What’s a girl to say when a gorgeous friend asks if she can put her creative mind to work and design a scarf range for you? YES, ABSOLUTELY was my answer!
Meet Toni Smith, the #zuriiwoman and designer behind our popular Morocco and Aruba scarves. Toni is an awesome chick. We met several years ago when we were both taking trips to Africa with The Hunger Project (our charity of choice). I was recently back from Uganda and she was leaving for Malawi. These trips changed both of our lives in a big way.
It’s our shared connection to Africa that led Toni to ask me that brave and beautiful question. “If you start a scarf range, can I design a scarf for you?” Yes, absolutely! I said.
Check out my interview with Toni below where she shares the inspiration behind her designs.
Q: How did your experience in Malawi change you as a person and your outlook on life?
A: I heard about The Hunger Project’s program to Malawi at a crossroads in my life. And it terrified me. I wanted to run from it and towards it. Since going to Malawi I’ve become so much more resourceful and regained a sense of myself. I’ve found a practice that gives me an inner peace and met some great friends and inspirational people. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done!
Q: Tell us about your passion for design, and how it came about.
A: I love typography! My primary school projects always used a different font. My love for graphic design was cemented when I completed a Certificate at Shillington College. And lately, I’ve become very interested in Customer Experience (CX) design.
Q: What motivated you to try your hand at designing a scarf range for Zurii?
A: I had some time and space when I was on parental leave. I kept thinking: “How cool would it be to see my design being worn by someone?”
Q: What is the inspiration behind each of your designs?
A: The Morocco print was inspired by the patterned, tessellating tiles that feature in Moorish architecture. I’m a sucker for patterned tiles. I wanted Aruba to be breezy and bright for a stylish woman who is having fun.
Q: How did it feel the first time your saw the scarves come to life around your neck?
A: Incredibly proud. They are even better than I imagined that they would be.
Q: What’s next? Are you working on any new design ideas?
A: The design bug has bitten. I’ve got a thirst to keep designing so I’ve worked on some wall art and used Shibori wrapping techniques to dye some tea towels. I’ve started an Etsy store. I’m also keen to complete a textile design course.
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