Aza Ziegler & Caroline Kaufman‘s work have been obsessions of ours since we first came across the graduating Pratt Institute Fashion Design class last year. After two Zeum Online interviews and a shoot with their SS15 garments in our home city of Toronto, we catch up with the girls (and feature a new Aw15 exclusive shoot that solely mixes both their looks!) to hear all about the progress they’ve made with not only their brands, but also with their forever growing, eternal friendship. Photographed by Jacqueline Harriet with model Taylor Jane @Scout & LA Models, assistant Becca Mikesell.
“The root of our inspiration comes from such a similar place; the mountains, wild and unruly nature. There is no doubt in my mind that our work is what dug our friendship roots so deep.”
You both went to the Pratt Institute for Fashion Design, is that where you first met? C: We were in the same intro design class second semester freshman year and I got to know Aza through her work before we ever spoke. A: Caroline & I’s clothes were friends far before we were. I was always the one that raised my hand during the critique and flooded her with compliments. The root of our inspiration comes from such a similar place; the mountains, wild and unruly nature. There is no doubt in my mind that our work is what dug our friendship roots so deep.
C: The first time we hung out outside of class we went to the de Kooning Retrospective at MOMA. I had a giant friend crush. She seemed really cool, tan and unapproachable. All things I’m not.
A: I am so shy at first! Which is hilarious because I am actually quite the opposite once you get to know me. But I really wanted to be Caroline’s friend!
Tell us about your AW15 collections! How do you think they’ve evolved from the last time we’ve featured you with your SS15? C: Your first collection is like your first birthday. Nobody knows what you are going to look like when you grow up—what colour your hair will turn or how tall you’ll grow—and nobody can predict how your work will evolve over the course of a career. The second time around was all about taking those ideas and techniques and stretching them a little farther. I worked under a set of constraints while making AW15. I gave myself a strict colour story to work with, an exercise in refinement and cohesion, and focused on how each piece could be produced. The initial inspiration was juxtaposing the AW15 pieces with my paintings. My favourite part of the process was watching that come together in a series of images for the look book. A: I approached my second collection with a pretty clear vision from the beginning. I sort of picked a direction and stuck with it. I didn’t want to loose my sense of humor in my fabrication, but I wanted to create something that was realistic and functional for a winter wardrobe. My coats were my best sellers, especially in Japan! C: Aza’s drawn towards the colour pink and I’m naturally inclined to mints and seafoams. This collection we challenged ourselves to not use our comfort colours.
We noticed you two love to travel together! How do your travels influence the inspiration behind your collections? A: Caroline and I have had so many incredible adventures this past year! We’ve been to New Orleans, traveled the coast of California & Island hopped in Canada.
C: We have so much fun! The best thing about traveling together is that Aza doesn’t get mad at me when I ask her to pull over to the side of the road to take pictures of sea lions, cacti, or coloured walls.
A: We really soaked up the culture in New Orleans, and on the road in California and we met so many incredible people along the way. We’ve both had a recent new found fascination with the United States.
C: I think it stems from being U.S. made brands.
Let’s talk your instagrams. #unrulyandwild road trip? C: Instagram has been a fun way to create a visual roadmap of our travels. We created the #unrulyandwild hashtag document our adventures as we travel together through a single gallery.
A: We wanted to include our friends and followers so the #wildandunruly hashtag was born. Dixie Chicks who are our eternal road trip sound track sing: “I wanna grow something wild and unruly. I wanna sleep on the hard ground
In the comfort of your arms. On a pillow of bluebonnets. In a blanket made of stars” in the song ‘cowboy take me away’.
Caroline: Your favourite AW15 piece of Aza’s? The green jacket with the blue shearling collar. I don’t even know if green is my colour, but either way I don’t care because that jacket is bomb.
Aza: Your favourite AW15 piece from Caroline? I am always rolling around in her knits and secretly sneaking her hand knit socks over to my side of the studio. But I would have to say her long woven athletic mesh wrap skirt. Such a statement piece. And looks great with my towel sweatshirt, so, new outfit?
What’s it like sharing a studio space in Brooklyn? C: When things get busy there is glitter everywhere. Aza never cleans up her glitter and it is stuck on my skin for life.
A: Make it rain! Glitter!
C: Our days are very atypical. Usually we focus on our respective projects but always find ourselves advising and designing with one another. This winter we were really into listening to Serial and learning to solve murder mysteries while we sewed.
A: The thing that is so great about working with Caroline is no matter how stressed you are she can just make you laugh so hard. She is so light hearted and subtle in her humor and never allows me to take myself too seriously.
Jacqueline is a photographer that really understands the people she is working with. She gets Aza and I.
Talk to us about this new shoot with Jacqueline! How do you find mixing and matching with one another’s pieces to create styled looks?
C: Jacqueline is a photographer that really understands the people she is working with. She gets Aza and I. She knows our aesthetics and appreciates the colours and types of light we are drawn to.
A: Clearly Caroline and I have a thing for colored houses, so we chose to shoot in the Sunset District in San Francisco. We paired our work together on the spot and let Jacqueline do her thing while we scouted out (and tried to buy) all the houses.
C: Like Aza said before our clothes are friends and so are we. In the studio we are always mixing and matching our clothes so it was fun to bring our styling ideas to life.
You keep sailing forward and we love watching you grow! We’ve asked you before and we’ll ask again – what’s next for each of your brands? C: My next body of work will be a collection of objects oppose to just clothing. I love working with many different mediums, so I’m developing some paintings and home wear that compliment my garments. The goal is to transport the customer into a world and lifestyle beyond fashion.
A: I have big things in store for SS16, It will be very artistic season that will give home to a lot of textile exploration I’ve been developing. I’m also doing my first presentation this September in NY.
All clothing | Caroline Kaufman & Aza Ziegler (Calle Del Mar) FW15