WORDS BY STEPHEN YU
Since 2014, the Amiri brand has grown from a single capsule collection stocked in a high-end LA retailer, to a global empire that includes a flagship store, several global boutiques and a legion of adoring fans that could fill several stadiums.
Mixing a healthy dose of West Coast cool with some of the finest fabrics on the planet, part of Amiri’s allure is how it transforms traditional clothing into luxury streetwear with the kind of artisanal touches and attention to detail usually reserved for Europe’s oldest fashion houses. The fact that Amiri is a small independently owned American label makes this even more punk rock.
In particular, Amiri jeans are the most desirable of the brands' offerings, garnering a devout fan base of stylish celebrities that’s so diverse it includes NFL star Odell Beckham Jr, pop sensation Justin Bieber, modern-day rock stars like Travis Scott as well as ageing legends like Keith Richards. With big prestige and the price tag to match, getting the right size in a pair of Amiri denims is key. Luckily we’re on hand to give you a lowdown on all things Amiri jeans sizing. Keep reading on to find out more about the brand – and the man – that’s upstaging Hedi Slimane.
Who owns Amiri?
Amiri is the eponymous brand started by Mike Amiri which draws upon the nostalgia of his upbringing in Los Angeles. In his youth, the Hollywood-native would spend his formative years skateboarding, tagging graffiti, or riding BMX — just a few of the Californian subcultures often referenced in his namesake brand. As his teenage years beckoned, hanging around with club kids and smoking cigarettes at high school with the cool crowd (which included a young Angelina Jolie) became more of a focus than studying, much to the dismay of his Iranian parents who rented a spot on Sunset Boulevard just to get him into the most prestigious schools in the area.
But, keen to appease his parents, Amiri chose to attend law school, a decision that would see him working as far-flung as Korea in the music industry. Throughout his studies and even his professional career, Mike was always customising and creating his own clothing. What started as one jacket spliced with the logo branding taken from a Motley Crue t-shirt as a teen, would eventually morph into creating custom pieces for the likes of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame, and hip-hop royalty like Usher.
Eventually, a career bringing to life his vision of a clothing brand inspired by LA’s rebellious youth movements and a heavy dose of rock n roll became much more attractive than the legal world. Renting a small studio under a rock-themed Thai restaurant in a dodgy part of Sunset Boulevard, Amiri began to put together the first collection for his eponymous brand.
Where are Amiri jeans made?
What’s most beautiful about the Amiri brand is that besides the suiting and the footwear, it’s all made in America. What Mike Amiri has done is put together a hit squad of local craftsmen, artisans and garment workers who manufacture his clothing. And when we say hit squad, we mean that literally too –– some pieces are distressed by an artist in Josh Tree who actually fires a shotgun at them. Though the fabrics are sourced from all over the globe, including the finest Italian wools and Japanese knits, every piece is finished in LA.
But when it comes to Mike Amiri jeans, the story gets even more romantic. Each pair is constructed during a 16-step process that is closer to surgery than it is to your traditional denim assembly process. Over a three month period, lab technicians destroy and then reassemble the denims stitch-by-stitch. In between, any one pair can go through a multitude of hand-distressed abrasion, patching, embroidery or Swarovski crystal studding techniques before being finished with Amiri’s trademark chipped brass buttons and French leather patch detail. If you’re wondering how Amiri’s denim gets so soft too, it’s because they undergo a final silicone wash which makes the fabric feel more elastic and comfortable while also making it more durable and easy to take care of. With the amount of work that goes into each pair, Amiri jeans are closer to a piece of wearable artwork than workwear.
Amiri Jeans Size Guide
Just picture a sweaty Mick Jagger thrusting across the stage or the gaunt frontman of your ex’s favourite indie band and you’ll have an idea of how Amiri’s classic 5 pocket jeans fit. They’re tight –– spray-on tight.
But, slip on a pair of Amiri jeans and you’ll start to understand exactly what all the fuss is about. Though they’re made of some of the most heavyweight denim in the luxury fashion industry, they’re also cut with elastane so they don’t feel like you’re wearing a suit of armour (unlike some of the most popular Japanese raw denim brands). The fabric itself is luxuriously soft too (as in ‘can this really be denim?’ soft –– they’re that silky) so there’s no need to break them in either, they’ll feel good to wear off the shelf. In fact, if you’re the kind of guy who remembers squeezing into a pair of women's jeans a couple of years back to get that perfect drainpipe fit, you’ll be shocked by how comfy Amiri jeans are –– they’re the most unrestrictive skinny jeans ever, so much so that Mike Amiri even claims you can happily sleep in a pair, let alone kick and jump your way through a 4-hour set. And we’re inclined to agree.
