Mike Amiri’s Los Angeles-based line is only four and a half years old, but he already considers brands such as Prada and Gucci his peers. And because of this, he thought it was important to debut his fall 2018 collection, which he calls his most comprehensive, fully realized effort so far, in Paris instead of the U.S.
“I believe there is new space for independent brands in the context of luxury to have a voice,” Amiri said. “Before there were so many different walls. But playing on that stage is important and it shows the collection in the context of brands who I consider peers. We only sell to shops where we are adjacent to these brands.”
Amiri was speaking on the phone from Tokyo where he’s recently opened a pop-up within Restir, an independent boutique, that will sell his fall 2018 collection along with a capsule that he created in collaboration with Warner Bros., which is inspired by the Eighties movie the “The Lost Boys.”
“Restir is one of the few accounts we sell to in Japan and I like that it’s an independent shop that’s off the beaten path,” Amiri said. “I thought it was time to have more of a presence here and usually the collection sells so fast that it’s hard to establish an identity in store.”
Amiri is also operating a pop-up at Joyce in Hong Kong, and later this year, he will open a pop-up at Le Bon Marché in Paris and permanent shop-in-shop within Bergdorf Goodman’s men’s store where he will be adjacent to Prada, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
In a short amount of time, Amiri has sold consumers on his L.A. aesthetic that mixes rock ‘n’ roll with streetwear. According to Amiri, whose vice president previously worked at Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy and relocated his family to L.A. to work with him, the brand is projected to do $55 million in sales in 2019 and it’s one of the top three or four selling brands in each of the shops it sells to, which includes Barneys, The Webster, Maxfield and Holt Renfrew. He attributes his success to his product but also his identity.
“The new consumer is not sold on old ideas and they are open to finding new designers,” said Amiri, who has 234,000 followers on his own Instagram account and around 100,000 followers on the brand account. “They want to learn about people rather than the legacy of a brand. It’s more about connecting to a person and not just buying the clothes but buying into that person’s authenticity.”
Amiri believes another key to his success is slow and steady growth. He’s controlled distribution and the amount of product he produces in order to maintain a high perception value. Amiri said the jeans he makes tend to hold their value on the resale market over time because of this strategy. He does hope to have his own store at some point, but he’s not actively looking for any investors.