Inspirational, Sovereign and Unique are just (just in case meaning) a few words that come to mind when I think of this young woman. Meet 22 year old Azara Amien also known as Zara – A young, beautiful and independent Capetonian fashion designer from Grassy Park.
I first met Azara for a lunch date at Cavendish Mall in Claremont. When I called to ask how to recognize her, she said I must look for black and white shoes at the restaurant called Simply Asia. In my haste on that day I forgot my glasses. So as I squinted towards Simply Asia, I spotted a pair of black and white brogues at the front counter of the restaurant. Her look was very androgynous and monochromatic. She wore a structured black cocoon dress that was transparent on the upper chest and shoulders and a separate white collared t-shirt inside, paired with black leggings and a black fedora hat. Her ensemble was quiet eye catching and my first impression of her was literally like “Woah.” Amiens style is bold when compared to her shy personality and soft voice.
Every day with her starts with a hot cup of strong coffee and thereafter it’s an endless mission around town between studios and campus. Amien is studying towards a BTech degree in fashion design at The Cape Peninsula University of Technology, also known as CPUT. She is also currently employed as the head designer at a store situated in Long Street, called Boaston Society. Amien’s designs and fashion sense is inspired by all things around her. Her go-to place is the streets, as she likes to put it. “I love (fall in love synonym) the culture, the people, the buildings, interesting spaces, unique personalities and most of all I love that everything and everyone has their own style. In my opinion the side walk is now the new catwalk” – says Amien.
“I think Azara has got an incredible energy. She definitely has a sense of what is happening on the street, her style and way of designing definitely reflects that” – says Walter her CPUT Lecturer.
Amien also lives by the saying that the customer is always right! She believes that doing proper market research and finding out exactly what the customer likes and dislikes assists her in creating pieces that are best suited for her target market. Her love for street style is her niche market. She aspires to push local markets towards more fashion forward items. Amien describes her fashion sense and style as a subtle mix of urban street style and high fashion. “I gain so much pleasure seeing the two merge into something new” – says Amien.
Amien’s proudest moment was when her very first range came to life on the catwalk at the end of November 2014. She was also given the opportunity to have her range showcased at the Wear SA campaign – that encourages every South African to support local buying. It was showcased at the opening of the Jazz Festival earlier this year. Another huge achievement for Amien was when international model Nykhor Paul wore one of her designs at the campaign. Since then she has been employed as the head designer for Boaston Society. Most recently Amien was chosen as one of the top four students to participate in the Nedbank Football Fan Fashion competition. She worked hand in hand with two of SA’s top designers – Malcolm Kluk and Christiaan Gabriel du Toit, where they designed and created an outrageous super fan outfit. “Within the last two years of my career I have achieved so much, which I am so grateful for” says Amien.
When visiting Malcolm Kluk at his atelier, he couldn’t help but mention how impressed he was with Amiens fashion sense and work ethic. “When we saw the quality of the students, we were very happy that we got Azara. Our work aesthetic is very similar. It has been a great collaboration. We love Azara’s work ethic; she is committed to what she does” says Malcolm.
As young and proud feminists and fashionista’s, we should all be inspired to reflect on our own lives and aspirations in today’s generation. We all have dreams and hopes but the question is – do we actually follow through on them? For a 22 year old, Amien is a very career-orientated young woman in today’s modern society. She is currently juggling a full time (race against time phrase) degree and career. She is doing what she loves and she refuses to be defined as just another pretty face in the fashion industry. From a little girl, fashion was always her passion and for a woman to be able to make choices about her life, her art, and her career is a huge victory for feminism as she is an established, independent young woman pursuing her dreams. She is a modern superwoman in today’s world. Amien admits that she has faced failure and obstacles many times but she has always persevered and learnt from those lessons in life. “I decided to stay true to me and what I feel passionate about. After five long, difficult and stressful, but most of all experiential years of studying fashion design my love and passion has grown with the person I am today” – She says.
Her future goal is to one day own her own studio space with her own brand that will cater for high fashion street wear and in the long term she would like to dabble in e-commerce and global expansion for her brand. She is definitely setting the standard and trends for young designers and fashionista’s in and around Cape Town, so be sure to check out her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AzaraAmienZA and for a glimpse into her life visit (idioms dictionary) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3DIkiXiang