I first met Azin Valy, the entreprenurial designer behind Cityzen by Azin, in New York several years ago and the passion for what she does instantly shone through.
As a keen traveller I also fell in love with her designs, which showcase city maps in a glamorous way.
From scarves to dresses, Azin – who also runs an architecture business (I don’t think she ever sleeps!) – crafts aerial shots of cities from around the world into beautiful objects.
I’ve worn several of her pieces, including the Tehran dress and Los Angeles gown, and each time I’ve felt a million dollars in the colourful silk creations.
On a recent trip back to the Big Apple, I grilled Azin on the creative vision behind her brand…
Where are you from and how long have you been based in New York?
A – I was born in Iran but moved to the U.S. before the 1978 revolution. I have been living in New York for the last 30 years! I guess that gives away my age!
What inspired you to start your brand?
A – A number of things inspired me to start Citizen by Azin: 1 – The love for topography, 2 – My love for travel and other cultures, 3 – My childhood passion for fashion (I ended up becoming an architect instead) 4- My belief in the arts can bridge differences and showing the world from above brings our commonalities into focus!
Sum up the Cityzen by Azin brand in three words.
A – Fashion Without Borders.
When did you start it?
A – About 4 years ago.
What cities do you have in the collection and are there others we can expect?
A – I have over 40 cities and I produce about 10 to 15 cities a year based on custom orders, or world events, where my staff is from and places I am traveling to or would like to go to.
How has the brand evolved?
A – The brand has evolved being primarily an accessories brand to making custom pieces.
We recently collaborated with a Swiss-Afghan designer, Zarif Design, who supports over 50 women artisans in Kabul making exquisite coats that incorporate the landscapes as lining where the roads are embroidered.
What is your favourite piece and what is most popular with buyers?
A – My favorite two cities are New York and Tehran as they are the places closest to my heart and soul.
In my dress collection, the mountains north of Tehran form a voluminous neckline that enwraps the wearer, and the Hudson river in the New York design is cut out to shape the asymmetric neckline of the NY dress with George Washington bridge connecting the two sides of the dress together. They are also some of my best selling items as my audience is located in both cities.
I also had an upsurge in the Mashhad Scarf which was worn on stage at The Oscars this past year by Anousheh Ansari, the multimillionaire business guru and astronaut who delivered a message of peace on behalf of the film director, Asghar Farhadi.
What is the message you want to communicate with consumers through your brand?
A – That Cityzen by Azin is not disposable fashion. It is a brand that is unique with a bold message of beauty and global unity and that it connects the heart and soul of people with a place they love most.
What’s the last thing that made you stop and stare?
A – I am not sure if I stop and stare but I am always acutely aware of all beautiful things and people. In NY there is so much eye candy and I am always looking for my next muse wherever I am.
To see the full Cityzen by Azin collection and to place orders visit www.cityzenbyazin.com