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Life Of Faraz ‘Fuzz’ Ali

Life Of Faraz ‘Fuzz’ Ali
A model showcasing Faraz ‘Fuzz’ Ali’s designs.
October 14
20:20 2017

Life of Faraz ‘Fuzz’ Ali is as colourful and exciting as his work.

For Fuzz his life centres on providing and growing fashion and lifestyle products and services.

He has been the longest serving Chairman of the Fashion Council of Fiji and a lot has been achieved under his leadership.

He is also often referred to as the Pacific’s premier Stylist and Creative Director

“I fell into this role very early on after I had released the first Mai Life Style magazine.

“I suppose the publicity I received from the magazine helped to secure my position at the time.

“I saw at the time a need to solidify our position as an industry, and to redefine fashion in our social psyche.

“A lot of people at the time saw it as a hobby, I think we have been successful in creating an understanding of fashion as a business.”

One of one with Faraz ‘Fuzz’ Ali

You are an entrepreneur as well as a fashion icon in Fiji. Tell us about the work that you do inside and outside the fashion industry?

I believe I have a natural entrepreneurial spirit, although focus has always been an issue because I get so excited about new projects.

As I’m getting older I’m learning to balance my excitement for the new with continued investment and attention for the old.

I have had experience across multiple industries – I worked as an art consultant in Sydney with a wonderful multi-site gallery before opening my first business, a small bar and club on the edge of night life hotspot Kings Cross which I ran for about three years before I decided to move home.

I actually came home by accident excited to work with Mai Life to launch the Pacific’s first luxury fashion and lifestyle magazine of which I was the editor.

My most recent fashion related project is the House of Design in Suva which is a boutique that follows a social entrepreneurship model where I have a collective of designers, who I hope will eventually graduate to having their own boutiques.

My primary business focus though is developing a brand of serviced apartment hotels in Nadi called Hibiscus Keys with my next big project beginning in a few months.

In between all of this I have always been involved in arranging fashion shows (small scale in Sydney for student designers) and been developing my skills as a stylist, even having styled a shoot for a street label in New York called Stud Muffin while I lived in Sydney.

Of course working with major designers here at home like Robert Kennedy and Naina for their seasonal campaigns.

I’ve also been the official stylist for Miss World Fiji 2014, 2015, and 2017. So I guess you could say that generally my life centres around providing and growing fashion and lifestyle products and services.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your role as the Chairman of the Fashion Council of Fiji?

I fell into this role very early on after I had released the first Mai Life Style magazine.

I suppose the publicity I received from the magazine helped to secure my position at the time.

I saw at the time a need to solidify our position as an industry, and to redefine fashion in our social psyche.

A lot of people at the time saw it as a hobby, I think we have been successful in creating an understanding of fashion as a business.

It has certainly been a role I have enjoyed.

It’s been a challenge trying to have people understand that creative industries are worth investing time and money in.

Ultimately I really wanted to see growth of the industry so that we all could have a bigger role in it. I have been criticised for my methods at time, but I think my team and I have gotten the job done very well.

Fashion as expression is so incredibly significant to individual and collective identity. Also to be able to contribute to the development of an industry that supports a creative option for young people is so incredibly fulfilling.

I think it’s important for people to start to recognise the arts sector as creative industries, and fashion is a great entry point towards this understanding. After all, we all live our lives in clothes. We are essentially walking art.

When did your love for fashion and design develop?

I’ve always been a little bit quirky and have always been involved in creative things. I painted, played the piano, danced, then I came to fashion, styling and creative direction in particular and it just stuck. I loved it.

The canvas being a real live human being – the ability to turn someone into art. I guess my mother always dressed really well and has always had a specific edge to the way she dresses.

I remember in the 90s when I was very young she would go to work on a Saturday in high waisted jeans with her shirt button just over halfway down before she tied a knot between the two sides of the unbuttoned bottom half.

She’d top this off with big sunglasses and heels. I suppose watching her all those years had an impact on the way I see fashion and design in general. A way to express, emote, present, even before you open your mouth.

You are often referred to as the Pacific’s premier stylist and creative director. Did you study this at University?

It is lovely that I am perceived by some to be the best, but I am still learning. I just want to make a point that as creative people we should never get too comfortable when someone tells us we’re good.

Fashion moves and changes. Yes of course people say “style is forever” but style is abstract, fashion is now, current, happening, and is the vehicle to create style.

But no, I didn’t study this at university, most stylists actually don’t necessarily study styling, although some do. I think it’s just a natural thing, an innate sense that you sharpen through practice, the same as a painter.

