Designer Faraz Zaidi builds product for the moment. Through desktop folders flooded with various reference fashion photographs, vintage fabrics, historical archives, books excerpts and his favorite song lyrics; Faraz eloquently captures the mood and social climate of the world he exists within, along with his internal monologue and places that very feeling into his art. For the past ten years, Faraz and Profound have created the kind of beautifully layered deeply referential clothing that’s beautifully intertwined within his South Asian Pakistani upbringing, along with his suburban New Jersey rural living. Faraz Zaidi takes us through the world of storytelling romanticism, culture and connection that he’s built with his brand and the importance of crafting purpose driven collections.
When did your interest in fashion begin?
I was always interested in fashion and product as a channel of communication. I paid close attention to how simple graphic messaging on a tee could speak to people and become a catalyst to a conversation or a means to form a connection. The world of fashion and clothing as a form of expression was fascinating to me. The more I realized that everything people wear was designed and produced by an individual just like me and the possibility of making clothes become more clear I began to explore it a bit more.
Can you talk a little about your design process? Where do you start and what are the steps that you take along the way to create a collection?
Sometimes it’s the fabrication that dictates the feel of a design, sometimes it’s an image, a poem, a conversation or a completely unrelated reference point. The process is equal parts organized and directional as well as sporadic and based merely on feeling. Somewhere in between the two of those is where the best outcome takes shape.
Can you give me a run through of your day to day, what’s the first thing you do to wake up in the morning and what’s the last thing you do before you leave the studio?
There are no rules about how you represent yourself. No two days are alike but they are often guided with the same direction and drive. The first thing I do is most likely check my phone, drink a glass of room temperature water and look out the window. Once I’m in the office it’s a range of things from checking emails, seeing fabric developments and checking in on production updates from factories. It’s typically kind of three seasons at once — you’re finishing one season, in the middle of another, and then about to begin on the next.
It seems like you have a foot in both sides of fashion, you have the business interest and the aesthetic interest.
The fashion industry is a peculiar one where there is a significant commercial aspect to selling clothes, which many designers and creatives may not fully comprehend when entering the field. To be able to keep creating, one must find a way to sustain themselves financially, unless they are already wealthy. A lot of it is inherit to what you’re interested in and what you gravitate towards. I am at my core an artist, the business side is the part I had to spend the time to learn.
How often do you make a product or a sample and hate it? What role does failure play in your work?
It’s continuous. Bad samples, wrong fabrics, delayed collections. There’s so many things that can go wrong from the lens of the business, and a whole other list of things that go wrong as a creative. Often an idea that looked better within the frame of your own head and not as good in the physical form. Grappling with perfectionism is a seemingly constant battle for me. Raising the question to my own self of what exactly is good enough for the world to see. I think I’ve gotten better at this over time.
Time is something a lot of people are obsessed with in their daily lives, without necessarily realizing it. What role does time play in your life now?
I’m excited that more people are becoming conscious and particular about how they spend their time. I’ve suffered a quite of bit of loss within the last year and the preciousness of time is something that’s constantly on my mind. It’s one of my main driving forces now. Regardless of personal characteristics such as wealth, location, or cultural background, time is a universal factor that binds us all. By showing punctuality when meeting with others, we demonstrate respect for their time and establish a sense of connection with the world around us. Although it may not always be simple, sharing our time with others is a valuable gift.
We often talk about the satisfaction of buying and owning, but is there a satisfaction and pride to making and selling a product? What are your aspirations for the future? Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try your hand at?
I’m looking forward to furthering the storyline into jewelry, interesting accessories, home goods and other categories that fall in line with the vision of the brand.
Shop Profound (Found): https://profoundco.com/
Faraz’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/farazzaidi/
Profound (Founds) Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/profoundco/
Presented by: Ascend Agency