What we’re trying to get at is that although these look skin-tight, they don’t feel it, so if you’ve got the legs for it you should wear a pair of Amiri jeans just how the founder intended –– that is true-to-size. However, for people carrying some added thickness on the calves and thighs (and I’m one of these people), or even those who want more of a slim-fit, we recommend you take 1-2 sizes up. But, accept that your jeans might run a bit big at the waistband.
Better yet, check your own or your favourite denim jeans measurements against the below size chart to get the most accurate sizing. It’s also important to check the Amiri website to see if they give any sizing advice for your desired pair of jeans –– sometimes specific models are under or oversized due to differences in manufacturing and this will be outlined here.
Not sure what Amiri denim to buy? Here are just a few of our favourites:
How do Amiri Jeans fit?
Amiri MX1 Jeans
Hand-distressed to perfection, these iconic Amiri jeans are ripped on the knees and thighs with hand-pleated leather panels inserted underneath. These black Amiri jeans however feature bandana fabric instead –– very Axl Rose. Fit true-to-size for Saint Laurent Paris types (you know who you are), size up for a more relaxed fit.
Amiri MX2 Jeans
Much copied but never bettered, the MX2 is Amiri’s premium take on the classic Balmain-style biker jean. This style is all about the zips –– featuring zippered outside thigh pockets and zip closures at the knees –– and though the original versions featured pleated leather knee patches, modern versions make use of other fabrics. Stretchy enough to feel good true-to-size for hipsters who usually ride fixies, but you might want to size up one or two if you’re built more like a Hells Angel riding a Harley.
Amiri Relaxed Jeans
Shock horror, Mike Amiri does produce some more relaxed jean styles. These Amiri patch jeans fit more like a dad jean but feel way comfier thanks to Amiri’s stretch-cotton wizardry. Buy true-to-size.
Amiri Jeans Size Chart
How To Wash Amiri Jeans
The best way to look after your $1,000 Amiri jeans? Dry clean them. At least that’s what Amiri themselves recommend. But, with the amount you’d spend on dry cleaning over the course of 2021 –– you could probably buy another pair.
So, how to wash Amiri jeans? Follow our advice below and you can save you and your Amiri jeans from feeling like you’ve been taken to the cleaners.
Disclaimer: This content is only informational and does not constitute professional advice.
Wash Inside Out & Buttoned Up
While every pair of jeans benefits from a little added care while washing, your dad’s jeans turned out okay and your mum has managed to shrink every piece of knitwear you’ve ever owned, so your jeans will probably survive whatever you throw at them. Just make sure to wash them inside out to minimise wear and tear, and to fasten zippers and buttons to prevent them from snagging on anything. This goes without saying but always read the garment tags too.
Washing As Little As Possible...Or Never
There’s a certain type of denim head who believes washing jeans at all is totally unnecessary. Think these ‘unwashed few’ are some kind of fringe movement on the outskirts of society? Think again. Even the CEO of Levi’s is in agreement. The theory goes that washing denim weakens the fabric and also wastes water, so save it only for when it’s really needed.
Spot Cleaning Stains
We all have accidents but don’t panic – whether it’s last night's kebab, this morning’s baby sick or last week’s conquest, a small stain doesn’t have to derail your denim project. Spot cleaning stains using a damp cloth or toothbrush and some diluted dish soap can save you from pressing the reset button that is a full wash or forever etching your mistake into your Amiri jeans forever.
If you’re being really cautious, hand washing is the mildest method of washing denim. Mix water and a mild detergent together in a bath, and leave your jeans to sit in them for 30-45 minutes. Then, drain the water and refill and let them sit for 10 minutes to rinse. Repeat this process until the water runs clear. Fold or roll the jeans before wringing them out to dry.
Nothing beats the agitation and multiple cycles of the washing machine for deep cleaning. Make sure to use a mild detergent designed to help your jeans retain dye and reduce any bleaching from the chlorine in your tap water. Use a cold water wash on a short delicate cycle to reduce both shrinkage and colour loss. Never use bleach or fabric conditioner as it can yellow, dull or damage the denim.
Alone and Inside Out
Always wash your Amiri jeans inside out to protect them from snagging on the washing machine or any other items, but also so the surface of the fabric doesn’t touch as much detergent. Washing machine distressed is not a good look. Also, wash alone or with similar coloured items to prevent any colour transfer, this goes both ways.
Washing Distressed Denims
To prevent your subtly frayed Amiri denims coming out looking holier than even the most heavily distressed jeans from Mike Amiri, our tip is to clip any holes or raw edges areas together to stop them enlarging or fraying further. If really ripped, stick to hand washing.
Line Drying or Tumble Drying?
Giving your denim a shake to reshape and a smooth over to reduce any wrinkles before line drying is usually all it takes. Air drying in this manner helps prevent shrinkage. If you absolutely must use the tumble dryer, make sure to use a delicate setting with low or no heat. Then remove the jeans while they’re still damp, stretch the seams and hang dry to finish.
Shop Men’s Amiri Jeans