Tucson streetwear designer’s passion for fashion and philanthropy sparked clothing line for a good cause

Founder of American Monarchy Austin Shake.

UA senior and business major Austin Shake is the founder of American Monarchy, an up-and-coming and rapidly growing streetwear brand for a good cause. While American Monarchy is on a mission to expand across the nation, for Shake, it’s not just about the money.

While he has always enjoyed clothing, his upbringing was the real inspiration for his clothing brand. Having experienced being on food stamps when he was younger, Shake understands just how important it is to give back to those in need.

When creating this line of streetwear, Shake knew he wanted to do something that would benefit the community. With this in mind, Shake decided that 10 percent of every purchase will be donated to the Salvation Army, a place that he used to get assistance from as a child.

One of the many aspects that makes American Monarchy unique is that the company is fully operated by college students. Venturing into the world of fashion with just a dream and a vision is difficult, but Shake and the American Monarchy crew proves that the seemingly impossible can be conquered.

Amanda Morton, junior and Ariella Najmabadi, junior, are among the first to model for the clothing brand.

“It’s a big blessing I’ve got to tell you,” said Shake. “We truly have best people to do our jobs.”

As of now, American Monarchy is an ecommerce store, but they have been able to sell their merchandise by hosting trunk shows at different sororities on various college campuses on the West Coast, such as ASU, UA, and USC. Shake even managed to get his merchandise into the UA bookstore for the 2018 fall semester, generating about $26,000 in total sales.

Like most ecommerce brands in today’s fashion society, social media platforms have been vital in marketing for American Monarchy. Shake utilized Greek life connections and popular UA Instagram influencers to post photos wearing his merchandise and to model the clothing. Among the first two influencers to model the clothing were Amanda Morton, UA junior, and Ariella Najmabadi, UA junior.

“We thought the vibe of American Monarchy was really cool and the story behind it was also inspiring, so when Austin reached out to us we wanted to help in any way that we could,” said Najmabadi. “We’re really proud of his success.”

American Monarchy merchandise.

Mary Beth Morton, fashion expert and buyer for Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas said, “Streetwear and athleisure have gained popularity because of brands such as Yeezy [Kanye West’s brand] and Off-White, so developing a brand of streetwear that is a similar style to these while utilizing the same marketing techniques is probably why his brand has been a success.”

Looking into the future, Shake hopes to keep expanding and gaining popularity, especially in the Los Angeles area. In addition to continuing to get recognized, Shake is excited to build his product list and add more merchandise to his repertoire.

Zoe Wesley is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News, a service from the School of Journalism with the University of Arizona. Contact her at zoewesley@email.arizona.edu.

Click here for high-resolution photos and a Word version of the story.

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