by Stephen Garner

Amiri debuted its autumn/winter 2021 menswear collection on Wednesday night as an ode to downtown Los Angeles.

Downtown L.A. (DTLA for short) is where founder Mike Amiri conceived his brand fifteen years ago, when the area was only artist lofts and barrooms. During these formative years in Amiri’s history, the location’s energy was a driving inspiration – this collection speaks to the enduring beat of downtowns worldwide

Now, Mike’s newest collection pays homage to the cultural history of Downtown L.A., where the city’s burgeoning arts and fashion districts are located, and where Mike Amiri’s first studio was situated in 2009.

Within this conversation, Amiri considers the beginnings of the DTLA era, when a wave of artists moved into the former industrial buildings, lured by the dark romance of its nightlife. Soon an urban colony of creatives collected, sparking a fuse of collaboration, freedom, and innovation that built the foundation for the artistic hub established today. In tribute to this community – past and present – Amiri paints a vivid interpretation of a new vanguard carving their own distinctive chapter.

Deconstructing the format of a runway show, the collection is presented as a specially-commissioned cinematic vision, directed by Cara Stricker and soundtracked by four tracks from The Roots. A journey centered on the 4th Street Bridge and iconic blocks of Downtown L.A., the who’s who of male models each takes individual paths on the bridge as the world moves in sync with the shifting skies.

Forming the collection’s palette, black, tan, alabaster, and midnight blues reflect the city’s dawn ‘til dusk hues as a new silhouette is drawn: outlined by flare pants cut in generous proportions, and slim, cropped bodies layered in voluminous outerwear with defined shoulders – referencing the gradual shift from tapered shapes to a new wave sensibility.

A hybrid evolution of formal and informal codes, opulent materials are contrasted with or made into the everyday, mirroring DTLA’s artistic canvases: from the streets to the galleries. This dialogue is explored through brushed mohair, soft cashmere, English houndstooth, Japanese plaid, leather, lurex, organza, and faux-fur leopard. A subversion of traditional formal dress codes, tailoring is softened and crafted with debonair personality – layered above sweatshirts, argyle knitwear, turtlenecks, and loose cardigans. Faux-fur features throughout, defining broader silhouettes and a deep textural spectrum.

Representing the art world’s changing of the guard, traditional bouclé fabrics are cut in contemporary shapes and bold outerwear completes each look: coated trenches, animal-print teddy jackets, and double-breasted Italian wool overcoats. Swarovski crystal details and organza shirting with paillette embroidery conjure DTLA after-hours and nod to the joy of getting dressed up. Abstract painters and thinkers punctuate the collection: in tactile mohair sweaters, revere-collar silks, lurex roll necks, and corduroy flare pants.

Artisanal motifs visualize a tour through DTLA: neon-soaked imagery of the city at night evokes an ‘80s cinematic tone, authentic paint splatter details speak of the arts district, and hand-painted visions of thriving underground music clubs, rehearsal rooms, and musical notation evoke the city’s rich sonic heritage. The City of Angels manifests as a new cherub Amiri motif, while backgammon table and chessboard embroidered knitwear sits us at its bars. Delivered with a new wave demeanor, Amiri’s allure is at its sharpest: prominent new eyewear silhouette, Honeycomb, defines the fall/winter ‘21 personality, as does gold hardware – worn as necklaces or pant chains by every model.

The collection is anchored by a core line-up of accessories. Bridging the classical and practical, sneakers are worn throughout as a symbol of comfort. Amiri introduces The Stadium as a new footwear style, designed with a refined, athletic spirit that both grounds and elevates silhouettes, while signature Skel-Toe sneakers are revealed in new season colorways. Fusing the sartorial and the technical, the decorative and practical, carry-on luggage is cut to resemble a guitar body, while Amiri’s large Triangle Weekender bag is cast in the house’s signature bandana pattern, and multi-pocket harnesses are crafted with the nomadic artist’s traveling kit in mind.


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