Friday, February 10, 2012

Dallas Fashion Week Designer Profile: Shirin Askari

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is happening February 9-16 in New York City. Buyers, bloggers, stars and stylists from all over the world will be descending on the Big Apple this week to decide what we will be wearing this Fall.  I thought I would refocus your attention to the tremendous talent pool we Dallasites are lucky enough to have right in our own backyard!

Meet Shirin Askari

You can’t talk about Shirin Askari without mentioning the television show Project Runway - yet. Her arrival on Season 6 of the hit show and the fashion scene came about by means as far from the catwalk as one can get. 

“Two months before graduating [from college], I broke my knee playing basketball,” she said, laughing. “Yeah, I know, short me playing basketball! I was stuck at home. My professor e-mailed me one day and said they were taking auditions [for Project Runway] and she thought I should do it. So, I hobbled around on my crutches making my audition video. By August I was in Los Angeles.”

Sadly, it was Christina Aguilera and an unfortunately named “Sequins, Feathers, and Fur, Oh My!” challenge that dashed her dreams. The result was 4th place.

“Going through that, being critiqued in front of the world made me realize that if I could go through that, I could do anything. It made me stronger as a person and as a designer.”  Shirin said she has no regrets about appearing on a reality TV show. “Everything happens for a reason. I’m where I’m supposed to be. The exposure was so great.”  

Shirin Askari Spring 2012 Collection

Not surprising, the designer grew up making her own clothes and learning to sew from her mother. Fashion design, however, was the furthest thing from her mind.  “I was always very petite,” she said. “I made my clothes because I didn’t want to buy clothes in the children’s department. Growing up, I wanted to be a pediatrician.”  Shirin, who graduated from Richardson’s Berkner High School and from the University of North Texas in 2008 with a degree in fashion design, said she draws inspiration from everywhere. “I love architecture, and I like to get inspiration from things that aren’t necessarily fashion.”

Askari and Doonan
This week, Askari has teamed up with fashion commentator Simon Doonan at Mercedes–Benz Fashion Week in New York for the opportunity of a lifetime.  Diet Pepsi is giving four up-and-coming designers from across the country the opportunity to showcase their collection at the ‘Diet Pepsi Style Studio’ fashion show on February 9th at 8:00pm in The Box at Lincoln Center.

Curated by Simon Doonan and presented on a set designed by Jonathan Adler, each designer including Askari will bring their unique hometown perspective to three themed fall looks.  The themes, reflecting key style trends, include fierce animal prints, chic and metallic finishes inspired by the sleek Diet Pepsi can.

Doonan will mentor Askari through the process as she translates high-fashion for the everyday woman and takes Mercedes–Benz Fashion Week by storm. So exciting!!

Askari's  collections can be found locally at Elements and Melanie Gayle in Dallas and Suisse in Frisco.  Visit her website at  Follow Shirin on Twitter and become a Fan on Facebook.

Portions of this article are taken from a previous interview in GrandLuxe Magazine