Cefinn Sirens - Zeena Shah

Cefinn Siren
We are delighted to introduce our latest Siren - Art Director and Designer (among many other things!), Zeena Shah.

We had a great day with Zeena in her fabulous Hackney studio, styling her edit of our latest collection and sitting down to discuss summer fashion, her love of creating things and the benefits of embracing a life full of colour. Plus career highlights - from becoming a published author to presenting on TV to designing jewellery and everything in-between. Zeena is one busy woman!

Tell us about how it all started?

I started my creative career journey at Chelsea College of Art graduating with a degree in Printed Textiles. I have always loved making things, printed fabric and its construction and fell in love with the printmaking process at art school. I used to spend hours in the dye lab mixing colours to print with. I’ve always thrived with variety and have always known I am my most productive when working on more than one project at a time and so my career has been really organic in that respect. In recent years I have been working as a presenter more and am so excited about what this means not only as a brown woman and for representation but also for how craftsmanship and colour are perceived.

What sparked your interest in the creative industry?

My mum! I’ve always loved making things and from a young age my mum would encourage my sisters and I to make every 90’s craft kit; you would be right in thinking pom pom dogs and basket weaving. It really sparked a passion for drawing and sewing and so later down the line fashion and textiles was an obvious fit. It’s funny looking back at where it all came from and noticing where my creativity was first inspired.


What has been a highlight of your career so far?

Gosh I feel so grateful to say there have been so many. Becoming a published author was certainly one of the biggest career moments for me with my first book ‘How to print Fabric’ in 2016. Since then, I’ve illustrated an adult colouring book, presented a TV show, grown a colour loving community on my instagram feed, designed jewellery and blankets with two of my favourite brands, and had our recent wedding featured in Vogue! There’s certainly many more to come but you’ll have to wait and see as they’re top secret for now.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Variety is the spice of life! I love being able to have a varied working week. One day I might be in my studio illustrating, the next I’ll be at a press event and the next on set shooting a campaign. It brings me such joy and I am so grateful to be able to have a job that works for me so perfectly. I do not miss my 9-5!

What is your favourite summer colour to wear and why?

It has to be pink! I think there’s a reason this shade has been one of the most popular (millennial pink!) There’s a shade to suit everyone and it really is so flattering and positive.

Any fashion rules you live by?

Fashion is about self expression, for me the way I dress is very much an extension of my personality.

What would your advice be to someone trying to incorporate more colour into their wardrobe?

If there’s anything the past two years have taught us it’s that we need to embrace the joy as much as we can. Colour can bring such joy to our mood and mental health and wellbeing and I am a huge advocate of the power of colour therapy.

Three tips to finding your colour confidence?

1. Start small - socks, accessories, nail polish are all a great way to introduce a pop of colour to your outfits. Once you start you’ll notice the difference these little changes can make to your mood and I guarantee they will start to become rather addictive.

2. Colour block it - This is an easy way to style colourful pieces, colour blocking is one of my favourite styling tricks. Just choose two complementary colours and off you go.

3. Go for it - Summer is a great time to embrace colour and print, not only will you feel more joyful but it’ll have the same effect on those around you so leave the black in the wardrobe I say.

What are your favourite Cefinn pieces from the current collection?

Definitely the knitted Meryl vest, what a beautiful and versatile piece that can be worn through the seasons. Layering is life especially when you have the British weather to contend with! As a print designer I’m also a huge fan of the use of print across the collection. The printed dresses are utterly stunning and wardrobe treasures!