Interview with Shana from Azooi

One of the many reasons why I love working in the fashion industry is getting to know other creatives. I was introduced to the up-and-coming accessories brand, Azooi, by a friend and was lucky enough to take one of their clutches to the WA Fashion Awards in March. 

Azooi's pieces are stunning, and even more so in person. Intricate and unique, I have never seen anything like them before. Already making their mark on the fashion world, they have been featured in top Malaysian magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, Glam and The Edge. Here is my interview with the designer and founder Shana.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up wanting to be a writer. I was a nerdy rebel without a cause. In university while I was studying Economics and Philosophy [at UCL in London], I fell in love with art.

Living in London and being able to travel around Europe incited some heightened appreciation for all that was beautiful. I liked how all function was perfectly complemented with form. For then on, I hoped that no matter what I ended up doing, I would be an artist.

How did you get into accessories?

While I was modelling, I started painting bags. I enjoyed the end result far more than if I just painted it on canvas. It then turned into a little business because I never felt like keeping my work, so I begun to sell them. Since then I have fallen in love with making accessories.

What is the process of making one of your clutches?

For our painted, shell and wood pieces, we first create moulds to form the base of our clutches, which are made with PVC or Fibreglass. They have different weights and the materials we use depend on the types of embellishments.

Secondly, we begin the embellishment of the base, with shell, wood and resin or we paint them. All the embellishments are done by hand, by artisans. The paintings are done by a single artist with acrylic paint.

Thirdly, we apply a glass-like finish to our work, a thicker finish is applied to the painted clutches. As we are the only makers of painted clutches like these, it took us one year to achieve a stable, glass-like finish to secure our paintings. This finish requires a good period of sunshine to properly dry before it is buffed to a clear, glossy finish. Finally, our clutches are lined by hand and they have fabric hinges. 

The complete process takes 4-6 weeks.

What special features or materials do you use?

We use shell, wood, paint and even plastic to create our different art-themed pieces. 

In three words, describe Azooi. 

Individual, expressive, nuanced 

What’s on for the future?

We're building our base of skills and talents so we may venture into more genres of art and fashion products. We plan to always maintain making our pieces by hand. We never want to lose touch with the artists and artisans that put their time and effort into making something beautiful and unique for our wonderful customers.

Thank you so much Shana for taking the time to answer these questions. 

To see more of the Azooi range, click through to the website.

Lei xx