Raised in Switzerland to an Egyptian mother and Iranian father, Soraya’s early life was a fusion of cultures and languages. Before she moved to London to study her Masters in Fashion Journalism at the London College of Fashion. During her studies, Soraya started her blog around style and fashion, before moving into work in PR and as a freelance stylist – a role she continues to this day. In her day-to-day life collaborating with global fashion brands, Soraya travels the world. She is known for combining colours and textures in a unique way – lead by her innate sense of aesthetics. Naturally creative and reserved, she has been practicing the art of yoga and meditation for over 10 years.
Soraya’s love of scent is rooted in childhood, when a comforter that smelled of home and treasured bottles of perfume travelled everywhere with her. She would tear scented strips and perfume adverts from fashion magazines, storing them in a secret scrapbook. Understanding the importance of fragrance with memory and our emotional state, she has worn different perfumes to mark out eras in her life, building a wardrobe of scent and an olfactive memory. This lifelong love affair with fragrance means that Soraya has always helped friends and family develop their wardrobes of both fashion and perfume, instinctively knowing which scents would suit loved ones.
Drawn to the mysterious art of astrology, Soraya believes in lucky stars and the importance of following paths laid out by the cosmos. A conversation with a friend, who asked her what would bring meaning to her life, followed by serendipitous meetings with people working in the fragrance industry were signs to Soraya that she should start creating perfumes. She immediately launched herself into research and taking classes. A trip to Grasse, the perfume capital of the world, where she met with perfumer Stéphanie Bakouche, perfumer and founder of Sensaba clarified for Soraya that she was in her element – perfume was meant to be, and she could feel it – and the conception of AZALEO followed shortly after.
Soraya’s collaboration with Stéphanie Bakouche is a natural partnership: Stéphanie’s roots are in North Africa, with an innate understanding of the cultures and philosophy that inform AZALEO. Together they worked in Stéphanie’s lab in Grasse, fine tuning the fragrances that form the initial collection, taking into account Soraya’s desire to create light and subtle perfumes with presence and longevity, and playing with the concept of layering together.