Composer Series: Zai Divecha

The Composers Series:
Visual Artist Zai Divecha

San Francisco-based artist Zai Divecha’s minimalist aesthetic is perfectly aligned with “Fewer, Better.” Zai handcrafts captivating paper artworks, pleated in repetitive series of "mountain" and "valley" folds. She brings the same level of attention and care to gift giving as she does to her art.

What resonates with you about “Fewer, Better Things”?

Fewer, Better has been my approach to clothes and accessories for as long as I can remember. I don’t shop that often, but when I do, I’m thoughtful about what pieces I choose to invest in. I wear the same couple outfits every week, so I want to make sure that those few items will hold my attention for a long time, and that they’ll age well.

What are the similarities between composing a work of art and composing a gift?

For me, it’s all about understanding my audience. When doing custom work for clients, I love understanding their vibe and style, and creating a piece with their feelings in mind. Gift-giving is similar: I enjoy thinking about what kinds of things will delight that specific person. I try to take into account their values, love languages, and needs.
What is your idea of the perfect gift?

It depends entirely on the recipient! I think the perfect gift is one that makes that specific person feel special, maybe a little spoiled, and above all, loved. For some, it’s that small luxury item that they’d never buy for themselves; for others, it might be an experience or adventure together.

I don’t always spend money on gifts, though. Sometimes a well-written card can hit the spot better than a physical item can. I often structure my cards as lists. For example, “Here are three things you’ve done in the last year that I’m really impressed by.” Or, “I want to share a few of my favorite memories with you, and explain why they stood out to me.” It sounds cheesy, but that kind of structure makes it easy to write a moving, heartfelt letter. Try it!
“Fewer, Better has been my approach to clothes and accessories for as long as I can remember. I wear the same couple outfits every week, so I want to make sure that those few items will hold my attention for a long time, and that they’ll age well.”
What Cuyana item best complements your work?

I’m into the Baby Alpaca Square Edge Cape. The angular corners, the folds in the drape, the cool gray lines and shadows…it's going to look good next to my pleated paper sculptures.
What’s one of the perfect gifts you’ve found this season?

My studiomate Emi Grannis is a metalsmith who makes fine gold jewelry and custom engagement rings. Her work is incredibly delicate and precious, but I often see her transporting her pieces in plastic baggies. Her work deserves better than that! I’m excited to give her the Mini Jewelry Case in Ecru. She loves creams and neutrals, and the color will let her pieces shine.
Your work is so detailed. What details about Cuyana products speak to you?

I love the dramatic collars, the little gold details, the drapey fabrics and the hardware on the bags. And big-picture, I’m into the company’s philosophy around manufacturing and supply chain.
“I think the perfect gift is one that makes that specific person feel special, maybe a little spoiled, and above all, loved.”
What other gifts are you excited to give this holiday?

My best friend Jasmin is going to love the Mini Circle Belt Bag. She’s active and adventurous, and I want her to have her hands free for dancing, hugging, or climbing art installations.
What makes an item worthy of making it into your minimalist closet?

I have to be obsessed with the item. If it’s not a “hell yeah!” then it’s a “no.” I don’t buy a lot of things, and I frequently pare down my wardrobe to just the items that make me really happy (Marie Kondo, anyone?). I go for low volume, high quality. For example, I only own one purse, and I’ve used it every single day since I bought it five years ago. That’s why I’m excited about getting my own Mini Circle Belt Bag (in black, of course – I don’t really do colors). I have a feeling I’m going to be wearing it for a long time to come. And I’m not mad about being a little matchy-matchy with my best friend!
Mini Circle Belt Bag
black
  • blood orange
  • black
  • stone
  • burgundy

Mini Circle Belt Bag

$140

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Mini Circle Belt Bag
burgundy
  • blood orange
  • black
  • stone
  • burgundy

Mini Circle Belt Bag

$140

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Caramel
caramel
  • nude
  • black
  • caramel

Mini Saddle Bag

$225
Mini Jewelry Case
ecru
  • red
  • mango
  • black
  • stone
  • blush
  • burgundy
  • passion fruit
  • ecru

Mini Jewelry Case

$105

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Caramel
black pebbled
  • black pebbled
  • black
  • stone
  • caramel

Leather Bag Tassel

$35

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Black
charcoal
  • black
  • camel
  • charcoal

Baby Alpaca Oversized Turtleneck Sweater

$195
Baby Alpaca Square Edge Cape
light heather grey
  • black
  • light heather grey
  • camel

Baby Alpaca Square Edge Cape

$215
Oversized Alpaca Sweater
charcoal
  • beige
  • black
  • light heather grey
  • blush
  • charcoal

Oversized Alpaca Sweater

$175