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Where a Designer Finds Inspiration in Marfa

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Courtesy of Aza Ziegler

A born-and-raised Californian designer finds creativity in a small Texan town.

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Aza Ziegler, a California-raised, New York-trained, and Los Angeles-based clothing designer, sells her surf/skate inspired brand Calle Del Mar in locations all over the world. Her unique, West Coast-inspired style is directly influenced by her roots in California—a location that shaped her creativity, worldview, and professional perspective. For a change of scenery and influence, Ziegler travels to Marfa, Texas, to hunker down and gather fresh inspiration. We asked Ziegler to take us along on her desert escape and guide us through her favorite destinations in this secluded art hub in the Lone Star State.

Describe how your upbringing in California influenced the brand you design today.

When Calle Del Mar first started to manifest, I was living in New York, working long hours and dreaming of the ease of a California summer. Growing up in California was already a huge part of my personal style, but it became an even more prominent part of my identity when I moved out of state. Calle Del Mar is the name of the street where I spent my summers and weekends growing up—where the ocean meets the mountains. I wanted to design a line that evoked a similar feeling to the one you get driving through those streets with the windows down, chasing the sun before it melts into the ocean.

Why do you travel to Marfa, Texas (a destination so far from the ocean) for artistic influence for Calle del Mar?

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My initial inspiration for Calle Del Mar  was my obsession with vintage surf and skate culture and my longing for California, but it has evolved into my relationship with landscape, nature, and most importantly color. When I first went to Marfa, Texas,  I was blown away by the people, art, culture, and vibrancy in this town that is so far removed—it’s about a 45-minute drive from any other town in Texas on all sides.

What inspires you in Marfa, Texas?

The energy in Marfa inspires me—the colors, the ease of life, the sky. I love the simplicity of architectural design there. The town is filled with artists, writers, musicians, designers, photographers, tastemakers, and stylists who were drawn to this place for the lifestyle it offers. Every time I go it has changed—but that’s the beauty of it.

How is travel important to your perspective as a designer?

My parents traveled all over the world as artists and writers, so sometimes I believe that it’s built into my DNA. A new place always clears my mind, and I think that getting out of your comfort zone is important for creativity. On an artistic level, travel influences my designs, but also on a completely practical level, it helps me see how my clothes fit into many cities. The palette for the collection I am working on now is completely inspired by Marfa’s landscape and the colors I encountered there. I have lists of places I want to see, and I always bring Calle Del Mar with me. 

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