I studied economics, philosophy and performance studies at the University of Sydney, but I was styling even then! Funnily enough I’m now enrolled in a Masters of Finance programme by distance through the London School of Economics and Political Science. So never really studied fashion as such.

Give us an insight into your inspiration before each shoot? Do you have a common theme or signature?

Well I pray to be honest and sit in silence and meditate on what’s ahead. I am moved by the times of course, I don’t like to be stagnant. I can’t explain it, it just happens.

As for a common theme, I suppose I lean towards the urban, sharper, darker expressions in photographs. My styling will always have some element or inflection of punk.

How does your love of fashion relate to your other businesses?

Fashion and style are everything. It’s about the way you live your life. The House of Design is directly related to fashion obviously, whereas Hibiscus Keys is a lifestyle product and fashion is about lifestyle.

I am heavily involved in and particularly interested in the aesthetics of my projects. When you look at a building, the first thing you make an assessment on is whether it is beautiful or not, it’s human nature.

So developing a brand of apartment hotels is essentially styling by a different name and using different tools.

You have presented controversial shows during your showcases at Style Fiji such as the ‘Teddy Bear’ show. Can you tell us about this?

To this day I still don’t understand why it was such a big deal. I was playing around with the idea that even under our various facades essentially we are kids at heart.

The Teddy Bear was a representation of the models inner self. Having said that, all art is supposed to start a conversation, and I am pleased that each year that’s what happens.

We get to step back and assess why we feel certain things are taboo in society. I hope for a time though when we are slightly less conservative.

How does it feel being a somewhat controversial figure?

I’ve never really seen myself as controversial, I certainly don’t mean to be. But I hope that my life inspires others to live openly and express themselves freely.

You were the first Editor of Fiji’s first luxury fashion and lifestyle magazine (Mai Life). What was this experience like?

It was interesting and a challenge because our industry doesn’t have the same resources that larger economies do.

My publisher Naziah gave my partner Ilai and I complete freedom though as a team to do whatever we wanted so I was able to push a few of my personal social agendas of gender equality, gender identity, freedom of expression, ending taboos around nudity and so forth.

It was definitely one of the many highlights of my life being able to bring those publications out and I will always be grateful.

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs out there?

Do what you love and don’t give up. There are so many naysayers out there who will try to talk you out of your dreams.

Also remember that it takes self investment, and as I’ve recently learnt more so, a total hands on approach.

Learn from wherever you can. Sometimes in Fiji our extended family set up can put a lot of pressure on you to conform – don’t give into it.

No one has to understand you, as long as you know where you’re going just stay the path. But make sure you know where you’re going!

What’s the long-term plan for your business?

Growth of course is always the plan and building my brands. I also plan to release my own fashion line soon so that’s something to look out for at the House of Design.

“Life of Fuzz” has been my online identity for a number of years now so I’m releasing a line under the same name which reflects my personal island punk aesthetic.      

How do you think the fashion industry in Fiji can improve and what does the future of the industry look like to you?

All members of the industry need to be able to accept criticism.

It’s a big bad world out there and people say some awful things. I find that maybe because we are a bit sheltered from that there is a tendency to think that criticising is bad. It isn’t. It’s just someone expressing their view.

When major designers get slammed for their runway presentations they don’t get offended, they get better.

The future looks brilliant! We have seen a lot of growth, particularly in the last three years and I think we’re seeing designers graduating to small business owners.

We also have a whole lot of new fashion photography businesses pop up, and also the growth of the hair and beauty industry as a result. All these things are related, so we’re definitely in a good place.

Any other comments will be much appreciated?

To follow me on social media

Instagram: life_of_life

Twitter: lifeoffuzz

What Fuzz Likes Outside Of Work:

Magazines subscribing to

Australian Vogue, Italian Vogue, and Vanity Fair and MaiLife.

What kind of content interests you?

Fashion of course. I like to keep up to date with what’s happening in the global industry, particularly the business of fashion. I’m also always interested in reading opinion pieces on race relations globally and the current state of decolonised people like ourselves.

Websites you read everyday

Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post, The New York Times, Business of Fashion, and I’m always on Wikipedia reading about random stuff.

Watched or listened to lately

Rewatching Gossip Girl! American Horror Story Cult. Listened to a lot of Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Boys II Men, Whitney Houston, Missy Elliot and the like.

Most active on

Facebook and Instagram in equal parts, although I’m starting to warm up to Twitter after resisting it for a while.

What our media can do better

There’s nothing exciting out there in the market, nothing that gets people thinking. We just get told what we already know. It would be great to see media outlets pushing boundaries in reporting and creative expression.

Loves to do

I love to read, and binge watch TV series. I also enjoy travelling to new places.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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