This is the first in a handful of interviews from 2012 with various artists. I will be re-posting them from an older blog.
C Dyann: Hi Jowhari, glad that you could join us.
C Dyann: Tell us about Zarif Soulye.
Jowhari: Zarif Soulye is the fashion footwear love child of my previous endeavor, Hi Steppn’ Footwear. After an exhausting experience of seeking fashion forward footwear at an affordable price, I began my research to achieve my personal goals. I began as Hi Steppn’ then I decided to revamp things. I was no longer Mz. Hi Steppah in mentality – with age there is change. Zarif, my middle name, means elegant in Arabic. Soulye means footwear defined by my West Indian/ creole roots.
Zarif Soulye is me.
C Dyann: When did you become interested in selling designer label shoes?
Jowhari: In spring 2004 I strutted for the first time, shoes in tow to a hotel suite for an exclusive “champagne sip/shoe party”. I had five well-dressed male hosts, five styles of shoes and a dozen sizes per style. Women shopped and sipped. Sipped and shopped. We were so excited! That’s the signature shoe soirée.
C Dyann: You have been very instrumental in the San Francisco bay area and beyond with promoting and bringing designers and artists together. What inspired you to begin doing this?
Jowhari: I must first say that I love networking! It’s essential to growth, whether personal or professional. Everyone has something to give, something to gain. That’s what networking is all about, conversing, exchanging for the betterment of a cause Why not lend support to someone in need? But, what happened in my most recent personal experience – I was a member of a group that should have been influential for women in business – but the networking opportunities were measured and maintained on a scheduled basis. There were only certain days that you could network using certain mediums. After much disappointment and becoming overwhelmed because I didn’t see their vision or growth opportunities for myself and with major encouragement from my friends (whom I met through networking for Curtis and photography) I started the artist and designers cove. I wanted to create a space where artists and designers can network with buyers, shoppers, photographers, and art patrons. It still sort of falls under what we do at GZ | Soulye “where fashion and photography meet”. Although the cove is a virtual environment, it’s amazing how you can feel the love in the cove. The ADC rocks!
C Dyann: Who inspires you?
Jowhari: This is when I’m supposed to say, God, my mother, my children (Gyasi, Jowhari, Jabari and Kiki), my religious leaders and political peaceful activists. Ok I’ve said it. Let me know if you need specifics.
I’m inspired by many people and circumstances, in a trust and leaning on the Lord in a don’t worry be happy kind of way.
C Dyann: What motivates you and keeps you going?
Jowhari: Growth. I want to be the best me ever, for myself, my family, my children, my relationship with God, my relationship with Curtis, my friends. I’ve overcome many, many obstacles, and have had my share of uncomfortable circumstances. In a nutshell I seek guidance and comfort in everything I do. I pray all day! All night! I just want to leave an impression on everyone I meet. My Zarif Soulye tag says “with every step there’s an impression left behind”.
C Dyann: Thank you so much for spending time with us. Where can we find your designs?
Jowhari: My designs are at the Zarif Soulye Fashion Gallery 2724 MacArthur Blvd Oakland Ca facebook.com/zsoulyegallery.
We also carry my FootWearable art w/Tyniece Hall of Swagger handbags and accessories.
Swag | Soulye will launch and be seen at the Kiss the Curves Butterfly Kisses fashion show Friday June 22nd
C Dyann: Where can we find you if we would like to attend one of your events?
Jowhari: Most of my events will be at Zarif Soulye Fashion Gallery:
Check links for events on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for fashion-forward tweets, events and promotions.
Thank you so much!
C Dyann: It was definitely our pleasure!
ZSFG (Zarif Soulye Fashion Gallery) is the only fashion gallery in the bay as I strive to provide a platform for indie artists and designers to network. Fashion exhibitions include live mannequin models in the window display with live music and epic networking.
Subscribe to ZSFG on YouTube.