Interview: Naza Yousefi, founder of Yuzefi

Designer Naza Yousefi was born in Iran during a war surrounded by conflict and as a result, she was consistently inspired to get the best out of every situation. Of course, Yousefi’s resourcefulness found a home in fashion and the Yuzefi brand was born. “So many things we used weren’t exactly the right material or fit the purpose, so we would improvise a lot with what we had and it really taught me to research my media and push the material to new limits,” Yousefi said Hypebae.

The brand recently unveiled its Spring / Summer 2023 collection at London Fashion Week, inspired by the reawakening of London after the corona virus pandemic and acting as a celebration of the city’s hectic energy. We met Yousefi to discuss the impact of her upbringing on the brand and how Yuzefi keeps the focus on timelessness over trends.

Continue reading for more from our interview with Yuzefi founder Naza Yousefi.

Tell us a bit about how you got into the industry.
I grew up watching my mom do things for me and fell in love with the creative process. I started making things out of any piece of fabric I could find, so when I decided to study fashion in college it wasn’t that much of a surprise. I love researching materials and construction, and my tailor-made training has helped me develop design language during and after school. Through some stylistic collaborations, I came to work and fell in love with leather and its endless possibilities as a medium, and thought about creating a brand universe around it.

How has your upbringing in Iran affected your work?
I grew up in war and scarcity, but my mother made sure I never felt something was missing and that my childhood was happy and joyful. We couldn’t buy much that was readily available so instead she showed me her love of beautiful things by making them, from clothes to the most intricate birthday cakes and dollhouses from old paper. So many things we used weren’t exactly the right material or fit for purpose, so we would improvise a lot with what we had and it really taught me to research my media and push the material to new limits.

How would you describe your creative process?
I have no established process. It can be anything, from daydreaming to seeing someone on the street that evokes an idea or mood that can become a small or large part of the collection. I also like to work directly with materials and study them to see what they want to do. It’s easier to show this in bags because they’re object-like and very sculptural, but RTW needs to be more wearable and practical. For this season, I studied durable cupro fabric to create a twisted unusual drape that brings beautiful imperfection to softer pieces of biased cut and reflects some details of the bag.

Founder of the Yuzefi brand Iran Naza Yousefi dresses T-shirts Skirts Pants Blazers

Creating timeless pieces is something Yuzefi does so well at, how do you avoid getting into creating just for trends?
Trends cannot be completely avoided because the collection still needs to be relevant to how people want to dress at the time, but it is very important to do so in the way of brand and DNA. The key is to perfect the design language that goes with time, but looks beyond one season.

In a world so easily driven by instant gratification, how do you focus on the long game?
I’ve put so much of myself into every product and collection and I couldn’t motivate myself to do it over and over every season that I don’t believe in what’s on offer there. It would be so much of a loss to invest so much in creating something transient and in a way unique and soulless. There is a sense of treasure in the Yuzefi archive that I really like to return to from time to time to pull the bang out of the past, and I want that sense of discovery to be felt when people discover and buy a brand.

What would you say affects you?
I am an introverted person inspired by people. I like to observe, study, analyze what people do and wear and dream about their different lives and different desires.

What can you tell us about this collection?
This collection is inspired and dedicated to London, which is coming back to life. It is a love letter to the relaxed and eclectic way of life in a city that was home to a brand written in Yuzefi’s design language. The velvety cupros, faded crepes and knitwear from the curl and smocked knits are reminiscent of the fabric and texture of London. The collection can be styled and worn in many different ways and take on different personalities and go from the beach to a night out.

Bags are a key part of the Yuzefi brand, how have they transformed for this season?
Several of the brand’s past hits have been re-introduced as our cult classics, but there is also a strong presence of a new brand symbol in three new shapes, made of metal and in the shape of a moon bag handle and imprinted in leather for Coco and Charlie bags. Many new textures have been added to the collection this season, as well as our usual sustainable smooth skin.

Yuzefi has successfully introduced RTW to its existing line of accessories, what’s next for the brand?
There is a lot more we want to add to RTW in the coming seasons, so the collection will continue to grow and the fabrics will expand. Launching a new category involves a lot of planning and I think we’ll have our hands full with that by the end of this year, but we’re very quickly dipping our fingers into a very unexpected world, and a big discovery is coming in November. That’s what I can share about it at this stage…

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