Michael Azoulay

Your fashion brand celebrates its 10th birthday this year. What inspired you to start American Vintage?
I travelled a lot in America when I was younger, I also have family living there. I was excited with the crossover of the American and French cultures. America gave me energy and inspiration. I started in retail and sales, and  American Vintage followed from there. I like that in American they dream big and anything is possible, I wanted to build a brand with this philosophy.

You’re French, so how come you named the brand American Vintage?
I wanted to mix the European culture with the American spirit, so American Vintage was born.

The brand has evolved from a t-shirt collection to a full fashion line. How much are you involved in the design process and the look of American Vintage?
75 percent of my work is now with the design team, working to build the new collections. I’m in the office and factory everyday.

What sets an American Vintage t-shirt apart from the rest?
The fabric, the cut, the wash, the finish.

Why do you think your brand has managed not only to survive but grow during this difficult financial period?
Because we work so hard to send a clear message, we focus on the DNA of the brand. We work on international development and deliver in season and quickly! Our logistic centres deliver in 48 hours, it’s fast.

American Vintage just opened its first London store on Westbourne Grove? Why this location and what took you so long?
London is expensive and we had to find the right location because the collections are big. We are now ready for London, we have a lot to offer from strong trend-led pieces to luxury basics. The shop is a joint venture with Malene Majlund of Inexcess Fashion. We hope to develop more shops in the future.

What are your thoughts on sustainable fashion and can you see your own brand taking a sustainable approach if it doesn’t already?
Of course we try as much as we can to be. We sell an emotion, quality is our foundation and philosophy, we concentrate on fabric and value. We try to be as good as we possibly can be.

How green are you in your own life?
I try, as much as I can be.

How would you describe your own style?
Simple – jeans, a white t-shirts and sneakers.

You seem to have a naturally entrepreneurial spirit – do you think we could see you enter another industry down the line?
I like fashion for now. I love it for sure. I could do something else but for now I am happy. I take each day as it comes, try to find a balance. It’s a crazy job. I think in the fashion industry if you have success it becomes addictive.

What next for American Vintage?
More shops – and to grow the American Vintage story, to add to each collection. To add strength to the brand and give women more fashion, comfort and value.

Interview by Dena Tahmasebi
Photography by Andrea Vecchiato

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