Alia was born passionate about creating. As a child, she loved nothing more than to draw fashion designs and nature, and she taught herself to knit, sew and make jewellery at an early age. These experiences formed the foundation of her creative career. Alia began making jewellery at the age of 12 with her friend, Swedish/Kenyan artist Catherine Anyango Grünewald while living in Kenya in the early 90s. Thinking “why not!”, their first pieces were wired coca-cola top earrings which they sold at a local fair. Alia continued to make and sell beaded wire jewellery through her teenage years in Zimbabwe. She credits her formative creative education to the inimitable Zimbabwean painter Helen Lieros, whose inspiring Saturday morning art classes at Gallery Delta sowed the seeds for further study in the arts.
Alia turned her passion for jewellery design into a career by completing a BA (Hons) in Jewellery, Silversmithing and Allied Crafts, at the Sir John Cass School of Art and Design in London. Here she developed her contemporary lace-making techniques by fusing her heritage and creative skills into an interdisciplinary craft form. Alia combines Southern African beadwork and British lace-making with metal textile techniques, and fuses these into ethereal natural forms. The bespoke Jewellery Couture collection is an exclusive, made-to-order range that is guaranteed to make a statement at any special event. The Everyday Couture, ready-to-wear, line represents chic, everyday elegance.
Born in Zimbabwe to a South African Cape-Malay Mother and an English Father, fine craft work runs in her family. Alia’s mother is a talented wedding cake decorator, her sibling Mishal is a multi-disciplinary designer, artist and photographer, and her paternal great-grandmother was a fine art painter. Alia’s childhood inspirations are lush nature under the African sky, where the violet dusk unveils a diamond studded Milky Way. Alongside her jewellery practice, Alia is a Professor of Creative and Business Enterprise at OCAD University in Toronto, Canada, where she teaches business to art, design and media students.