Ahmed Azzam is an Egyptian designer specialized in handbags and clutches. His innovative designs, original patterns, quality materials and attention to details made him stand alone as THE designer to look after.
Q. Tell us the story behind Zaam Designs and the peacock in the logo.
The brand’s name was originated from Azzam. I wanted to have a brand name with my identity. Also I was looking for a logo that is feminine, elegant and isn’t taken by any other brand; so I chose the peacock. Fashion has been my passion since my first college year. It’s where I want to spend my entire life. It didn’t take me much time to find out that I should specialize in bags and clutches. So after I finished my studies, I started my career life and launched my first line in June 2012.
Q. Besides Bags, what was the first piece you ever designed?
Back in college, I designed necklaces, earrings and bracelets, but it didn’t last for so long because I had to concentrate on my studies.
Q. In your opinion, when will women stop running after SIGNS and choose DESIGNS instead?
They’ve already started! Since I started the customized sections, I have been getting a lot of calls from women who are willing to pay anything just to get a unique bag with their name on it.
Q. What’s the weirdest thing that ever inspired you?
The Disco ball! In my last collection, I created a bag that was made out of tiny pieces of glass; exactly the same as a disco ball.
Q. Brilliant idea that you added a line of laptop bags to your collection, what’s your next step?
Every year I try to introduce a new line to my brand. After the first anniversary, I introduced the men line, then traveling bags and in my last collection I added laptop bags for men. Last June, I introduced leather good accessories; including belts, headbands, and wallets.
Q. What’s unique about the fashionista who chooses your designs?
When I design a new line; first, I search for a new idea and then I come up with a theme for the line. I try to make very unique pieces that no one would find in any ordinary shop… That’s why any Zaam woman is standing out clearly in the crowd.
Q. What are the Difficulties you’ve found in Egypt while establishing your business?
One of the biggest issues I face in Egypt is finding bag accessories and metals, because there are no factories that are specialized in this stuff. Also another challenge is in the production; Egyptian labors have no sense of commitment or respect for timelines. It’s very difficult to find a committed workshop with a high quality work too.
Q. In your opinion, fashion in Egypt will be better if!
Fashion in Egypt is booming. Now there are a lot of fashion designers and blogs under the spot. People are more into wearing local designers. Media is giving more attention to the local designers. You’ll find all the sectors covered even turban designers. Before, there were very few fashion events, but now they’re spreading all over the city. And sponsors who are not in the fashion business are willing to pay
Q. When will you have your own showroom/shop?
It’s not in plan yet. I’m seeking exposure now. My next destination will be Dubai, and then Europe.
Q. Did you ever watch a competitor’s design and shouted “THAT’S A STATEMENT PIECE”?
Yeah.. Actually having competitors is very healthy. And I have a couple of them on top of my mind; Marsouma designs and Okhtein. They both create superb designs.
Q. What was the most annoying or sarcastic comment you got from a hater?
I don’t think I’ve got one yet; however if it happened, I think I’d pay attention to it. Maybe this person has my best interest at heart.
Q. Who’s the young Egyptian designer that you think his/her designs are unique?
Nada Akram! She’s the one who invented the pop art and celebrity vintage style in her designs. And Menna Tarek in jewelry designing. She has a very unique taste.
Q. What’s the funniest/ most unique piece you’ve ever created?
I’d say it’s the “pyramid” Bag. Looking exactly like a pyramid, it’s four-sided with front and back made of snake leather, and other sides made of glittery leather.
Q. And which is your IT piece from your collection?
My line for this year is really special for me because it’s a collaboration between two huge entities. The line is basically it’s full of crystals. However, my IT bag of the last collection is that round clutch with the vintage pattern.
-Words I live by… Old is always gold.
-Women will be prettier if … They wear what fit their bodies and stopped going with the flow.
-Men should understand that… She’s not wearing anything for you.
-Things I barely go out without… My watch! It’s not mine actually and it’s not working but it belongs to my best friend who moved to Seaton. Second is my cell phone; because I run my business through WhatsApp and Instagram. And of course my sketch book; because whenever I get inspired I must draw immediately.
-If the devil didn’t wear Prada, she would wear… Haha…Zaam!
– My IT inspiration / character is… Coco Chanel and Ramy El Kordy.
By Haya Arafa