Luxury designer Mike Amiri is calling all early-stage fashionistas and entrepreneurs to participate in the first year of the $100,000 AMIRI Prize. The Iranian-American clothier is launching the contest to support creatives who might not have access to the right people or the industry know-how to get their visions off the ground.
“For many years I felt that so many of the most talented designers are often overlooked and remain undiscovered. These designers are often passed over in favor of those who have the privilege of the right connections, co-signs, favor of the industry gate keepers and social circles,” Amiri posted on Instagram. “The AMIRI prize will serve to create a more diverse and open platform outside of the current establishment to discover and nurture these overlooked and undiscovered talents.”
Three years earlier, in an interview with Fashionista, Amiri harped on the value of an early head start when it comes to a fashion career. “I always tell this to young designers: Shoot as many three-pointer jump shots as you can,” he said. “Don’t wait to do things. I was 38 by the time I launched [my brand] at Maxfield. There is an energy factor there. How connected to culture are you as you get older?”
From March 17 through April 18, applicants can submit their portfolios for consideration. While there is no age limit for participants themselves, qualifying businesses are not allowed to be more than three years old. Along with the portfolio and a completed form, designers will also have to provide at least two collections of their ready-to-wear clothing and a company mission statement.
The list of esteemed industry panelists who will help Amiri determine the 2021 winner of the prize includes:
- Y/Project and Diesel creative director Glenn Martens
- Only the Brave president Renzo Rosso
- Spunge owner Salehe Bembury
- stylist Karla Welch
- Harper’s Bazaar’s digital director Nikki Ogunnaike
- Union L.A.’s Chris Gibbs
“With this success must also come the acknowledgment that there is a clear discrepancy of opportunity within the traditional fashion system,” Amiri made clear in his press statement. “The AMIRI Prize is tailored to young designers who are often overlooked and to help provide opportunity, knowledge and resources to create a foundation for success.”
The grand prize winner will be announced in May and also receives a mentorship from Mike Amiri, to go with the money. However, the contest is only open to residents of the United States. You can learn more about the challenge and apply by visiting https://prize.amiri.com/.