Madamette: Isabelle “IZZI”
Let’s just say we get a high from meeting dope women. No matter how many we encounter, each time is like the first time. Coming across Isabelle “Izzi”, from the accessories and jewelry line ZWAZO LIBRE, based out of Brooklyn NY, was perfect timing. She is a rare bread and has a story that inspires people faced with challenges to find light in any situation because you never know what will come from it. We had the opportunity to sit and talk with Izzy in her beautiful Flatbush brownstone apartment, about her life and how she started her exciting hand-made line of baubles .
MQ: When did you decide you wanted to become an accessories and jewelry designer?
ISABELLE: Well crazy enough, I never thought I would be a designer of anything. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, I graduated from Law school and passed the bar last year. Then life happen, I got sick and had to be in bed for months. I was devastated, I planned my life to be very different but then I started to
MQ: How would you describe your personal style?
ISABELLE’: My personal style is based on how I feel that day. It fluctuates with my moods but I try to be very daring and I coach myself to think outside the box. If I feel self concious about a particular part of my body and I wear things that will challenge myself to face it. Like for example, I’ll wear a belly top I if feel insecure about my stomach.
MQ: WoW that’s a cool way to face it.
ISABELLE: Thanks…. that spirit also trickles down to what my brand is all about. Zwazo Libre stands for “Free Bird” in Haitian Creole. It’s all about being bold and free. Being able to be yourself.
MQ: Love it! How long ago did you start?
ISABELLE: A month ago.
ISABELLE: Yes, I decided to launch it but I’ve be creating for a year now. After I graduated from law school last 2013, I got really sick and couldn’t get out of bad. On the road to recovery, I needed to find something to do to regain self-confidence so I started making jewelry. It started off not that great but after sometime I’ve gotten better and my friends and family wanted to wear my pieces. After more and more request, I decided to make it a business.
MQ: What a great way to find light in a life challenging experience. So many people are faced with circumstances beyond their control but not many understand that there are so many other avenues to explore to get them back on track or at least in better spirits. Then there are people like you who fight back.
ISABELLE: Yes I definitely plan on starting law career but for now I’m going to really push Zwazo Libre and not fight the draw and see where it goes. I’m so passionate about it so I want to keep it going.
MQ: What kind of law do you want to practice?
ISABELLE: International arbitration because I find that more interesting than court. I have experience in real estate law and I like that but cross borders experience will be really exciting.
MQ: When you create your pieces who are you thinking of?
ISABELLE: It depends on the piece. It’s not a particular person it’s really more about nature to be honest. However I do think about wearability and If the piece is actually possible to be worn as I see pre-crafted. Sometimes I get a little crazy because I really love constructing things with wires, stones and other cool things. So I put that all in to perspective to make sure what I’m trying to channel can really be worn. The stones I use, have meanings behind them because it’s all about the energy behind each piece. It’s all about the connection!
MQ: Since nature has a big influence on your collection, What part of the world do you channel your inspiration?
ISABELLE: My Haitian culture. My feather pieces represents carnival. The stole that you just snapped photos of, is made with natural cock feathers, turquoise moonstone and labradorite. Last year I made one for myself to wear to carnival and everyone loved it.
MQ: I love that! Caribbean culture has an amazing identity and carnival is a huge part of the Caribbean people. Carnival costumes which have lots of feathers also are inspired by the indigenous people.
ISABELLE: Yes it is and a lot of that culture is separated and lost. A lot of the Caribbean culture is connected to land, nature and spirituality. I really want to help bring that missing information to light with my brand.
MQ: You do custom made pieces as well?
ISABELLE: Yes for sure…. mostly custom, I hardly ever do the same piece twice so customers can always have an original. If they don’t make a connection with an current pieces than I’ll make a piece for them based on what they like.
Some cool Facts about IZZY
she wore a purple fro in law school
She loves to snowboard
She knows hows to do Henna
She studied Arabic Culture in college and lived in the Middle East for a few years
Connect with @ZWAZOLIBRE on Instagram And SHOP ZWAZOLIBRE ON LINE