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Jul 4, 2022
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IFM and Ami present their first entrepreneurship award

Translated by
Jul 4, 2022

On June 29, Alexandre Mattiussi and Nicolas Santi-Weil, founder and CEO of Ami, respectively, together with Xavier Romatet, general manager of the Institut Français de la Mode, presented the first entrepreneurship prize at the French fashion school.

The winners of the prize surrounded by the jury - FNW

From among 10 finalists, the AmiXIFM prize crowned two young entrepreneurs for their innovative work on leather: Guillaume Hiriart Carriat, founder of the brand Atxi who uses the know-how of his family-owned workshop based in Espelette, and Leopolda Contaux-Bellina, founder of Sed Nove Studio, a young company certified by the Métiers d'art that develops innovations on leather.

"We met at the incubator and we naturally shared our outlook and approach around our businesses," the duo explained to FashionNetwork.com. "And when there was an opportunity to submit a project we logically worked together." The winners combined material expertise, using dormant leather stocks from Carriat's family workshop with an innovative process designed by Sed Nove for assembling laser-cut leather pieces without wires or rivets. 

This fundamentally high-end approach, using Atxi's signature zigzag pattern, has been applied to five objects of various shapes and sizes, from a shaker to a chair, posing a challenge to the project's creators to find technical solutions for using buffalo leather.

Ultimately, the concept combining innovation and traditional know-how, and extending far beyond fashion, seduced the jury members who were keen to explore opportunities outside of fashion.

The goal of this prize was to highlight the projects of students and young entrepreneurs incubated at IFM. Of the approximately 20 candidates, 10 were chosen to present their work to a jury composed of prominent figures from the world of creation, art, music, and cinema. The panel of judges included Nicolas Santi-Weil and Alexandre Mattiussi, as well as Sarah Andelman, founder of the Just An Idea agency, writer Leila Slimani, Ubisoft director Déborah Papiernik, composer Max Sokolinski, author Irma Pany, Pierre-Alexandre M'Pelé, head of editorial content at GQ France, Elisha Karmitz, CEO of the MK2 group, and Delphine Plisson, of the Maison Plisson grocery store. All of these individuals brought their own unique approach to a fashion award.

"We didn't want to create just another award," explained Romatet. "The fact that we have such a wide range of people bringing their perspectives and being able to mentor the winners over the next 12 months is an invigorating experience and I think we will do it again. Accompanying entrepreneurs in fashion is also at the heart of IFM's mission. There are students and entrepreneurs who have ideas to reinvent the industry. Looking at these presentations, regardless of the winner, I'm very proud of the projects and of highlighting a young generation with new ideas and concepts".

The jury also awarded a special prize to the young company Studio Paillette, which has been operating for two months in La Caserne in the 10th arrondissement of Paris. Studio Paillette, founded by Léa Germano who worked on the presentation of the project with five students, is a rental service for high-end fashion pieces that collaborates with fashion houses to allow them to rent out pieces that have not yet been sold.

"With IFM, we are committed to involving young professionals and encouraging them to initiate a decision-making process by making them aware of the opportunities they can generate as entrepreneurs," said Santi-Weil.

It was clearly the search for new innovative ideas rather than just fashion that distinguished the candidates' presentations in this first AmiXIFM competition. At a time when the industry's accelerated transformation is necessary, highlighting new ideas is essential. And why not make expand the project for future editions and help boost the best ideas' success by allocating a financial endowment to the first round of mentoring.

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