Friday, March 1, 2013
Azeez Alli is not a forgettable fellow. While a nearly shy smile greets you, his sartorial choices are bold. And it is perhaps this combination that strikes a chord both utterly appealing and unpredictable — but to which people are drawn. With a penchant for bow ties (of the funky variety) and an eye for accessorizing (of the artistic variety), Alli creates a style that is all his own. It’s a look that’s hard to describe but better understood when he names inspirations like Yves Saint Laurent, James Dean and Pharell Williams in one accord.
On the day he posed for our cameras he was decked nearly head to toe in Maven Menswear with denim on denim and a leather holster along with a necklace of his own creation. Alli, you see, is a jewelry designer for Stuller. With a background in industrial design, Alli brings a kind of utilitarian approach to dressing that manages to cross the barrier into art.
“I am a functional dresser. It has a purpose,” he explains. “I take a lot of care with details — accessories, cuffing a shirt.”
And while Alli is still not big on wearing jewelry, he does like certain pieces and appreciates DIY and craftsmanship. He uses a lot of basics in his wardrobe and says the inventory of his closet makes it easy to pull something together each day with minimal time.
“I can mix and match, throw clothes on after I roll out of bed because when I buy clothes I’m conscious of what I have. Ninety percent of what I have in my closet works together.”
A practical artist. A rare bird, indeed.
Most memorable fashion moment?
Learning to tie a bow tie. A friend and I spent hours in front of YouTube trying to figure it out until someone came and showed us. It was literally as easy as tying a shoe! I was never great at tying shoes though, but I think I have the bow tie thing down.
Describe your approach to style: Who or what inspires your fashion choices?
People, culture and travel really inspire me. I couldn’t say there was a particular person. I’m really influenced by historical style/culture periods as well as modern design cultures around the world.
Rei Kawakubo, Yves Saint Laurent, James Dean, Pharell Williams, those are a few that come to mind.
Do you have a signature color or piece of clothing?
Probably be my large tortoise shell frames (glasses).
Any fashion addictions?
Cardigans and bow ties.
Predictions about what you’ll be living in this spring?
I honestly have no idea.
Anything you absolutely would not wear?
Women’s lingerie, yeah that’s definitely a no go.
If not you then who would you be?
Bugs Bunny, he seems to have it all together.
Natural talent that you would love to have?
Do you have a secret talent?
If I do it’s still a secret to me.
Your idea of happiness…
That’s a tough question. It seems to be as elusive as it is blatant, but if I were to take a stab at it, my idea of happiness would be freedom. Uninhabited freedom, the ability to dream and explore without the judgment and constraints of our modern society. Living out self-expression in its purest form and being able to share moments with people you love and care about.