Founder of Sauce Mag and Stylist
Auckland, New Zealand
Zeenat wears Admiral coat and Chambray trousers
Tell us about your background, how did you come to work in fashion, and develop your own platform?
It’s very hard to pinpoint when I first discovered fashion and my love for working in publishing, I think it might have been something from my subconscious, as no one in my family worked in the creative industry. I was born in Mumbai, I studied in an all-girls school, and I have a degree in Psychology and Political Science. I later studied fashion at Central Saint Martin’s in London focusing my time on Trend Forecasting and Fashion Marketing to get a bigger perspective on the industry. While I was there, thanks to some weird cosmic alignment, I ended meeting some amazing creatives, and I briefly worked with a showroom on London Fashion Week. I think it all kicked off from there.
After years of working in publishing (styling for Grazia magazine and a few European magazines ), I decided to move to New Zealand.
As for SAUCE, I noticed a gap in the market for a digital platform that bridges the gap between traditional and digital media and that’s sort of how the idea for SAUCE was under way. I wanted it to not only be a website/community platform on the forefront of diversity in fashion and beauty but also to really push the envelope and do more culturally important work.
We love your style, what would you say inspires how you dress? Who do you look to for style inspiration?
Thank you. That’s so kind. I am a 100% girl’s girl so it’s really all the women around me that inspire my personal style. I love watching real women on the streets, cafes, and quite often at the airports and train stations. I am always interested in real women rather than celebrities or magazines, which is ironic considering my life-long obsession with magazines.
What is your take on daily rituals? Do you have any?
I am big on daily rituals. I start my morning with Buddhist chanting for 10–15 minutes. It helps elevate positivity and evokes creative energy around me. I try and do this while I am still in an almost-awake-almost-asleep state and try and avoid looking at my phone until I’ve made my coffee. Sometimes, I skip chanting and that’s when I start to feel scattered and chaotic.
Who was the last person you cooked for, and what did you make?
The last person I cooked for was my husband and I made vegan enchiladas!
What are you reading / watching / listening to that is inspiring you at the moment?
I just finished Hot Milk. It was hypnotic and almost dream-like but in some ways deceptively simple. It’s so vivid in description and it almost made me feel like I was in southern Spain during a hot summer.
I am currently watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and it’s the best television series I’ve watched in a long time. It’s not really a show about food but about incredible journalism while having dinner and snacks in between. Some of the greatest conversations over an incredible meal.
And I have been listening to Deliciously Ella podcast. There was an episode I listened to recently featuring Mathew Walker, the award-winning author of bestseller Why We Sleep and it was all about sleep and the connection between sleep and our mental and physical health. I loved this one and highly recommend it.
Any words of wisdom that resonated with you recently?
I read this Seth Godin quote recently: “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic”, and it’s so true! I always try to remember this and create with love, authenticity, and with my community at the forefront.
Interview & photography by Greta van der Star.