KCFW Designer Interview: Zuri Perle

Q: How do you feel about doing a runway show with a live in-person audience vs. a runway show with a virtual audience?

A: I miss the backstage buzz just before the show starts but I'm excited that I'm able to watch the show as a spectator tonight. I'll definitely miss walking out after the models. Feels great to see people's reactions to your designs in person.

Q: Do you think having access to watch the shows virtually from ANYWHERE will open up opportunities for designers and models that wouldn't have been there with only the local show?

A: I think it can for sure, we just have to be open to trying new things and experimenting with the best ways to reach people.

Q: Congrats on your NYFW show! How does the “vibe” of NYFW compare to KCFW?

A:  Thank you! KCFW was my first ever runway show and you never forget your first, so the platform definitely has a special place in my heart. My NYFW was great, the team did a great job of putting things together and I got to meet a pool of amazing designers. NYFW definitely has a different vibe, they had participants from all over the world. It was very interesting to see that represented in the show.

Q: What is Zuri Perle's personal brand?

A: Our brand is definitely rooted in my African aesthetic and culture. One of our goals is to kick against the stereotype of how African accessories are widely portrayed.  I feel like the African aesthetic has been put in a box and we are out here trying to break that mold.

Q: How important is a personal brand for a jewelry designer and their label?

A: I think its important to know what your drive & ultimate goals are as a designer and that definitely ties into what your personal brand will be. As a jewelry designer, I always ensure that my designs speak for me even when I'm not in the room to tell my story.

Q: Can you share a little bit of your creative process for  Zuri Perle? For example, do you start with mood boards and sketches, or go straight to materials?

A: I design and create using different mediums- metalsmithing, 3dprinting, leatherwork ....Materials are also super important. For this collection, I chose to use a lot of natural materials like wood, leather, cotton. Pinterest and the second-hand book store are my best pals when it comes to research. I do sketch but most of my designs rarely end up like the initial sketch. it always starts with an emotion or a feeling that I'm trying to resolve. My husband says its usually when I get mad about something. 

Q: Does technology play a role in your process and/or materials? Do you consider fashion and technology to be interdependent? 

A: I use 3d design software (matrix and rhino) in my design process. I find that it helps to visualize my ideas in a 3d space. I can adjust and tweak things before making them. Some of the items in this collection are also 3dprinted, like out colorful #ibojuearrings. You'll definitely be seeing a few 3d printed items on the runway tonight.

Q: What role does social media play in promoting and growing the Zuri Perle brand? Do you have a favorite platform?

A: I wouldn't be here today without social media. As an immigrant, I moved to the U.S with no network to fall back on when I started my business Facebook and IG were the platforms that helped build my business to what it is right now.

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