While growing up in Iran, Dorian Rahimzadeh says she always wanted to express herself through her clothing. After studying fashion design at LaSalle College’s campus in Istanbul, Rahimzadeh and her family moved to Toronto where, at 22, she joined the fashion industry by working in retail and volunteering at Toronto’s fashion week. Eventually, she started sharing her personal fashion sense on Instagram. “Suddenly, I became a local style icon,” she says. In 2018, Rahimzadeh made the leap into design and launched Dorian Who, a slow fashion, made-to-order brand inspired by her personal style and her love of her Persian heritage.
For her first two collections, Rahimzadeh focused on exploring genderless style, using deadstock fabrics and collaborating with local creatives. Her third and most recent collection is titled Resilience, and has its origins in Rahimzadeh’s mourning of the Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 incident. “The tragedy just broke my heart,” she says. While she was working on the collection last year, COVID-19 hit, and Rahimzadeh was forced to pause. Abandoning the fast-paced fashion calendar ended up offering some relief. “I was just working and didn’t even have a chance or a moment to even look at what I’d created,” she says. “That speed is just not healthy.”
Resilience is anchored by black elements contrasted with the vibrant prints worn in Persian dynasties. To bring her vision to life, Rahimzadeh collaborated extensively with others, including visual artist Samar Hejazi, jewellery designer Emily Kowalik, illustrator Shayan Khosravi and milliner David Dunkley. “It has become a very beautiful journey between me and collaborators and the way that we work and respect each other and try to help one another.”