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Azza Arif

Azza Arif

Fashion stylist, Malaysia Tatler, 2009
BA (Hons) in Fashion & Retailing

I found my experience studying in Limkokwing University extremely helpful. The education not only included knowledge in fashion designing itself, it also included knowledge that included the basis of running a business and opening a retail line.

13 November 2009

Above Appearances

Written by Catalina Rembuyan

Azza Arif is a young woman who is going places. Barely two years after graduating from her studies at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Azza is brushing shoulders with Malaysia’s most renowned and celebrated figures at Malaysia Tatler. She shares her story with Catalina Rembuyan.

Anyone who works in the publishing industry knows that the adage that one should never judge a book by its cover is an utter lie. For all publications, whether they are glossy magazines or the latest novel of literary fiction, covers matter. When it comes to Malaysia Tatler, Malaysia’s edition of the world-famous Tatler brand of magazines covering the life of the prestigious, the question is a cover’s appearance is a matter of utmost importance.

Azza Arif is the young woman who is in charge of shaping, creating and coming up with inspiration for the looks of every face to grace the cover of Malaysia Tatler. Apart from that, Azza is also the person who determines the appearance and presentation of every photo shoot for lead stories and handle the fashion pages. In an industry where appearances do not just matter, they matter as bread and butter, Azza Arif is one who gives every celebrity his or her best appearances, who grants every client the photo essay they demand, and who creates the look and feel of the Tatler magazine and thus establish its place in the market of periodicals in Malaysia.

I do the styling for models and celebrities for lead stories and fashion spreads, and source out looks for the person I am working with.

Azza was born and raised in Egypt before shifting to Brunei to study. After her high school studies, she was considering studying either in Australia or Malaysia. That was when she heard about Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.

“I heard that they were good, so I decided to give it a shot.”

Joining Limkokwing University to study fashion design, Azza was among the first batch of students of Limkokwing University’s fashion degree programme.

“I found my experience studying in Limkokwing University extremely helpful. The education not only included knowledge in fashion designing itself, it also included knowledge that included the basis of running a business and opening a retail line. What I found especially helpful was the public relations education that was included in the syllabus.”

Taking advantage of the Limkokwing brand name and the accessibility the student life at Limkokwing offered into the industry, Azza began working on her portfolio and contacts while she was a student, starting by working at the Malaysian Women’s Weekly where she worked as a fashion writer. She continued working in production and freelancing while she was a student, until she was offered a job as a fashion stylist at Malaysia Tatler.

As a fashion stylist, the most important characteristic you need to have is a sense of taste. You’ll need to learn to adapt to different styles, tastes and demands with each different direction in a magazine.

“At Malaysia Tatler, I had the opportunity to work with the upper echelons of society as well as high-end clients in the fashion industry like Louis Vuitton. I do the styling for models and celebrities for lead stories and fashion spreads, and source out looks for the person I am working with,” explained Azza.

In order to develop a look, Azza will discuss with the rest of the team of Malaysia Tatler to discuss the concept of the edition. She will then base the look that she has planned for the edition on the concept discussed, and communicate with clients concerning what style would suit them or make them feel comfortable.

“The most interesting edition I’ve worked on was for the November 2009 issue of Malaysia Tatler, the stylish ladies issue. We did three different covers for that issue, and I was allowed to experiment with avant garde hair styling and make-up. This is a slight departure from our norm, where our concept is usually along the line of elegance and prestige.”

Azza, who explained that she had been wanting to work in the fashion industry from a very young age, defines success as being able to achieve what you have set out to do and to accomplish what you want. “I’ve always wanted to do this, and now that I am working as a fashion stylist for a prestigious magazine, I want to go on and achieve more.”

Azza advises those who wish to enter a line of work similar to hers to get their work noticed and to develop as much contacts as possible. “While I was working as a student, I made a lot of contacts in the industry. However, contacts don’t mean much if your work is not good enough, because no one would recommend you to someone else unless they are assured of your work quality. So the most important thing is to get your work out there and recognized.”

“As a fashion stylist, the most important characteristic you need to have is a sense of taste. You’ll need to learn to adapt to different styles, tastes and demands with each different direction in a magazine.”

Azza Arif hopes to become a fashion consultant in the future. Her prospects are looking good.

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