SZ Luxury Boutique opened on June 22nd at Hillcrest Mall.
Designer Shahin Zartosht has come a long way in the past four years; from leaving an oppressive situation in Iran to opening his first luxury boutique in Toronto. Zartosht revealed his first collection for his Fashion label SZ in July 2021. It is a cumulative expression of his many years working in the fashion industry. SZ is a Canadian label with all of the products handmade in Italy. Inspired by Asian, gothic and European fashion, the brand uses black and white as its signature colours. The result is a casual-luxury line that is fashionable and artistic. Shop SZ in person at Hillcrest Mall.
We spoke with Shahin Zartosht to learn more about his story and what inspires him creatively.
What inspired you to start SZ?
After more than 20 years experience in the fashion industry as a Model, Fashion Stylist and Fashion designer, that was a good time to start my own brand.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
Working in different countries in the fashion industry gave me a good vision to know cultures, styles and many other things. I get help with all of those when I want to design something.
You were unable to pursue your dreams of opening a fashion house while living in Iran- what sort of difficulties were you faced with there as a creative individual that people may not know about?
I can say Iran is a special country. People live with fashion but governments (inside the country and outside the country) show something else about that country which most of them are not right about. Also, based on the political system, they didn’t give me any permission to work in Iran.
You moved to Canada 4 years ago- did you have any family here? Or what made you want to move here?
I came here alone and no family here. I was raised in Dubai and most of the time I lived alone but the main reason I came here was more freedom in my job.
What kind of individuals do you make your designs for?
I design for 10% of the people who knows the fashion and the art. which unfortunately messed up with Show off in Canadian fashion culture.
What were some of the challenges of starting your own business in a new country?
First thing you must know, is that companies are like the Mafia! Each company has 4-5 brands and sometimes a lot more than that. It’s hard to come to this competition because your designs are just 20% of the way! The next one is the rules; which in my opinion are too much. Especially if you want to start your brand in malls. Banks and getting funds as a new business is the biggest challenge. Nobody will trust you at first. NOBODY!
Your store recently opened in Hillcrest Mall, congratulations! -What made you decide on Hillcrest as your first location? Will there be more stores opening in the future?
I apply for diffrent malls but I found my favourite store in the Hillcrest mall. We’ll open more stores soon.
What kind of advice would you give to people who may be faced with challenges when trying to pursue a creative career?
If you think something is right in your mind and your heart just do it! Don’t listen to anybody.
Shop SZ in person at Hillcrest Mall.