When you’re given a grounding in your future from as young as five it’s hardly surprising to see the outcome pulled off with such finesse and flair, it makes you realise that that passion and creativity was innate in you the whole time.
By Faith & Grace is the innovative brainchild of South African designer Tasneem “Tazz” Wright, a label she started with less than $200 in her bank account and the will of God in her spirit. “I felt that God had dropped this into my spirit one day and I couldn’t ignore it,” she says. “I was restless and agitated for days!! I needed to start something!!! So I went ahead with $192 in my bank account and started BFG, and I never looked back, the blessings have been endless!”
The designer’s faith is undoubtedly at the core of everything she does and everything she is, as she bases her brand’s principles on the need to have faith in God in his timing and conducting her business affairs with grace. From these basic values sprung the inspiration for her label. While her religion has guided her in countless ways, Tazz reveals that her creativity and sartorial leaning was already in her blood. “My mum was a fashion designer and I remember wearing a pair of cons and a red checked shirt when I was 5 years old and absolutely hating it, little did I know my mum was investing in my fashion future and knowledge.”
This exposure from such a young age to her mother’s talent and eye for style is what has served as Tazz’s finite fashion education, from appreciating its history to understanding how it works from the business sense. A self-confessed workaholic, Tazz asserts that her method when it comes to the running of her own creative venture begins with prayer, “I pray first, ask God to guide me,” she says. “I do a lot of research,” she explains of her design process, “I use very timeless pieces to inspire me. I am an absolute fan of Valentino and Givenchy, two brands that bring you classic and edgy, combining the two styles and you create ultimate beauty!” Coco Chanel, is Tazz says, another significant inspiration in devising her timeless aesthetic.
That timelessness is evident in every piece Tazz creates, from the iconic PrepKat white shirt to the black “Band of Kats” overalls, each item bearing the signature BFG twist from the shirt’s dropped shoulders to the monochrome print on the inner of the overalls. A busy Mum to three beautiful girls, Tazz confesses to spreading her work out across the house with the couch being her favourite spot in particular, “Being a mum of three makes it really hard to sit at a desk,” she laughs, “I multitask daily.”
Crediting God with her creativity, Tazz is quick to acknowledge her mother as being equally central to her success, “she always told me that what comes from inside your heart is always beautiful.” Remarking on the fact that her brand holds faith at its core, Tazz acknowledges that this element has proven particularly lucrative in attracting customers. “They all make this worth it every day,” she says.
Her designs have gained worldwide esteem, a joyous fact Tazz attributes to Instagram and the loyal following the social media platform has garnered her. However, she has come to learn that while the world of Insta can serve as a valuable support to a small business, there are boundaries to be aware of. “Understanding the level of familiarity and professionalism has been my biggest lesson learnt since starting my business,” she says. “It’s so important to remain professional.”
As far as professional pursuits go, Tazz reveals her preference to work with unique materials in order to retain that individuality that resonates through her line. In fact given the opportunity, Tazz confesses singer Gwen Stefani would be her ideal subject for a custom designed piece on account of her individual style, “I think her family would completely rock overalls but a custom design,” she says. From custom creations to ideal collaborations, the designer professes a love for the denim brand Levi and its stand out appeal.
With big dreams come exciting possibilities, “I believe that everything happens for a reason,” the designer says. “The rules I live by is to be the light in the world, to remember that only God can judge you and that kindness comes at no expense.” If faith is what drives her ambition and talent, then comfort is the key to its foundation, “we are the home of overalls,” says Tazz, “and I think in black, I love black, I wear black, black is my fashion comfort zone.”
Comfort is the new black according to By Faith & Grace as its creative head Tazz has reimagined it to become a staple, a signature, a style force to be reckoned with.