Mike Amiri to Launch Second Edition of Amiri Prize

Mike Amiri is continuing to show his support for the next generation of fashion designers with the launch of the second edition of the Amiri Prize.

The designer established the annual award and incubator program in 2021 to encourage, nurture and showcase up-and-coming American talent that might otherwise be overlooked. This year, the program has been opened up to international designers as well.

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The winner will receive $100,000 and a yearlong mentorship with the Los Angeles-based designer.

The winner of the first prize was Lou Badger, founder of the Philadelphia-based brand of the same name which creates genderless embellished custom designs crafted from recycled materials.

“The Amiri Prize is an excellent opportunity for designers from nontraditional backgrounds to elevate their work, have the resources to invest more deeply in their craft, as well as have access to the wonderful people at the brand to cultivate more intention and focus,” Badger said. “Since the day I won the prize until now, I’ve had the opportunity to develop my creative ideas with more ease and greater intention. My journey has allowed me to cultivate technical expertise and understand the fashion industry at a higher level.”

Amiri funds the award himself and calls on a jury of experts in the field to choose the recipient. This year, that panel includes June Ambrose, creative director and designer for Puma; designer Salehe Bembury; KidSuper founder and creative director Colm Dillane; image architect Law Roach; A-Cold-Wall founder and creative director Samuel Ross; GQ’s global editorial director Will Welch; Vogue fashion editor at large Gabriella Karefa-Johnson; Lucia Liu, stylist and founder of theBallroom, and Rocco Liu, editorial director of GQ China.

Amiri said when he started out in 2014, “we had absolutely nothing — no industry connections, no co-sign, no gimmicks and no backer. We just believed in ourselves and knew that if we did good work we couldn’t be ignored.”

As a result, he feels there is “a responsibility that comes with a certain level of success in that it is important to realize that you did not get here alone. When the whole industry is more open and inclusive, more opportunities are created and we all benefit. This prize aims to help a young brand survive and grow at a time when the industry is going through a momentous shift in terms of infrastructure and audience.”

Amiri said the inaugural edition, which launched during the height of the pandemic, was a big success. “We launched during COVID-19, and I think that was a particularly creative time for some, because it made people reevaluate what their purpose was. We really saw that in the applications: there was talent but also a strong message behind each idea. The winner, Lou Badger, certainly presented a very strong vision that emphasized their commitment to sustainability and their community.”

Amiri also pointed to the panel of judges as key to the program’s success. “The jury is so important to this project, and I am so grateful to them for their time.”

Those interested in applying need not have a formal fashion education but must have an established brand with a clear point of view. They can fill out an application on the Amiri website beginning Tuesday through July 28 at which point the jury will narrow the list down to three. In late August, the finalists will meet with the judges over Zoom and the winner will be revealed in early October.

In addition to the cash and the mentorship opportunity, the winner will be publicized globally by Amiri as well as on the Amiri social channels.

At the time of the launch of the program, Amiri said he has “always wanted to do something to help young creatives who are lost in the fashion system, because there are not that many doors to get in.”

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