Carrie Hammer

 

TBF Entrepreneurs

 

AZIN VALY

Founder & Designer, Cityzen by Azin

Co-Founder, I-Beam Design

 

MY BACKGROUND...

As a child in pre-revolution Iran, I couldn’t decide what I would like to be when I grew up. I wanted to design everything from clothes and toys to buildings and landscapes! Studying architecture at Cooper Union allowed me to approach design from a broad perspective. I was able to integrate different disciplines to achieve multiple applications of anything I created. As an architect I extended my skills, knowledge and love of design into my childhood love of fashion, creating the holistic fashion brand, Cityzen by Azin.

 

MY ELEVATOR PITCH...

The Cityzen by Azin collection incorporates satellite imagery of cities from around the world onto custom-made garments and accessories, bringing the world together one city at a time. “Form following topography” defines each piece, allowing a river to turn into a strap or a slit or a mountain to become a voluminous neck line.

 

THE INSPIRATION FOR CITYZEN BY AZIN...

I-Beam was nominated for an exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art regarding the future of Urban Planning relative to the foreclosure crises. Stunning aerial views of cities around the world inspired me to merge fashion with social entrepreneurship. Through the arts and fashion, differences can be bridged.

 

The intersection of the human body and the urban landscape fuels the design process. Each piece is accompanied by a guide, which highlights various points of interest in the city as well as a cause.

 

MY FIRST DESIGN...

The Tehran dress. I have fond childhood memories of the reddish mountains near where I lived, which form a three-dimensional foldable neckline.

 

I-BEAM DESIGN IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE...

We make the ordinary extraordinary. We approach large problems with small solutions. We are playful yet pragmatic. We do “design like we give a damn!”

 

SOMETHING I WISH I KNEW STARTING OUT...

Working on my business rather than in my business.

 

BEST PLACE TO GET INSPIRED...

New York.

 

FAVORITE DESIGNERS...

Experimental minimalists.

 

THE NEXT BIG THING IN THE ARCHITECTURE OR DESIGN WORLD...

Internationalism.

 

MY ADVICE FOR OTHER ENTREPRENEURS...

Passion tempered by pragmatism.