Having luckily discovered the artist and designer Zakee Shariff a little while ago during her collaboration with fashion website ASOS – I fell in love with her work. Vibrant art, cool designs – and always with a positive message.
With her cult following – Zakee’s clothing collections have sold globally and she has worked with many fashion brands including People Tree and Urban Outfitters.
She has had a versatile career so far having also worked as a stylist, in publishing, as an art director and interior design – amongst other avenues.
You started out with your own clothing label as well as doing your art work – How did you get into fashion design ?
I had never thought of starting a clothing label and a dear friend who is one of the owners of a mens and women’s clothing label called YMC You Must Create, convinced me to start my own label and very kindly introduced me to various contacts to enable me to make it happen. It all just kinda unfolded.
I always knew I wanted to work both as an artist and a designer. My training was in printed textiles but it was very much rooted in painting and drawing and abstracting from that into design. So it was a great way to explore that process, and learn about the business side too.
You’ve worked with textiles, fine art, illustration, styling, interior and product design.. and you’ve also been an art director – has this worked out as a natural progression ?
Definitely. One led to another and another and back again, like a creative dance.
Is there one particular field of design that you enjoy the most ?
There are very positive messages within your designs – is this something that is important to you ?
Yes it is, I hope my work can give people joy and maybe help them to think more about the world from a different perspective.
Your collaboration with People Tree is going really well – how did this originally come about ?
A lovely friend if mine Vickie Snow from Snow PR introduced me, as she thought we were a match, and we all just clicked. They are lovely to work with and very inspiring in the the way they are able to create everything they do ethically correct.
Safia the owner tends to sit with me and we go through old prints of mine and we brainstorm and I then recreate the prints and make some new ones and then her team and i work together to get them right. I don’t get involved in the garment shapes and styling….its purely a focused and joyous experience of drawing, making patterns and colouring them. And I create the prints and we work on colours together.
Having worked with ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Japanese store MAYZ, Roxy Heart.. to name just a few – what do you enjoy the most about collaborations ?
I have such a love of collaborating. I thrive when I work with another creative or a team of people and make a vision come alive. That is very fulfilling and inspiring to me.
Describe a perfect working day for you ?
What kind of music do you listen to ?
What are you working on at the moment and when will we get to see it ? :)
I’ve just created a few prints for a great new kids collection called Ruff and Huddle. www.ruffandhuddle.co.uk The collaboration is for AW13. I love making prints for kids.
I’m creating a new print for my lovely friend Nick who has a beautiful womenswear brand. Studio Nicholson. www.studionicholson.com. It’s a very chic minimal collection.
I’m working on two personal projects. One is product based and the other is a group of new fine art screen prints.
The rest is pending research that I am doing.
Thanks Zakee :) Full of talent – and what a lovely person ! If you’d like to see more of her work online – go to www.zakeeshariff.com, become a fan on Facebook for updates and/or follow her on Twitter !
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