‘Smart-Casual’ dressing just got a new lease on life with NYC brand, Amongst Friends. The label, headed by owner and designer Mikol Stambaugh, is comprised of clean Country Club classics like rugby jerseys, polo shirts, button-ups and Varsity print tees, due in part because Mikol’s inspiration comes from ‘sourcing and finding pieces that were created long ago but can be translated into something that’s relevant now’. Through this, Amongst Friends manages to always stay ahead of the curve yet remain on trend. We chat to Mikol about his label and what it means to be Amongst Friends.
Where does the name Amongst Friends come from?
The name Amongst Friends evolved from the way the brand was originally organized. It’s also meant to convey a feeling to our customers that they can be comfortable wearing our clothing. We began AF in a very grass roots manner; we had friends who designed, we had friends in the industry, we had friends who worked in production, we had family who contributed their resources, time and expertise, we operated and still operate the business Amongst Friends.
How did it evolve to what it is today?
A lot of hard work and definitely a lot of luck as well.
We’ve taken it slow to make sure each business decision is the right fit for where our company is at that moment. Our evolution of the brand of where we are today has a lot to do with the time we got into the game, right before the huge surge of new brands. We can also contribute our success to the customer we immediately targeted, which was the more mature, savvy streetwear guy. Targeting this market out the gate has allowed us to grow within the same genre and category without stretching too far from our core.
Could you explain your aesthetic?
The Amongst Friends aesthetic is one that I like to call contemporary street prep, we pull from many categories to create a look unique to AF. By mixing genres anywhere from streetwear to workwear to sportswear we are capable of developing products that appeal to a large audience. We are very proud of the ability to reach the 20-30 something smart, fashion conscious guy as well as his cool, single uncle.
What makes your brand unique?
What makes us unique is our ability to stay ahead of the creative curve while staying on trend. We constantly look to develop quality products that are creative, unique, yet do not lose the potential customer by being too contemporary, obscure or over-designed.
What is your inspiration?
My inspiration often comes from sourcing and finding pieces that were created long ago but can be translated into something that’s relevant now. My inspiration comes from other great designers and design. My inspiration is my friends and family. My inspiration is the constant pursuance of developing products that people will be excited to wear from season to season and year to year. My inspiration is stemmed from my deep desire to succeed.
What is the relationship like between the Amongst Friends team?
The relationship between team AF is interesting to say the least, since most of us do not even work in the same office. With that said we make the best of when we are together and I would compare our relationship to that of a very functional alcoholic.
How does it feel seeing respected musicians reppin’ your gear?
It feels amazing! Especially when you didn’t give it to the artist directly, meaning either they bought it or their stylist bought it for them. It makes me super stoked whenever I see anyone wearing our clothing let alone respected musicians.
How does your business relationship affect your personal relationship? Does it help or hinder?
I think what you are asking is: does my business affect my personal life and I would say, most definitely. Anyone running a small business in any industry would be lying to you if they said otherwise. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it hinders. Amongst Friends is my baby so I care deeply for it and want to see it be successful, with that comes stress but also gratification.
What is the Amongst Friends work ethos?
Think positive. Conduct our business with respect and professionalism. Develop smart pieces that we would actually want to wear. Value our customers. Be thankful and humble for what we have. Look at every situation from every angle before making a decision.
Any upcoming endeavors/collaborations to speak of?
Fall ’10 will mark our first endeavor into footwear with the release of our highly anticipated “Field Boot” followed up by 4 new styles of footwear for Spring ’11. We also have some other cakes in the oven that aren’t finished baking, we’ll be sure to let you know when they are ready to eat!
Head over to amongstfriendsnyc.com for their latest lookbook.