25 Most Intriguing Chicagoans: Azeeza Khan

Elle Cashin | September 10, 2019 | People

"It’s not by luck; it’s not by mistake. It’s been blood and sweat that I’ve put into the business,” Azeeza Khan told us in our November 2012 issue.



Azeeza Khan launched her eponymous label in 2012 with no outside funding, experience in fashion or entrepreneurial background. Now she’s a top seller nationwide—and a fashion force globally.

You took the leap from corporate marketing to fashion with no prior experience in design. What was behind that decision? I was very successful in my career, but it was unfulfilling. I gave myself a year to ensure that the company was profitable, and within three months, we had hit that mark. My motto in business is let the experts do what they do. We use the best pattern makers in the world; we’re at the same factories as The Row and Ralph Lauren Black Label. Every day is a learning experience and a challenge.

What has been your coolest ‘made it’ moment since launching the line? Part of being successful is being a little bit insatiable. The Barneys partnership and the credibility that came with it was instrumental. Now we’re dressing Barbra Streisand. And she’s so lovely and so into the clothes; she’s very supportive.

What are your words to live by? In business, especially fashion, ‘don’t compare yourself to anyone else.’ Even in my personal life, it’s very applicable—many times you forget what your own voice is. Whether you have a $300 million company or are looking for funding for an idea, everybody has just as many challenges; just as many highs and lows. You have to have your own strong vision and go with that.

Photography by: EVAN SHEEHAN