Aaizel: /i-zel /ln. 1. demi-couture 2. eloquent grunge 3. beau & belle 4. ardour; aaizel
These are the words that describe Melbourne label Aaizel.
Designed and hand crafted in Melbourne, Aaizel is the creation of RMIT fashion graduates, Minnie Jo and Seema Ratna. Inspired by a mythical character imagined by Minnie, each collection reflects the ongoing journey of Aaizel the mermaid.
The current collection, Mimicry Complex features grungy leathers and hard wear, mixed with delicate laces and ornate beaded embellishments to reflect Aaizel’s story of strength and vulnerability, darkness and light. A perfect mix of masculine and feminine pieces, which feel luxurious and unique.
You can find my interview with creative director Minnie Jo below. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how Aaizel came about?
Aaizel is a Melbourne based label specialising in intrinsic and eclectic pieces that are all hand crafted in Melbourne. My beautiful soulmate/business partner approached me with an idea a couple of years ago that we work together. She knew I’ve always wanted to have a label and thought we’d make a great team if I focused on what I love doing- designing & creating and she focused on what she loves doing- marketing & communications.
Aaizel is my imaginary friend/mythical character/our girl that I design for. We wanted to incorporate art into the label (this is my other passion) so I create artwork for each collection according to the world of Aaizel. Each collection mirrors a story featured on our website. www.aaizel.com
What inspires your design and creative decisions?
The concept of juxtaposing femininity and masculinity in harmony. I love working with delicate and beautiful embellishments and mixing them up with hardware features. The concept of ying and yang comes naturally when I design and create. I’m also always thinking about our girl Aaizel, what she would wear, where she is going, what she is doing. Because she’s in my head all the time giving me ideas, I’m always being inspired and creating.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is a bit moody…I’m a bit of a chameleon. Someone once described my style as fantasy grunge? I love black. I’m a bit of a maximalist. I believe in maximalism, it works when done right! Lots of layering and accessorising. There’s never too much when you’re working with the right pieces.
What are 5 essentials in your wardrobe?
Black leather jacket, my favourite worn out Ellery tee, maxi lace dress, Aaizel ‘Opihi’ choker and black ankle boots.
Who are some of the people that inspire you and why?
My amazing, loving and extremely supportive parents. I think I take after my mother’s creative side and my father’s businessman’s passion. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been shown wonderful things from a young age by my mother since she’s always been into art, fashion and travelling. She has really pushed me to pursue my dream and has taught me a lot of things, from drawing techniques to sewing. I’m still learning and have a long way to go to catch up to her level of making things and her knowledge of art and fashion. I am also inspired by my father who works incredibly hard and has done so ever since I can remember. His ability to grow something so big from pretty much nothing and constantly come up with such great ideas and plans keep me inspired to work harder and make smart decisions.
If you could design a garment for anyone in the world, who would it be?
Daphne Guinness, because she’s an incredible breathing work of art!
What are the top 3 resources that you turn to for inspiration?
1. Feelings I have
2. Fabric appointments
3. Atmosphere and surroundings…
What is the best place to shop in Melbourne?
I’m a massive online shopper… but if I were to choose the best drool-worthy shops in Melbourne, they would be Marais and Assin! Hands down.
What is next for the label? Where do you see the brand going in the future?
Would love to see Aaizel spread her wings & go international eventually. I’d love to stock Aaizel in some of the big guys like Bergdorf’s & Galleries Lafayette one day. Collaborate with other artists/companies in other fields like makeup, hair, graphics, interior design and create different types of magic to keep my creative juices flowing.
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to start his or her own business in fashion?
Oh heaps! Learn and gain as much experience as you can. Spend at least a few years working in the industry and really absorb & understand what goes on and how things are played out. Know exactly what you want. Know your customer. Design for your customer, not yourself. Surround yourself with good people who love and support you. Always meet people and network. Be confident, believe in yourself and love yourself. Don’t sleep.