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June 04, 2023 4 min read

Beautiful and bright – in every sense of the word – Zuza Isham has seen a great deal of this wide world, and yet she has an admirable ability to establish her place in the here and now.

A native of Poland, Zuza says she has always been adamant, obstinate even, about trusting in herself and following her intuition which has led her on adventures in both life and love, eventually guiding her to husband, best friend, and business partner, Chad, and the historic home they share on a ranch outside Ft. Worth.

Zuza is someone we’ve long admired and felt was uniquely positioned to be an ambassador for Hay Babies; she has a history in high fashion, an appreciation for our aesthetic, and a soulful tie to the very heart of the collection.

Our Q&A with Zuza was insightful and inspiring, the kind of exchange you walk away from feeling motivated to be more mindful.

DDR: What would you say is the key principle to creating a life you love?

ZUZA: I have dreamt of the life I have today since I was a little girl. I never stopped believing that it will all come true and one day my vision will turn into reality. I used to hear I’m stubborn because I blindly followed my intuition. I always had a trust in myself and kept doing things I was most afraid of. The key to creating the life you fall in love with, is to never stop romanticizing the present. Even if you’re not where you want to be yet, start living like you already own your dream. Get so busy working on your personal goals that you won’t have time to worry what others think. Just show up for yourself and be an example that ‘impossible is nothing’.

DDR: What is the most challenging and/or rewarding part about building a business with your spouse?

ZUZA:My husband and I have a lot in common. We decided to share our path and simply make our business about our lifestyle. We have a similar aesthetic and the same vision, but each of us was gifted with different talents. We complement each other and support one another’s curious, adventurous side. That’s the biggest reward - to work with a partner who’s happy to turn your thought into action.

DDR: How would you describe your personal style/aesthetic? Can you think of a word or phrase that best sums it up?

ZUZA: My style is inspired by my past, my European roots, my love for western movies, my everyday passions, the places I’ve traveled to and my surroundings. It is a combination of everything that stimulates my heart and imagination. The word that sums it up best would be ‘timeless’.

DDR: What is your favorite vintage piece you've found? Do you ever have trouble choosing to part with a fabulous find or is sharing it with your audience part of the joy?

ZUZA:Vintage pieces found in New Mexico hold a special place in my heart. I have a thing for old Ortega’s Chimayo woven wool coats, old concho belts and Spanish colonial art. However, a piece that I currently consider my favorite is an antique cowgirl riding skirt. That’s what horsewomen wore before chaps and these skirts are the most comfy and beautiful things ever. I have fun styling and shooting our vintage, yet the greatest satisfaction comes from happy customers. That being said, I rarely keep anything just for myself. Things come and go, like everything in life.

DDR: You're well-traveled and have experienced a lot of diversity across countries and cultures, from bustling cities to quaint country life; do you have a favorite place on Earth? What makes a place feel like "home" to you?

ZUZA: Home is where the horses are. They make every landscape so much more beautiful. In their presence I feel happy, calm, safe and the most myself. If the Wild West can be considered one place, then it’s definitely my ‘favorite place on Earth’. Other places that make my heart beat faster are the ones I haven’t been to yet. I would love to take a ride down the Andes or ride off into the red African sunset.

DDR: How were you introduced to the Double D Ranch brand/family? What draws you to DDR and its aesthetic/vibe?

ZUZA:I first started collecting vintage Double D Ranch pieces and then became a regular customer of the brand. This female-owned company has been at the forefront of the western fashion industry for decades. I'm not surprised - it’s timeless yet refreshing. Each collection feels like an ode to the western spirit and tells the most magical stories of this land. I’m especially fond of DDR designs inspired by the wardrobe from western movies and authentic cowgirl antiques.

DDR: What was your experience like modeling and photographing the Hay Babies collection? What is your favorite piece from Hay Babies? Do you have an all-time favorite, even vintage DDR perhaps?

ZUZA:I feel very lucky that I was able to both model and photograph the Hay Babies collection. It was fun to collaborate with the DDR team together with my husband and our best friend Lena, shooting and styling the new summer designs. What I loved the most about this experience, is that we spent two days at two dreamy locations among nature and horses. Every piece featured in this campaign has the ‘horse girl energy’ about it. I went crazy over the DDR white chaps with a horse image and colorful spots.

My all-time favorite DDR piece is a vintage inspired traditional velvet concho blouse created in a collaboration with Navajo (Diné) women. I own two of these, one is coral and the other one the most perfect shade of blue.

DDR: Do you have a motto or mantra that you live by?

ZUZA:When you’re tuned into yourself, you don’t really have to travel far to find joy.

Follow Zuza on Instagram @oldgoldritual and checkout their online shop at chadisham.com. Stylist: @LenaKoch

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