At first glance, the vast desert landscape of Arizona seems like the most unlikely place where people keep up with the latest in fashion.
Local Phoenix boutique owner Shazia Hussain disagrees. “Arizona definitely has a fashion scene!” she proclaimed. “It is so eclectic and there are so many talented designers and stylists out there. There’s nothing pretentious about it.”
Indeed, for the past eleven years, Phoenix Fashion Week has invigorated the city’s booming fashion industry by focusing on emerging talent and supporting local businesses. The not-just-a-week fashion brand (it offers year-round fashion events) draws almost over 6,000 attendees to its annual three-day event during the month of October.
Since 2015, Shazia’s Boutique has become a regular fixture at the event’s Style Villa Marketplace – a daily shopping area featuring an array of fashion-focused vendors where attendees get to shop the hottest trends including straight off the runway designs.
“My business began online, and I also had a store space inside of an Aveda concept salon in North Scottsdale. From there, I began showcasing at Phoenix Fashion Week shows and shortly after, I opened my very own storefront, “ said Hussain.
In her boutique, Shazia carries women’s clothing, jewelry, vegan leather handbags, and accessories. More importantly, she offers merchandise in limited quantities to ensure that her customers are receiving one-of-a-kind items not found in large department stores. “I work very hard to be able to offer my customers the hottest looks with the best quality at the most affordable prices. Our tagline is ‘We Just Look Expensive,’” said Hussain.
“When people see my clothing and accessories, they automatically think they are from a high-end boutique because the quality and craftmanship is there. The look on their faces when they flip over that price tag and see that they can actually afford it is priceless.”
Another highlight of Shazia’s boutique is the inclusion of local emerging apparel and accessory designers – a majority of whom she meets at Phoenix Fashion Week. “I’ve also had the pleasure of being able to carry exclusive pieces from local designers,” she said. Notable PHXFW alums include Mabella Chic, Monica Mauro Designs, Woman’s Touch Apparel and Misha Mendicino Designs to name a few.
“To work with local successful boutiques like Shazia is very important to the overall mission of Phoenix Fashion Week of ‘Bridging Designers and Buyers.’ By discovering the next “IT” designers locally, Shazia is able to help drive the growth of our Arizona fashion industry. A classic win-win for boutique, designer, and Phoenix Fashion Week,” said Brian Hill, Executive Director of Phoenix Fashion Week.
Over the last year, Shazia has expanded her company into two parts: Shazia’s Boutique and Style By Shazia, which offers personal styling as well as personal consulting and services for businesses, which include things like visual merchandizing and photoshoot styling. Due to this expansion, she recently closed down her Phoenix storefront which she operated for two successful years.
“I decided to close the store location to focus on expanding my business, and the search for a new location is in the works,” she said. “Until then, my customers can still shop online through my website.”
Looking back on her ten year career in fashion, Shazia is optimistic about the future. She continues to chase her dreams.
“I am in fact a fashion school dropout, so don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because now I run my own fashion company.”