At this summer's JLI retreat in Miami I had the honor to meet incredible people and had some very interesting chats that I got to film for Real Talk.
My first meeting was with uber fashion IT girl and now superwoman Joyce Azria.
Joyce is the oldest girl of six children and daughter of BCBG’s legendary designer, Max Azria, who founded the brand in 1989, a contemporary clothing brand, in 2017 it had about 550 boutiques around the world and was sold in stores such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Nordstrom.
BCBG stands for the French phrase bon chic, bon genre, Parisian slang for “good style, good attitude.”
Joyce Azria grew up in Paris surrounded by culture and art, and then moved to Los Angeles, where she now lives with her own family.
Azria as the oldest daughter always felt a sense of responsibility to care for her younger siblings, which turned into a maturity that made her one of her father’s most trusted advisors.
Her father, Max Azria, was someone that most in the business referred to as “boss” or “designer.”, to Joyce he was simply “Dad” — a man who cared deeply for his family, his Sephardic heritage, and his spirituality.
There was Kiddush on Friday nights, Joyce recalls and, although her family was not observant there was a connection to and an appreciation for tradition.
At 26 years old she had already a lengthy resume, she had served as the design director for BCBG MAX AZRIA Swim and had launched her own high-end women’s wear line, JOYAAN.
Although her career was only beginning, Azria had a veteran eye for what worked, and what to do next, and the brand thrived under her creative direction. "Generation" was the next brand she created and was trendy, affordable, and successful.
While growing Generation, Joyce's curiosity and love for her own religion began to blossom.
Ironically, it was her upbringing in such a fast-paced world that led her to Orthodoxy in the first place.
Building up the family’s fashion brands was intense, Joyce says, and the people she got to know up close, who seemed to have glamorous lives on the surface, weren’t actually that happy.
She felt that something was missing, so started learning at the LA Aish and Chabad centers. She found a connection in the parshah classes. “I could always relate it to something that was going on in my life,” she says.
Eventually, one of the rabbis she was close to introduced her to her now-husband, Ilan Trojanowski, and they live an Orthodox lifestyle together with their 7 children.
The industry landscape continues to change, but for Azria, life is all about progressing and embracing the changes that come her way. “When I started to cover my hair, I think it was hard for everyone but for me. My family wasn’t used to the concept of a wig, but I didn’t mind it and it was a natural progression,” she says.
Keeping Torah and Shabbos is a source of inspiration for her, and learning to become more observant keeps her grounded and grateful along her journey. Changes, she insists, have been a wonderful part of her life.
Joyce Azria is a true believer. She has confidence, she believes in Hashem, she believes in and loves her big family! Her confidence is contagious, she carries herself with grace, and she inspires women all over the world with her story and her faith.