Sitting down to do an interview with Aneeqah Stellenboom of Phi Casa, I’m delighted to get started asking my questions! Unfortunately her partner in crime – Ilhaam Dalwai – is sick today and can’t make the meeting. Together they own and run Phi Casa… a fashion label in Cape Town, South Africa.
The name is derived and inspired by the Greek symbol Φ ( Phi – 1.618 ) , which represents the perfect number as well as the perfect balance in all that exists. Phi Casa aspires to create a world where extraordinary beauty, grace and art exists in immaculate form, while finding the perfect balance in relation to one another. The enchantment of pure femininity, inspired by all the creations surrounding us, with endless possibilities for igniting free spirit and charm within thereby creating style and poise all under the name Phi Casa. They offer women the opportunity to explore their inner and outer personification of beauty and to be inspired by the earth and its natural works of art without pretence.
Like the air that you breathe, endeavour to freefall and be inspired!
Tamika: Where are you from originally?
Aneeqah: Cape Town. Both of us.
Tamika: Where did you go to school?
Aneeqah: I went to Kensington High and Ilhaam went to the Iqra Academy.
Tamika: What kind of training did you do for design, if any?
Aneeqah: Absolutely nothing! We both just sketch really well and have an eye for art. I’m currently a make-up artist in the industry, having had no prior training. Ilhaam does our styling. We both just found a passion for fashion after obtaining our qualifications in entirely different fields! But we feel that our background educations in engineering and marketing actually help us with the fashion. I studied Marketing at Varisty College and Ilhaam has her Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town (UCT).
Tamika: When did your label start and where can we find your clothes?
Aneeqah: It started a year ago, as an idea. We always wanted to create something along the lines of a fashion lifestyle. We launched our first summer collection one year ago. We stock our clothes at Runway in Cavendish. You can find them there… or on our Facebook page!
Tamika: Where did you find the money for your first collection or even outfit that you designed – parents, fundraising events?
Aneeqah: Our personal savings.
Tamika: What are your influences, mainly? What are you inspired by?
Aneeqah: We actually have an array of influences. I have a love for art and history and Ilhaam has a love for science and process. But we mostly find our inspiration and influences from everyday things around us. We use those influences when we design our clothes. Our styles are different, but combined they make a new collection with each outfit in it complementing the other very well. Over and above all, our influences come from the Earth. We have Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and Kate Middleton as style icons.
Tamika: What’s in the pipeline for you at the moment – what collection, fashion show, event etc.?
Aneeqah: We are launching our Winter Collection on the 1st of May this year (2012). We are calling it “New York Chic”. At the moment, aside from stocking at the boutique, we are currently stocking our clothing at fashion markets – such as the City bowl market and the Fledge market. We do hope to go the route of online shopping as well as to stock our collections in other well- known designer showrooms in Cape Town, Sandton and Durban….but that’s in the future….fingers crossed.
Tamika: Have you won any awards?
Aneeqah: Not yet. Although we have been featured on Top Billing’s blog. We have also done big fashion shows including one that was hosted at the Grand Daddy Hotel, for a well-known fashion magazine, Fab Mag.
Tamika: What designer do you look up to?
Aneeqah: Vivienne Westwood for her wackiness! And Coco Chanel for her grace and femininity. We also like Victoria Beckham and Nicole Richie for their awesome style and for the fact that they, too, have never studied anything along the lines of fashion and yet they have very successful fashion labels.
Tamika: Are you planning on staying in South Africa?
Aneeqah: We are, most definitely. We feel that South Africa is where it’s going to be hip and happening in the near future in terms of the fashion scene.
Tamika: Where do you party, usually?
Aneeqah: We actually don’t! We prefer places like Bungalow in Clifton or Buena Vista social club.
Tamika: What’s in the boot of your car right now?
Aneeqah: Loads and loads of make-up!
Tamika: Do you have siblings?
Aneeqah: I do – a brother and a sister. Ilhaam has two brothers and one sister.
Tamika: What does your family do?
Aneeqah: My dad is an attorney and my mother is a caterer. Ilhaam’s parents are both service managers at Telkom.
Tamika: What’s a typical day for you?
Aneeqah: A normal day for us consists entirely of dreaming … just kidding! We plan our collections and photoshoots and are always looking for new opportunities to better ourselves.
Tamika: Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
Aneeqah: We would absolutely love to have our very own lifestyle boutique – oh, and we would love to see our collections make their way to the runways of fashion week!
Tamika: What’s one interesting thing about you that your followers don’t you?
Aneeqah: Hmm…we both love to xbox! Hehe! And that my first love is make-up artistry… it calms me! I never studied it but after doing my first job I’ve taken to it in a big way. Here is Bollywood-style make-up I did for a shoot not so long ago:
Tamika: Name a place you love.
Aneeqah: The beach! With a relaxed crowd and music.
Tamika: Do you do any charity work?
Aneeqah: Yes we do. We are big on social responsibility. That is one of our core values. A certain percentage of each collection we sell goes to charity – including orphanages and charities centered on spreading awareness for different causes.
Tamika: What do you tell yourself when you’ve finished your latest work/creation?
Aneeqah: “Shoo, I can’t believe it’s finally finished!”
If you would like to check out their Facebook Page, click HERE.