In anticipation of her blog launch extravaganza at Pattern Workshop on October 10, Zuri Ali, music enthusiast, fashionista, and blogger of Indianapolis sat down with me for quite an intriguing interview on a toasty afternoon in downtown. After a spicy sip of her fruity, cayenne smoothie she thought she would surely die from the overwhelming heat; but she managed to collect herself so we could get to those hard hitting questions!
How did the name Zuri Ali come about?
Well, my real name means the greatest. But Zuri means beautiful and Ali means noble. Which I feel symbolizes my worth and growth. I use to go by iokec (inventive, original, knowledgeable, eclectic, culture). Pronounces eye-o-key. It was inspired by Kimora Lee Simmons. But I wanted and needed to add my own spin.
Where are you from?
I’m from Gary, Indiana, the slum of all slums. But it’s all love.
What sparked an interest in fashion for you?
I was so little when I first started playing with fashion, I made clothes and things for my dolls. I watched Tyra and loved her style, she was so interesting to me. I knew I always wanted to create in some way. The way colors and prints worked together interested me. I used to be awkward, well I’m still awkward!
What would you say your style is like?
Well my everyday style is 90’s love. The shape, colors, patterns! I can’t even describe it really. Baggy acid washed Levi’s jeans have my heart. When it come to style I have no limits, I do it based on how I’m feeling. If it’s a badass kind of day I’m basically naked; bralets, skirts, heels or boots, anything funky and fresh really. If I wake up and feel ultra girly I’ll wear lace, kimonos, high-waisted something, kind of a modern but girly look with simplicity.
What’s your ‘can’t live without beauty product’?
Oh purple lipstick for sure! I love that stuff and wear it all the time!
What’s your ‘can’t live without hair product’?
Shea butter works really well with my hair and makes it super smooth and silky.
What’s your ‘can’t live without clothing item’?
Crop tops! I wear them with almost everything, it might be an addiction…I also have this sun robe, it’s silky and red with stars. I wear it out to the grocery store or walking down the canal, i’m sure people think I’m crazy wearing a robe out but it’s so beautiful. I haven’t ridden in the bus wearing it just yet, but we’ll see!
What are some of your favorite clothing lines?
Joyrich is a very 90’s brand and we all know that’s my go-to look, Lazy Oaf is another favorite because it’s that outrageous, in your face vibe, and the beloved Goodwill because I’m all about the thrifting, I know that’s not really a brand but I love it there!
Who’s your favorite musical artist?
I love old pink polo Kanye, he is lit! But I do understand that he’s adapting to the new sound via mainstream. Other artists for a few… Pro Era, A Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu…ugh! Fuck! It’s a lot and I know this interview is about fashion so I will just leave it as is.
Other than Indy, what would be your go to city to live in?
Oh, the UK! The fashion there is more serious with their style. On a rainy day I would wear my black rain boots, black high-waisted jeans, a turtleneck crop top, a cute bucket hat, and of course a rain coat, probably one of the main primary colors. if it wasn’t the UK though I would choose Japan, I love their crazy outward style, or maybe that classic New York, Brooklyn-esc swank!
What inspires you in day to day life?
The view from my apartment, that skyline is breathtaking. I adore my big windows. Sometimes I drink a little tea and meditate in the morning before heading to work and just look out at the skyline. But on a serious note I couldn’t be inspired without the people I’m surround by each day. They all create in different forms and they enlighten me with vibrations, energy… That inspires me as well and my son, Egypt, he’s the biggest reflection of it all.
Who or what are your fashion inspirations?
It’s so hard to have a fashion icon and not completely recreate it, you know? I don’t want to copy them and be that person but I do look to others for new inspirations and styles to pull from. Rhea Carter and Teff the Don are from New York and I love their styles, Joey Badass (a rapper) or Sza both have a 90’s style that’s right up my alley, or Rihanna’s street style! I don’t listen to her music though, I guess I’m just not hip on it!
What are some of your goals for the future?
Actually, I would like to own my own thrift store or a little shop on day. I want to be able to host events for art, graphic design, poetry, fashion and much more one day. I want to be able to combine all my loves into one!
Where will you be in five years do you think?
I see myself with my own business, a degree in web design and business, I am going to be great. I will not struggle, I am going to be more outspoken, comfortable with myself, working for myself. Won’t be slaving my life away at Geico anymore.
Lastly, how would you describe your blog?
My blog is me. It’s 90’s and eclectic. It’s fashion, music, art, inspiration. It’s spiritual, as in meditation and aligning your soul. My blog is that person you talk to at the sandbox and share a juice with! It’s that person you can come to and talk to when you want or need to.
After the interview Zuri and I sat and chit chatted awhile about her goals and aspirations and her beloved son (Egypt). She has big plans for her blog and life in general. We all look forward to knowing more about this great queen, as she addresses all the fabulous people via email, and all she accomplishes here in Indianapolis!
If you just so happen to be struck with interest in Zuri Ali, as we at Pattern are, follow her on instagram and twitter @thezuriali, on Facebook, and her blog! Good luck to Zuri and all she has in store for the year, and we look forward to everything you have to share with Indianapolis!