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Mentorship in fashion: Houman Salem’s commitment to the new generation with LA fashion startups

An accomplished entrepreneur with years of experience in the fashion manufacturing industry, Salem has experienced both successes and failures, which have all shaped his understanding of the sector.

Photo courtesy Houman Salem
Photo courtesy Houman Salem

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The fashion world’s relentless pace makes it a challenging sphere for newcomers to penetrate. Trends change in the blink of an eye, consumer demands are unpredictable, and competition is fierce. The stakes get even higher if the interested novice has decided to venture into fashion as an escape from their former career in an unrelated sector, wishing to release their innate creativity.

In such a dynamic environment, mentorship is a critical tool for both survival and success. A guiding hand can provide direction and purpose and help budding fashion entrepreneurs decode the industry’s intricacies and avoid common pitfalls.

Houman Salem, the mastermind behind the ARGYLE Haus of Apparel, considers mentorship as a bridge. “It’s a solid and reliable structure that connects ambitious entrepreneurs with the realities of the fashion world. It’s a path that nurtures growth and learning while ultimately leading to the fulfillment of people’s fashion dreams, even if those dreams are newfound.”

An accomplished entrepreneur with years of experience in the fashion manufacturing industry, Salem has experienced both successes and failures, which have all shaped his understanding of the sector.

From owning an intimate apparel store to diving headfirst into manufacturing as a contribution to the once-declining local manufacturing industry, Salem has not just weathered all the storms but has become one of the most trusted sources of support for those looking to join the industry.

“ARGYLE Haus was born both out of necessity and a desire to bring something new to the table. Back when I was managing my store, I had to buy and sell other suppliers’ products, which caused the store to become unprofitable, which is why I decided to assemble the initial ARGYLE team so we could create our own collection,” he shares.

Salem explains that the next obstacle—and a significant one—presented itself in the form of finding a suitable manufacturing partner. After witnessing high levels of mismanagement in other factories, he decided to establish the ARGYLE Haus factory as a way to uplift the industry, as well as the local economy.

Having successfully maneuvered through all the setbacks thrown at him, Salem became increasingly appreciative and aware of how crucial a mentor is in a young entrepreneur’s journey. He believes that mentorship is essential in steering talents toward success. Coupled with the post-pandemic market slowdown, he also became aware of the changing dynamic regarding work culture and environment, noticing a growing number of individuals seeking greater professional freedom.

Inspired to nurture further potential talent, Salem established a brand-new division – LA Fashion Startups. Since its inception in 2014, ARGYLE Haus helped launch hundreds of clothing brands while collaborating with existing designers and national brands. However, the role of LA Fashion Startups was different.

“It’s designed for entrants looking to move away from the conventional 9-5 schedule and dive into something completely different. I figured: if you don’t want to go back to your regular job, why not launch your own fashion line?” Salem reveals. “We provide education, coaching, and mentoring as part of the package and share all the necessary knowledge while getting your line up and running within four months.”

This comprehensive service indeed takes care of everything, from technical design, apparel development, clothing manufacturing, and website launch to photoshoots and packaging. And the implications of such an endeavor are vast. This can only be achieved as they are a fully vertically integrated company combining its internal factory capabilities with its digital resources.

Given its overarching services, brands are market-ready within record time, which allows them to swiftly capitalize on market trends. The mentorship platform ensures a support system for these emerging designers. So they have a place where they can receive help on navigating through post-launch challenges. It comforts those on the fence to take a leap of faith from a conventional 9-5 and venture into the fashion industry with confidence.

And the best part? Aside from consulting and manufacturing, LA Fashion Startups also offers invaluable digital marketing services, helping novices build a strong online presence.

Looking ahead, Salem hopes that the platform will continue to be a catalyst for change in the fashion industry. He envisions a future where individuals harness their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit and want to pay it forward and inspire generations of future fashion leaders. 

As he says, “The journey is filled with endless learning and creativity. Our mission is to keep this essence alive in every new designer we assist.”

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Written By

Jon Stojan is a professional writer based in Wisconsin. He guides editorial teams consisting of writers across the US to help them become more skilled and diverse writers. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

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