Paulo Redeem, a Philadelphia-based fashion brand, has won the inaugural edition of The Amiri Prize, 2021.
Founded in 2019 by NaaAmerley Badger, Paulo Redeem follows the circular model, creating imaginative and embellished custom designs crafted from upcycled materials.
The Amiri Prize, established by Mike Amiri, founder and creative director of L.A. men’s and women’s brand Amiri, is an annual fashion incubator established to inspire undiscovered American fashion talent by offering a support system outside the current establishment, as reported.
Badger was selected from three finalists by Amiri and a panel of contemporary visionaries and entrepreneurs. The first prize includes the sum of $100,000 as well as a year-long mentorship with Amiri. Badger bested two other finalists, Ayama and Victor Li.
Badger made the move into fashion having previously been an English teacher, chair of the English department and an assistant principal, among other roles.
With her label, Badger seeks to address the lack of Black representation in sustainable fashion and draw attention to the environmental impact on the industry by challenging the perceived value of newness.
“NaaAmerley presented a very strong vision with an artistic approach that complements her commitment to sustainability and her community. Shining a light on her talent, values and integrity reflect my motivation for creating the Amiri Prize. We look forward to supporting her and following the development of her brand,” said Amiri.
Badger said, “It is a great honor and privilege to be awarded the winner of the first Amiri Prize. I feel grateful for so much: the opportunity to bring my vision to fruition with the support of Mike Amiri and Amiri, the thoughtful feedback I received from an iconic jury, and the future that inclusive and transparent fashion incubators like this one will help to cultivate. My path has been unconventional, and I am a complete outsider in the fashion industry. In my past experiences these two factors closed doors, but I am excited to being a new journey where they are elevated as strengths in service of my purpose.”
The judges were Salehe Bembury, owner of Spunge; Chris Gibbs, owner of Union Los Angeles; Glenn Martens, creative director of Diesel and Y/Project; Nikki Ogunnaike, digital director, Harper’s Bazaar, Renzo Rosso, president of OTB, and Kala Welch, celebrity stylist.
The prize was open to American residents whose ready-to-wear business is one year in, but not older than three years old.
In an interview in March, Amiri told WWD, “I want to catch a designer at a specific point in their career, that’s not so early that they are just starting from scratch, or so late that they are already set in their ways. Businesses in general are in their infancy in the first five years, and after the first two years you are just reaching that hump, and I remember those pain points.”
Amiri, who established his company in 2014, fuses authentic L.A. rock ‘n’ roll and street culture. He has diversified into new categories across fine tailoring, accessories and shoes, and presents his main collections biannually at Paris Fashion Week. In 2020, he opened his first retail store on Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive.
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