Baylee Zwart is the definition of a modern luxury designer. Zwart is a sustainable jewelry designer based in Los Angeles. Her line, AZLEE is made of 18k gold, hand-painted enamel and rare-cut stones. With a focus on giving back to the community, AZLEE’s pieces are made locally in Los Angeles by master craftsman. The enamel is hand painted by a local artist and the jewelers are all top craftsman in their field. Baylee’s design aesthetic is characterized by her fresh perspective and restrained approach. Her pieces feel modern and interesting, yet effortlessly wearable.
After being recognized for her personal engagement ring design, a one-of-a-kind shield diamond set in 18k yellow gold, her Custom Atelier line was born. AZLEE Atelier offers clients an incredibly special experience of creating, custom one-of-a-kind pieces that feature rare-cut diamonds she has collected over many years. Zwart collaborates directly with clients to bring their dream pieces to life through an intimate and personalized experience.
As an avid surfer and scuba diver, the ocean holds a very special place in Zwart’s heart. Each year the designer supports a different ocean-related cause via a portion of proceeds from the sale of her collection. AZLEE’s current partner, SeaLegacy, combines decades of experience in conservation, photography and communications with the latest digital and social technologies, to build a healthy future for our oceans.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
BAYLEE ZWART: I draw inspiration from women. I have certain women in mind when I design. Thinking, will she wear this? Will she adore this? I also think of women who are fearless in expressing themselves through fashion. They inspire my creatively because they make the possibilities feel endless. It makes me feel adventurous as a designer. I am also very influenced by interior design and furniture. Interiors feel like jewelry but just on a larger scale. Interior design defines what you are surrounded by and jewelry is what you wear in those settings, so for me the way you experience both of those things is very intimate. I've recently been diving into the Art Deco era, especially with French Art Deco interiors, approach and perspectives. I also love ancient civilizations, symbols and meanings which are seen throughout our collections.
Who is the girl you design for?
BZ: Sophisticated women, who value pieces that stand the test of time but feel relevant. Women who want something that feels discovered, unusual but approachable for every day. Women who want something all of their friends don't have. Women who appreciate quality and craftsmanship and the allure of femininity but in an understated way.
What's your go-to piece right now?
BZ: I am in love with our new Baguette & Pave Diamond Hoops. They feel so modern and interesting but pair seamlessly with anything. They also have a Deco flair to them which I love mixing with our ancient coins.
Why is supporting the ocean so important to you?
BZ: My love for the ocean and animals runs deep and our ocean health is a vital part of the well being of our entire planet. I surf and scuba dive and have seen first hand how our decisions affect the ocean. I feel a responsibility that if I am creating more products in this world, I need to offset that as much as possible. Since I am not dedicating my life to addressing the decline of our ocean's health and the animals who live there, I want to support the amazing organizations around the world who are.
What are some of your favorite spots in LA?
BZ: I'm vegetarian and I love creative, high-quality food, so my go-to's are Cafe Gratitude, Satdha Thai and Gjelina. For shopping, Mohawk West & Guild. Coffee Groundworks, drinks Venice Beach Wines. I also love going to Paint Night which is painting and drinks at various locations.
What are you most excited about for summer?
BZ: I love hiking behind the Palisades and I love surfing during the summer... it's much warmer and more enjoyable! It's been a while since I've been scuba-diving, so hopefully, we'll head out to Catalina for that this summer.