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  • Writer's pictureSasha Huang

How Michaël Azoulay Built American Vintage, the French Fashion Label Inspired By His US Travels — Exclusive Interview

INTERVIEW



Photo: Nicholai Fischer

In anticipation of its fifth store in Hong Kong, we engage with Michaël Azoulay, the founder behind the quintessentially French fashion brand, American Vintage. Established in Marseille in 2005, American Vintage has evolved into a colourful, creative French brand renowned for its timeless appeal and sensory-rich materials. Azoulay's vision was sparked by his travels in the USA, where he was inspired to reinvent the iconic T-shirt, laying the foundation for a brand that embraces authenticity, sincerity, and a cosmopolitan spirit. Under his vision, American Vintage has expanded its collections to include men's, women's, and children's ranges, all embodying the brand’s foundational principles of freedom, challenge, and the expression of individual personality.





For the Fall/Winter 2023/2024 season, American Vintage introduces a collection that stays true to its contemporary essence while embracing retro rock and ’90s influences, featuring an array of checks, stripes, and dazzling colours. Additionally, the brand celebrates the opening of its brand-new shop at Elements, a 106-square-meter space in Hong Kong completed with a central olive tree symbolising its roots in Marseille. A new store that welcomes customers into the world of American Vintage.


In this conversation, Michaël Azoulay delves into the founding story of American Vintage, the inspirations behind its latest collection, and the core principles that have propelled the brand to international acclaim.



Photo: Antoni Ciufo

1. What inspired you to get into the fashion industry?


My family had a background in the garment trade and managed a small boutique. As a teenager, I encountered my fair share of hurdles. School wasn’t aligning well with my path, so I chose to work while pursuing my studies. It was a challenging phase. Encouraged by my parents, I sought a skill that might reveal my true calling. I entered working life very young and discovered the job of salesman in a jeans store where I realized my attraction to sales and commerce. I was then a sales agent for the South of France to find stores. It was a discussion with a loved one that gave me the trigger and made me realize that what I was doing, I could do for my business.





2. What are the main philosophies behind American Vintage?

A federated community, the American Vintage teams are first and foremost a free, close-knit and committed community of ambassadors, whose fundamental principles are the exchange and sharing of knowledge. A bold brand, an international, innovative and flexible* company that is always moving with the times. A challenging environment, Michaël is a keen sports fan and has succeeded in developing the AMV world around these values: challenge, teamwork and surpassing oneself.


At American Vintage, thanks to our values, there is a real mix between the youth and the experience of certain people and this mix is very important in all the professions of the group.


*Flexibility: we have 75% of our partners who are long-term partners, in nearby production areas, which allows us to react quickly. We have the capacity to review our orders on a weekly basis, particularly for our carry-overs (products carried over from one season to the next) for which we have material stocks.



Photo: Antoni Ciufo


"At American Vintage, thanks to our values, there is a real mix between the youth and the experience of certain people and this mix is very important in all the professions of the group."

- Michaël Azoulay, Founder of American Vintage





Photo: Nicholai Fischer


3. How do you wish to impact the fashion industry with American Vintage?

Have responsible behavior, regain respect for the seasons, dates, the product and the fair price. I am pleased to hear that people who know fashion often recognize that our product ratio, creativity, timelessness, and price remain effective. The brand aims to lead by example in promoting sustainability within the fashion industry. By integrating eco-friendly materials, ethical practices, and a commitment to reducing environmental impact, American Vintage hopes to inspire other fashion labels to follow suit and adopt more sustainable approaches.


American Vintage aims to redefine trends by championing timeless fashion. Instead of following fleeting fads, the brand emphasizes enduring style, encouraging consumers to invest in pieces that last beyond seasonal whims. This approach seeks to challenge the fast fashion culture prevalent in the industry. The brand desires to empower individuals to embrace their unique style. By offering versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched, American Vintage aims to encourage self-expression and celebrate diversity in fashion. Through transparent practices and ethical sourcing, American Vintage seeks to advocate for fair labor conditions and ethical treatment of workers within the fashion supply chain. This advocacy aims to raise awareness about the importance of ethical considerations in fashion production.





4. What can you tell us about the brand-new FW23/24 collection for Women, Men and Kids?

American Vintage has typically been known for its emphasis on timeless, versatile pieces that blend comfort with style.


The FW23 collection shows timeless winter pieces for women, men and children that evolve and become iconic pieces – in checks, stripes and fancy prints. We find the DNA of the house: exclusive colors, denims and knits that punctuate the collection.


The women's collection is all about effortless silhouettes, comfortable fabrics and a neutral color palette. You can find oversized sweaters, cozy knits, tailored basics and relaxed-fit trousers that can easily transition from day to night.


The men's collection features classic yet modern pieces such as tailored jackets, versatile shirts, comfortable knitwear and well-cut trousers. The focus is on quality materials and timeless designs that exude understated elegance.


For kids, we've designed pieces that match with the adult women's and men's collections, focusing on comfort, quality, and simplicity. Expect durable basics, soft fabrics, and adaptable pieces suitable for various activities and occasions.





The highlight of the season? One of the new airy down jackets in neon colors!


Overall: we are focusing our work on shapes, materials and colors.



"The brand desires to empower individuals to embrace their unique style. By offering versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched, American Vintage aims to encourage self-expression and celebrate diversity in fashion."

- Michaël Azoulay, Founder of American Vintage






5. Are there any exciting launches from American Vintage that we can look forward to?

American Vintage opened its fifth store in Hong Kong Times Square at the beginning of December, strengthening the brand's expansion strategy in Europe and around the world. Future openings are planned in Europe and the United States!


To stay updated on the latest launches and releases, I'd recommend keeping an eye on American Vintage's official website, social media channels or subscribing to our newsletter.


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All imagery is provided by American Vintage.



Address: Shop 1072, 1st Level, 1 Austin Rd W, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong | Website: americanvintage-store.com/hk | Phone: +852 2861 2005 | Instagram: @americanvintage_officiel | Facebook: @americanvintage.officiel

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