Archives for the day of: June 27, 2013

In the hidden, underground cafés of Paris, they would gossip, read poetry and flaunt their zoot suits. They would find solace in the company of one another as the destruction of World War II played out above theme. They were ‘zazous.’

From their avante garde styles and European flare came inspiration for the name of the American accessory brand Zazou, which can be found at

“We spent a lot of time thinking about the name because we wanted something that had a good sound to it,” recounted designer, artist, and man behind Zazou designs, Christopher Carroll.

Although he does not necessarily consider himself a fashion designer, or even thought he would be working in the fashion industry at all, Chris has helped develop and grow the brand Zazou since its inception in 1982 with his friend and business partner, Claudia Koch.

“I kind of got into designing scarves in kind of a weird way,” said the Berkeley alumnus. “A good friend of mine [Claudia] had moved to Europe and she was going to . . . Afghanistan and India and a bunch of places, and she would buy some jewelry and hand crafted items . . . and sell them in Greece.”

After seemingly non-stop traveling, however, Claudia wanted to stay put and open up a wholesale line in the United States. After trying out various assortments, the entrepreneur soon discovered that she was selling more scarves than any of her other products, and in an effort to expand the success of her accessories, she looked to her good friend and confidant, Chris.

“Because we were close, she said, ‘Why don’t we just design them?'” said Chris about his first involvement with Zazou scarves.

Soon, one scarf design became two, and two designs became a collection, and the Zazou line is what Chris has been working on ever since, in addition to his own artwork and publications.

“I like designing scarves,” said Chris. “I like fabric and I like participating in that whole thing, but I also like doing my own work.”

Chris’ artwork mainly consists of black and white drawings and projects made from cut paper.

In both his artwork and fashion designs, Chris finds inspirations from a myriad of places.

“Because it’s fashion, it can’t just be anything,” explained Chris. “It has to be something I’m interested in. It has to be something that is current, and that I feel is something people would look good in.”

Current and flattering trends Chris has noticed include bolder prints that are larger in scale, as opposed to smaller, more intricate designs that were popular a few years ago.

Design inspirations, however, can also be found in decades past.

“I know a lot about the history of fashion and textiles,” said Chris. “So when I feel like something is going to be back in style, [because] everything is sort of like a big, revolving circle, I like to update something that is in the back of my head or that is some historical thing.”

The bold patterns and silky textures that frequently make up Zazou designs can usually be found on customers older in age, who already have a clear definition of their own personal styles.

“[The Zazou customer is] someone who is a little bit older, but I have always wanted to design for young people,” said Chris, as he contemplated the women who buy Zazou products. “In my mind, I would rather design for a young person, and that is kind of what I have in mind when I’m designing, even though our customer is usually older.”

No matter what Chris is envisioning when creating his designs, the final products result in quality, bold scarves that have helped Zazou expand to vineyards, galleries and museums in America and Europe.

Chris made no hint to the idea that he was slowing down, and he seemed optimistic about the future, with words of wisdom for the next generation of fashion hopefuls making their way into the industry.

“You have to start off by investing in yourself,” advised Chris. “Just do something. If you want to design clothes, then design them, make them . . . don’t wait.”


Hello my little zebras!

So, I have decided that every once in a while I could fill you in on the life and times of a Sterling Styles and Zazou intern. If you have not read about me yet in the ‘About the Blogger’ tab at the top of the page, I will give you a quick synopsis about myself right here and now.

My name is Micheala, I am 21 years old and I am a recent graduate of Cal Poly Pomona (Go Broncos!). I majored in Apparel Merchandising and Management and minored in Journalism. The thinking behind that  was I wanted to prepare myself for the world of fashion journalism!

Below is a selfie from today, my fourth day at my internship here in sunny Southern California (I know, the bangs need a trimmin’).

fourth day!

After snapping the selfie, I eagerly dialed the number of Christopher Carroll, the man behind the designs of Zazou scarfs. I wanted to interview Chris for this very blog.

We talked on the phone for nearly 25 minutes, during which he asked me questions about myself and I asked him about his career, inspirations and advice for those just starting out in the fashion industry.

It was so exciting to talk to someone who has actually made a name for himself in such a cutthroat industry, and even though I was a little nervous at first, Chris soon eased my tension with his sincerity and good natured attitude.

It was so wonderful to talk with someone who is so talented, yet so down to earth. Chris could not have been nicer during the phone interview, and he graciously added that if I ever need help or advice,  I could give him a call.

Thus far,  have utilized skills obtained from many of my Communication classes I took at Cal Poly Pomona. In my Reporting courses, we learned how to conduct interviews and set up articles. I also learned in AMM 245, Consumerism, Impact and Issues, because that class discussed customers and how they respond to products and ads. With this blog, I am attempting to communicate with consumers and appeal to their needs and interests. This use of social media also corresponds with AMM 230, Fashion Promotion, because I am constantly trying to promote the Zazou and Sterling Styles name.

It has been a great start to this Thursday so far – let’s hope this positivity continues!