Hey there! Welcome to my fourth installment of Faces & Places – my new interview series that explores the amazing, interesting and inspiring faces of Chicago and the world (finally!), the places that define these makers in their element of creativity and how travel affects their lives. You can check out the first post in my series here!
Technology is incredible. If you think about what we can accomplish now compared to just 10 years ago it will probably boggle your mind (instantaneous FaceTime > getting kicked off AIM when your brother called his neighborhood friend).
The same goes for social media. While it certainly has its downsides, it also allows us to do so much. I have heard so many people talk about the connections they have made (most resulting in REAL LIFE interactions) through social media. In fact, one of my longest blog-friendships was someone I reached out to via Instagram over a post she put up about an Indiana basketball game.
I met Haofang Zheng, of Chinese luxury accessory brand Zai-Mu, through Instagram, and we worked on a collaboration not long after (check it out here!). Since eventually I knew I wanted to take this Faces & Places series global, I figured where better to start than to share Haofang’s story. Check it out!
MZ: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
HZ: My name is Haofang Zheng – I am Chinese. I graduated from the Institute of Marangoni in Milan, with a major in fashion accessory design.
MZ: What is Zai-Mu?
HZ: zai-mu (在目) is a Chinese idiom. It means vivid in one’s mind. All Zai-Mu bags are proudly conceived and handmade in China using the finest Italian leather, craftsmanship and most luxurious materials available with rigorous attention to detail.
Our bags exude the spirit of embracing your inner “kid at heart” and appreciating the small things. We want the women wearing our bags to be beautiful, fashionable and confident.
MZ: What is your creative process like?
HZ: It’s hard to say… first, we start every design with a theme – and we find lots of inspiration from pictures. For example, your backpack has a little bohemian style.
After that, I draw some sketches of the bag, rendered in different colors. A member of our team chooses some of the colors as well. We then make them into samples and make more selections. It takes a long time to go from the idea to the real product. We change things over and over again until it’s perfect!
MZ: Where is the last place you traveled/ favorite place you’ve traveled?
HZ: The last place I traveled to was the Czech Republic. I like Prague very much! Especially the architecture, food and all the different handcrafted products.
MZ: How do you find inspiration from travel?
HZ: I like to travel to different countries to get a feel for the local customs. I like photography too – I sometimes record funny things I see with my camera! I always like to get inspiration from my trips, and also daily life. These all add inspiration to my designs.