We chat to founder Zhu about Zhuorui Fu Collection – delivering “elegant slow fashion in the quick fashion world”
You’ll know by now that we love to showcase and champion new and interesting fashion brands here at the Fashion & Style Directory, so we simply had to tell you about accessories label Zhuorui Fu Collection.
Celebrating “classy and simple style curation, whose Franco-Italiano traditions married millennial ethics”, the accessory collection – featuring bespoke leather handbags, sling bags, voyage bags, wallets, and purses – is curated by self-proclaimed millennial IT girl Zhuorui Fu.
The products are 100% handmade in France with Italian leather, where style is inspired by “the books we have read, the places we have been, and the people we have loved.”
Keen to find out more about Zhuorui Fu Collection as it pushes in to the UK, we chatted to founder Zhu about her background and inspiration – and the product that she’ll shortly be giving away to Fashion & Style Directory readers.
Hi Zhu! Can you tell us why you started Zhuorui Fu Collection?
I started Zhuorui Fu Collection to champion the elegant slow fashion in the quick fashion world. I had the idea for a millennial and classic collection, but ethical, for a while when I went to college.
Style is always a thing for me, and I have always got that simple but chic and elegant style. Partially because I went to St Andrews, the alma mater of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, I kind of caught up the fashion scenes there.
Through travelling, I also started to explore the diverse interpretation of style and weaved my own identity from there.
So I had that composure and eye for an easy haute-couture line, but I didn’t really know how to manifest the idea of ‘millennial and classy’ into actions since I did not go to a design school.
It was only after I met my artisan partner Roberto, while I was studying in Nice, that we started doing business together. I give him imagery and a feeling of what I want, and he makes things, with his prior 40 years of experience in making goods.
Then, I suggest modifications on certain details, and he may implement them, as he is quite stubborn in holding up his own design and production.
From there, Zhuorui Fu Collection takes off. The brand was incorporated in New York and is coming to London. In fact, we are newly stocked by the London and New York-based award-winning showroom Wolf & Badger.
Sounds good! So what are your personal favourite designs and styles?
I draw a lot of inspiration from literature, cultures, and anything to do with oceans.
When I was in college, I was always around NY, London, and Paris. For me, the simplicity and ultra-chicness of Parisians has fundamentally shaped my style. On top of that, I am always that elegant and well-dress London girl.
Occasionally, I take on the NY cool pants and American casual style. Eventually, Hawaii and the ocean hippie style have liberated my take. I seldom wear excess jewellery or uncomfortable outfits.
Lastly, I think literature is the best way to instill a spirit into someone. I love reading about history, languages, cultures, etc. From the cultivation, I had my manners. We always say style comes from the spirit and the core of a person – garments are just garments.
It is how the person is and straightens his or her back without the garments.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Do social media, magazines or television influence your ranges?
I get inspiration from books, and book-formed imagery. I don’t watch TV and seldom films, unless really acclaimed films.
I read a lot of magazines, have been to quite a lot of places. I always go to the chicest district of the chicest city of a country and observe how people live their lives and wear things there. I sometimes go to museums and just soak myself into the arts.
I also look for style icons. B.B., Bond, Timberlake, etc. have good aesthetics. Some politicians, like Jagmeet Singh of Canada, or even some Brits have great style. I also follow some very curated Instagram accounts of elegant fashion from all over the world.
Some brands always give me inspiration, like Eton Shirts. I find that elegance and sustainability are all the same everywhere, but tweaked in the fine details.
Some bloggers or designers I have worked with also have great style, like Britt (Ins: beautyv.brains), Elena (Ins: figuraclothes). I have learned a lot from them. I also follow very naturally stunning models, such as Candice Swanepoel, but I don’t follow many pop stars or leading celebs.
I like real and natural photos, figures, and down-to-earth beautiful arts.
And how does running Zhuorui Fu Collection influence your lifestyle?
Quite a bit. I work a lot. Not much personal life or time to get deeper into my French or go surfing. I hope I can reach a good balance soon.
Besides time, money has also become a rare good. I used to go around adventuring quite a bit in mountains, oceans, etc. Now I guess all the outdoor money has been poured into ZFC.
Since being the brand, I also get more mindful of holding myself to a higher standard. I have already been careful of curating an elegant style of mine since a young age, but sometimes I do slack off.
Sometimes I say bad words, or stuff, and my companion will always say, “is this a royal act?” It is probably not. Similarly, I am already quite aware of doing good for the environment and recycle my coffee cup stuff. However, sometimes, I still use straws for my juices. My companion would say, “is this sustainable?”. I will then not use straws.
So ZFC made me a more gentle and better person with better manners.
What can we look forward to in the future from Zhuorui Fu Collection?
We will come to more stores, go to more events, and collaborate with some really talented and mindful designers around the world. I have been a customer for years with them. I hope we can do better things together and give really classy, millennial, and sustainable pieces to our customers.
We are also constantly curating contents on our social media to bring arts, culture, literature, ponderings to our audience and engage with them. Do like @zhuoruifucollection on Facebook or Instagram to chat with us.
Ultimately, I would like to have my own concept stores and make a bigger impact there. But one step a time.
We know that there are a lot of fantastic accessory businesses out there. Where do you see yourself fitting in with competition online and from the high-street chains?
We have our niche.
Our bags have their distinctive style, which should be trademarked soon. So you won’t find them elsewhere.
They are handmade in France with vachette, premium Italian calfskin, which is haute-couture quality without the cruelty. This differentiate us from Birkins and the like.
Plus, our haute-couture pieces are cheaper than them. I just don’t see a point of charging an insane margin for a bag.
Our bags are also haute-couture. Every piece is custom made by hand. We try to accommodate most of the customers’ modification requests, but we often fall short, as our atelier is quite small. However, most customers just purchase the bags as they are.
Once one cycle of the bags is sold out, we do not produce them again. Each bag will only appraise in time and can be passed down to the generations.
That sounds great, Zhu! And you have some exciting news for our Fashion & Style Directory readers, right?
In order to call for more awareness to environment, we would like to give out a coin bag to one of your readers.
You can view the coin bag at the top of the page. They are made with leftover bits and pieces from making bags. Hence, they are very sustainable as they use up resources.
We don’t sell them for now. They are the favourite insider piece of fashion editors we work with.
Keep your eye on our site, as we’ll be revealing in the coming days how you can win a Zhuorui Fu Collection coin bag.