“True luxury must be rare and not available to everyone”
Azhar Safinova is a young buyer and entrepreneur breathing fashion around the world for years. Last September she opened an independent luxury store in Milan. Aere Store is in via Lanzone and the key word is good taste. Azhar carefully selects brands for an original and high-quality offer.
Who are you and what was the path that took you where you are?
I am the founder of Aere Store, and a small online and offline store of independent luxury brands based in Milan. I am Kazakh. After graduating and working in the fashion industry in England and France, I then decided to launch a startup in Italy, Dei Due Mondi.
Did you always dream to open your e-commerce?
It wasn’t exactly a dream. I started as a B2B buying consultant, but many final customers started making direct requests. I thus studied the Italian and European markets and realized that there were no e-commerce sites with a niche offer.
Your buying is very exclusive. We are talking about independent luxury. Wasn’ t it risky? What are the best responding countries?
It was very risky but it was worth it. Our strongest markets are still America and Northern Europe, but in the last few months customers from China and South Korea are increasing. The countries that are used to buying online are those that react better. In Italy offline is still much stronger than online.
In September you decided to open a physical store, Aere. How is the Milanese audience responding?
I am very pleased to see that the reaction is positive. Aere is a very special store compared to others in Milan. Our clients belong to different age groups and are fondly in love with our selection of clothing and accessories. For instance, they like handmade items with the highest quality fabrics like Taroni silk or Mongolia Grade A eco-cashmere.
How important was the exclusivity you achieved from different brands?
It is important not to offer our customer a product that can be bought anywhere, a trivial product. True luxury must be rare and not available to everyone. For this reason, many products are exclusive to Aere Store.
The use of social networks, Instagram in particular, is leading to a certain massification of fashion that reaches users very quickly. How do you see the future of fashion and shopping?
I am waiting for Instagram to expand the shopping functionality also in Italy. For now this option only exists in America. As for fashion, I’m not very positive unfortunately, I just hope that “fast fashion” will stop existing! I believe that eventually online stores will prevail, while the world of buyers / showrooms will disappear.
Have you ever thought about designing your own line?
No. I am not a designer and I will never be. A true designer is an architect, thus a person who can create a complex product from an idea.
Plans for the future?
Still a secret.
What are your favorite places in Milan?
I love recommending my favorite places! There are many in Milan but the ones I prefer are a bit hidden.
For breakfast and lunch L’Arabesque in Largo Augusto, where they use slow food / seasonal products in a very chic setting. As restaurants for dinner, I recommend Piccola Cucina in Viale Piave. Chefs with great talent prepare dishes using historic Lombard ingredients.