and how having Renzo as a mentor is helping to take his fashion house to a new level.
FashionNetwork.com: What was your starting point in creating this latest collection?
Mike Amiri: I was inspired by spending lots of time in LA and not really travelling. I stayed in Downtown in the Art District, reconnecting with 15 years ago, when I began by doing stage wear for artists and working with stylists. Making things as fast as I could and making ideas happen.
FNW: Why did you shoot in that location?
MA: It is iconic if you are an Angelino. Plus, I like these bits of the city that don’t belong to the stereotypical idea of LA as palm trees and mansions.
FNW: Where are your collections made?
MA: Right now, 70% in LA still and most of the rest in Italy. It’s really important to me that LA is the majority, and things are made close to home.
FNW: Who are the artists and musicians that excite you?
MA: I try to imagine my heroes when I saw them as a teenager. My heroes were often the musicians who had their studios in that district. They expressed the dark romantic nightlife of LA characters. For me, it’s a special place of people who started locally and made a name globally – like recently meeting Wes Lang (the post-modern American frontier artist) and visiting his studio. That really resonates with me.
FNW: How much sustainability have you achieved with Amiri?
MA: Sustainability for me is as much a state of mind and how you carry your entire company. We like to create locally and use fabrics until every meter is done. We support the local community by keeping production here, and employ artisanal families.
FNW: Define the DNA of Amiri?
MA: It’s a mix of artisan DIY and luxury execution.
FNW: What attracted you to partnering with Renzo Rosso?
MA: I built a great relationship with Renzo after one of his visits when he came by my studio and had a conversation about craft, mentality and creation. And what was so surprising was that someone I so respect in business was still so excited. He became a mentor for me and so a partnership felt natural. And that happened 18 months ago. But in our mind set we continued our independent way. Though Renzo is a great sounding board. He has a small minority – really more a seat at the table to discuss ideas. I needed a person like that.
FNW: What synergies have you achieved with OTB?
MA: Currently not, as we already had harmonious production. But having a mentor helped me think bigger. But I am sure as we continue to open stores we can learn lots from OTB. Our first store in LA has opened remarkably well at a really awkward time in the world. But we are really pleased with how it has progressed. There are not really many LA-based brands on that strip of Rodeo Drive.
FNW: Who are the designers whom you most admire?
MA: I go back to the people who broke the ceiling. I’ve always admired what Rick Owens created. He was an LA designer at one stage in his career. He made a name for himself globally but was still drinking in a local coffee shop.
FNW: Which designers do you wear?
MA: If I am not wearing Amiri, I am wearing some small craft brand, with maybe one store.
FNW: Which are the ideas and cultures that inspire you?
MA: What keeps me energised is hands on, and probably still too much so I get my hands dirty. I go from meeting with our CFO and then dying cashmere in the next room to casting. For our show, we cast mostly professional models, casting in a studio – two blocks from my first closet studio!
FNW: Where do you want Amiri to be in five years?
MA: Continue on our path and forging ahead with the same integrity and thought. Growth is judged by how well you maintain that.
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