In an exclusive interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with Azim Rashid, the visionary founder of Alum Apparel. With a remarkable background in executive strategy and marketing within the entertainment industry, Rashid brings a unique perspective to the world of fashion.
Alum Apparel is not just your average clothing brand. It is a fashion-forward tribute brand that pays homage to Rashid’s alma mater through stylish and meaningful statements. The brand was conceived from his deep-rooted desire to express gratitude, respect, and admiration for his educational institution in a fashionable way.
Rashid’s two decades of leadership experience in the entertainment industry have equipped him with an acute understanding of branding and storytelling. With Alum Apparel, he has successfully merged his passion for fashion with his expertise in marketing to create a truly exceptional brand.
Through carefully crafted designs and thoughtful messages, Alum Apparel enables individuals to proudly showcase their connection to their alma mater. Whether it’s through bold logos or subtle symbols, each piece tells a story that resonates with alumni and fans alike.
During our conversation with Rashid, we delved into his inspiration behind Alum Apparel and how he envisions the brand evolving in the future. His dedication to creating unique pieces that evoke emotion and foster connection was evident throughout our discussion.
As we explored the story behind Alum Apparel, it became clear that this brand is more than just clothing; it’s an expression of gratitude towards educational institutions that have shaped countless lives. Through fashion-forward designs, Rashid has created a platform for individuals to proudly display their appreciation for their alma mater.
Stay tuned as we delve deeper into our interview with Azim Rashid and uncover more about his journey as an executive strategist turned founder of Alum Apparel - a true testament to innovation at the intersection of fashion and nostalgia.
What inspired you to start Alum Apparel and how does it align with your passion for the entertainment industry?
Azim: Originally the idea was to support my college alumni association, the University of North Texas, but as I was inundated with red tape in trying to associate my brand with the school I had an epiphany -“No matter where you are from, you’re Alum!” which spoke to me in a very personal way. I have lived in several world class cities and each of them is special and were integral to my development as a music executive. The passion that has fueled my career was seamlessly transferred into Alum and it feels like a natural alignment from a branding perspective.
How have your experiences working with chart-topping artists and industry leaders influenced your approach to marketing and branding?
Azim: It has been the wind in my sails! For two decades with the biggest brands in the world, I couldn’t dream of a better training ground and that time molded my personal and business philosophy. Learning how to take an idea and bring it to life, navigating all the obstacles, staying on message and wearing blinders are all products of my tenure. Also realizing that everyone won’t get it in the beginning, I’ve learned to stack small wins until they become monumental successes using passion, purpose and vision as my fuel.
As the CEO/Founder of Alum Apparel, how do you balance the creative aspects of fashion design with the strategic elements of running a business?
Azim: Truthfully, I would not consider myself terribly creative in regards to fashion, however I do have a sense of style and my “advisors” keep me on point. On the business side, I am an idea and process person who understands alignment and the power of collaboration. Alum was intentened with simplicity and comfort as core elements in its design. Using that approach I am able to focus on strategy and amplification because the product speaks for itself.
Tell us about a time when you faced a significant challenge in your role as Chief Strategist at The Alchemy Group and how you overcame it.
Azim: I can’t share specifics but I will share the obvious, building a new business is hard work! A consistent challenge and theme so far, is being considered an “expert” by Malcolm Gladwell’s standards (see my favorite book “Outliers”) and dealing with clients who are paying for your advice that will proceed to disregard it at every turn! I truly can’t fathom why people pay for advice they don’t take. Then again it happens to doctors and lawyers everyday so why should entertainment be different. My personal prescription is giving people power to make informed decisions and then letting go. It’s the only way I can sleep at night!
What else would you like our readers to know about you at this time?
Azim: The only thing constant in life is change and in what is now my third act, I am proud to still be evolving. I am blessed for the career that I have had but I am even close to being done. In the words of Coach Prime… “I’M COMING!” and the best is yet to come!
More on Azim Rashid:
Founder of Alum Apparel, is a distinguished executive strategist and marketing specialist with over two decades of leadership experience in the entertainment industry. The Alum Apparel brand was born from a desire to pay tribute to his alma mater through fashionable statements of gratitude, respect and admiration. Rashid’s career has been marked by collaborations with chart-topping artists, industry leaders, and cultural icons at global brands like Motown, Universal, Atlantic, Capitol, Roc Nation, and Columbia Records. In addition to his role as CEO/Founder of Alum Apparel, Rashid serves as the Chief Strategist at The Alchemy Group and is the Founder of Behind and Beyond the Mic, a philanthropic foundation that mentors and coaches up-and-coming entertainment executives.
Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, the long-time Texas resident’s journey in entertainment began with the Profile Records Rap group NEMESIS, which he co-founded in Dallas. Following his music career, Rashid transitioned into commercial radio, retail, and lifestyle promotion before making a significant impact in the music and entertainment marketing industry. His work in brand strategy for key clients such as Mary J. Blige, Sam Smith, NE-YO, Katy Perry, MIGOS, Sean “Diddy” Combs, T.I., Jaden Smith, Russ, The Roots, Erykah Badu, Raphael Saadiq, The Carters (Jay-Z and Beyonce), Lil Nas X, Lil TJay, Polo G, John Legend, Tyler The Creator, Chloe x Halle, Adele, and other legendary artists and influencers has solidified his reputation.
Rashid is also a distinguished alumnus of the University of North Texas. His commitment to philanthropy and community service is evident through his active involvement with organizations such as 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Mark Cuban Heroes Basketball Center, Living Legends Foundation National Museum of African American Music, The Recording Academy (Grammys), and the UNT Alumni Association.
“The UNT Alumni Association is thrilled to partner with Alum Apparel! We are so proud of fellow Alumnus, Azim Rashid, and his ability to provide high-quality apparel to our UNT Black Alumni Network! We look forward to seeing the BAN brand reach far and wide through this partnership!” said Daniel Suda, Sr. Director of Outreach & Engagement at UNT Alumni Association.
“Congratulations Alum Apparel on your licensing agreement with UNT-BAN! What a tremendous accomplishment, a HUGE milestone and a WIN-WIN for you and UNT!!! I knew from the minute I received and tried on my first sample piece that this would be a match made in heaven. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the magic!” added Angie Jones, UNT-BAN President (2021 -2023).
The exclusive UNT-BAN collection is now available for purchase at alumapparel.com. Alum Apparel, UNT, and BAN invite students, alumni, and supporters to be a part of this exciting fusion of fashion and philanthropy. Make a statement and support a worthy cause with Alum Apparel and UNT-BAN.
For more information about the brand’s story and view more products, please visit alumapparel.com. Join the conversation on social media by following Alum Apparel at @alumapparel
Photo Credit: On The Level Photography