Behind The Catwalk

 Unveiling Azim Uddula’s unique perspective

By Ayman Anika

Hailing from Bagerhat, a vibrant southwestern district in the Khulna division, Azim Uddula has made waves not only within the borders of Bangladesh but also in the global fashion industry. With a strikingly chiselled face and an aura of charisma, Azim has emerged as a true icon in the realm of modelling. 

In the ever-evolving world of fashion, Azim Uddula is a name to watch. As he continues to inspire aspiring models in Bangladesh and beyond, MWB caught up with Azim to learn the story of his rise to stardom and the trials and triumphs that helped him to come this far. 

You are one of the most prominent models our country has. How did you get into modelling?

Honestly, I had never pictured myself as a model. I was admitted into Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology in 2010 to study fashion designing and there, some of my friends were already involved with modelling. 

I have always been involved with sports – especially, football and cricket – so, my friends suggested I try my luck in modelling. Consequently, a friend of mine introduced me to a magazine named Glitter. I prepared my portfolio with Glitter and luckily, they liked my photos and featured them in their magazine. 

Even after this photo shoot, the journey had not been easy for me as I didn’t know anyone in the industry and back then, access to the internet was limited. Still, I tried to find contacts and submitted my pictures to different magazines, namely Ice Today and Canvas. Fortunately, they liked my pictures, and after doing a couple of photo shoots, I got introduced to well-established photographers, who provided me with the necessary guidance. 

Nevertheless, the first major break I got was by doing a shoot for Ecstasy, and soon after that, I did a TVC for Banglalink, which was also a big achievement for me. 

In short, success didn’t come to me in one single photo shoot! It took years of patience and dedication to be in the place I am right now.    

Many models have a signature style or look. How would you describe your unique style, and what sets you apart from other models?

Similar to everyone else, I have a unique personality. So, I always choose the look that reflects my personality well, and weather condition is also important for me. I wear the clothes that I find comfortable. 

But frankly, my style is always evolving. I travel to many places, meet different people and encounter diverse cultures – these factors greatly influence my fashion sense – yet, no matter what I wear or where I go, suits will always be my favorite.     

Whether it is India, England, or Paris, you have graced the cover of many magazines and done photo shoots. Could you tell us about some of the most memorable moments or projects in your modelling career so far?

Looking back, I can remember many life-changing moments that shaped my career! Among them, the recognition I received from Integrity Magazine at the 74th Cannes Film Festival has been a defining moment of my life. 

I have other memories to be grateful for – from signing with UK-based Zone Model Management in 2012 to working as a brand ambassador for Korean cosmetics brand VONESTIS – the list is long. 

I enjoyed participating in “Rajasthan Heritage Week” held in India and doing photo shoots there. Honestly, I cherish each and every opportunity I have received so far.

You have been working with fashion icon Bibi Russel for a while now. Tell us a bit about your experience working with her.

Bibi Russel is an inspiring figure, and I have learned countless valuable lessons from her. Since 2012, I have been working with her and been a part of her fashion shows and photo shoots. Recently, I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with her on the “Blue Wrap Project Runway.” She always comes up with something new and innovative, and I admire this trait of hers.  

You shared the International Star Award by Integrity Magazine during the 74th Cannes Film Festival with American fashion designer Joshua Moon and worked with his mother Grace Moon. Can we expect any collaboration from both of you soon?

Grace Moon is dear friend and colleague of mine and I had an amazing time working with her. We share ideas now and then and are planning to collaborate soon. If we plan something together, everyone will definitely know. No matter who I collaborate with, I will always try to showcase our heritage and culture.

The fashion industry can be competitive and demanding. What challenges have you faced?

The fashion industry, or showbiz altogether can undoubtedly be a very competitive place. If you want to stay ahead, you need to keep upgrading yourself with new skills and knowledge. 

I have tried my best to keep myself up to date with new trends and styles – for example, I started out in 2010, and without knowing anyone or having any connections, I went to Milan to gain more knowledge about modelling. I did this to stay ahead of the curve. Perhaps for this reason, I haven’t faced any challenges that I couldn’t overcome.   

Who are your role models or sources of inspiration in the fashion world, both globally and within Bangladesh?

I am wholeheartedly grateful to my parents and they have been my major source of inspiration. I am incredibly thankful to Riyad Siddiqui, owner of Cat’s Eye, who has helped me with guidance, and I still talk to him if I am in need of any sort of advice. 

If I have to name people from the global fashion industry, I would say designs by the British fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen are my favorite, and I admire British fashion model Davin Gandy. 

What are your plans for your clothing line AZ?

AZ is a passion project of mine, and I ventured into this project to try something different – a clothing line that will introduce new patterns, cuts, and fabric living up to international standards. 

 I launched AZ in 2019, and my clothing line mostly focuses on men’s urban wear. I hope to reach fashion-conscious individuals with trendy and high-quality clothing options.

Aside from modelling, do you have any other interests that you’re passionate about?

I love jogging and travelling, but many people might not know, I am very much passionate about social work. I set aside a portion of the profit I receive from AZ to donate to the less fortunate. I have invested in tree plantation projects and recently, I helped a differently-abled rickshaw puller. 

What’s next for Azim Uddula? 

I want to get more involved with social work. But honestly, I haven’t worked out any specific plans. Nevertheless, this much I can say for sure – wherever life takes me, I will try to make peace with it and be happy.  

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