When Zhu (the founder and creator of Zhuorui Fu Collection) reached out to me to take a peak at some of her pieces, how could I say no? Her website was stunning, the product absolutely gorgeous and her presence absolutely magnetic. We met for lunch one sunny summer afternoon and I knew instantly that she meant business. Her brand is everything to her, literally. It speaks to all of the different pieces that make her up as a person; her up bringing, her years in school, her personal taste in style and her beliefs.
I had to get more involved with the brand, and ended up arranging this Q+A with Zhu herself. She’s intelligent, classic and driven- all of these traits I see in her brand. She considers herself to be a cool millennial with a passion for quality over quantity, ethical production and sees her ideal customer as a elegant, ethical, and cool. Keep reading for more insight into the Zhuorui Fu Collection.
*Note: more photos to come!
Q1: Tell me a bit about your brand, what was the inspiration behind it and how did you get started?
Zhuorui Fu Collection is the brand of elegant traditions and millennial ethics. I have always been a stylish girl. My eyes are on simple, timeless, and elegant contents, partially due to my upbringing in Shenzhen-Shanghai, and my education at St Andrews, the alma mater of the royals. In my mind, I want to do the elegant haute-couture, especially in today’s pop-cultured centered world. However, the classic appeals should be different. I am a cool millennial, so when I look at quality things, I have different interpretations from the older generations or celebrities. For me, quality and personalization do not have to equal to unethical business production, like stripping alligator skins, or the wasteful one-time consumption of fashion. I could only do my brand after I met my current maker parter Roberto when I was studying in Nice. I lived above his atelier and was a frequent customer before we started doing business together. I did not study design. I only had ideas and the taste, which I have curated through all these years. He has been making leather products for 4 decades. He could turn my ideas into reality. So we started assembling bags together, using what he already has, and add modification on the pieces. The brand was registered in New York in June. From there, we took off.
Q2: In three words, describe your target customer.
Descriptive words: elegant, ethical, and cool.
Definitive words: professionals, fashionistas, or states/business makers
Q3: Fashion is one of the main causes of climate change in the world. How important is sustainability in fashion to you and how is that reflected in your brand?
Fashion is the second most wasteful industry after oil industry. Sustainability is the very key of my take in the world and in my brand. I think the true elegance and haute-couture sophistication are reflected on the basic understanding and care to our shared Mother Earth. This has reflected to everything I do – I can’t say I am perfect in sustainability, but I try to avoid plastic bags, straws, however I can. For clothes, I don’t buy quick fashions. I save money and buy slow fashion investment pieces. In my brand, I am very proud of our nearly impeccable services. From design to production, all of our ateliers are using degradable natural materials, i.e., leather and paper in our case. Things are handmade and hand stitched. Colours are either no-colours or made using natural ingredients at home in the atelier. We are very small now, but our customers can see the passions and love we give to each product. When they open the package, they smell freshness of Nature. We also partner with designers that share our vision. I hope this will influence and help our customers pursue their natural and beautiful life.
Q4: What part of your brand are you most proud of?
Everything? I would say versatility and natural nature. My bags are very simple but cool. I wear them everywhere, and people keep asking about them. Because they are simple, they can easily suit a day-to-day street look, but they can also be easily upgraded to more sophisticated environment such as at work or for wine night. No need to say, all the above answers have been dedicated to preservation of Mother Nature. I wear my bags with pride because I know my bags are the badges of positive energy and honour for living in peace with Nature.
Q5: What kid of relationship do you want your customer to have with one of your pieces?
I want them to cherish my bags and be proud of the IT nature. Customers buy bags however they want, but I hope they buy bags to use more than one time. IT is a state of mind. I personally have consciously developed cool hobbies, read tons, and talk in basic eloquence to be ‘IT’ per se. I define my style, not vice versa. Likewise, I hope my customers will continue to be their authentic selves, and let my bags be the elements of their natural coolness. Bags are just garments. They don’t define who we are. We do.
I also hope my customers can really use my bags, because they are are practical, for small bags have multiple pockets inside and big bags are just big enough to host things. I hope they can wear and use them as often as possible, for leather only appreciates in value the more someone has left marks on the pieces.