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Meet Shifteh Shahbazian

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shifteh Shahbazian.

Shifteh, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
As the story goes, my love affair with fashion started at a very young age, many moons ago in my living room at our apartment in Tehran, Iran. As a young girl, I was introduced to fashion by exploring my grandmother’s luxurious closet filled with beautiful pieces that she had collected from years of travel across the world. The furs, lace, pearls and fancy dresses all became my dress up essential tool, which created my fashion characters each day, taking dress up to another level. My intrigue and desire to become an artist and designer all got ignited from my imagination of what I can create and what stylish character I can take on. Even though the outside world was restricted and I grew up in a country with not a lot of access to fashion, pop culture and music, I still used my imagination to explore my inner fashion soul.

Many years later, I came to the conclusion that my childhood style play experiments were the building blocks to what was going to become my future as a wardrobe stylist and fashion producer. Not realizing that the love of my life would be fashion, I tried other lanes of interest but all roads ended up pulling me back to my first and only love. It’s funny to say that as a kid, while other girls played simple games and wished to become a princess when they grew up, I was more into creating the garments for those princesses and queens instead of dreaming of becoming one. I was fascinated with textiles, draping of garments and mixing and matching shoes, accessories and handbags to go with my looks; truly obsessed with what crazy outfit I was going to put together for our family parties and who I could dress up with me to showcase my styling abilities.

In my junior and high school years, my days were filled with sketching and drawing of fashion figures, teaching myself how to hand sew, and studying the history of the world that I was madly in love with. I would dream everyday of creating my own fashion line and what that could look like. I knew from an early age, I wanted to show the world my vision and my identity through the use of fashion. Different ways of thinking for a teenager who at this point was living in Orange County with little to no fashion references around them, but yet again my creative imagination took a life of its own.

My escapes were in creating and collecting ideas, I would save up my allowance money to buy fashion magazines, sketching supplies and fabric and I would spend hours creating. My other pass time was walking through the expensive malls for hours looking at designer clothing and dreaming of the day that I would be able to be one of them or work with one of them. Who knew that years later, my dream would actually come true and one day I could tell this story that I work in fashion.

It’s interesting where life takes you and how certain parts of our world help to build other pathways. For my self, I didn’t know that about 15 years ago, when I would be first introduced to a local LA show producer that my life would take off to where it did. Through assisting for five years, I learned the ins and outs of the behind the scenes of the fashion show world. After my first show, I knew that I had finally found what my role in this industry is and I knew I had fallen in love. I dedicated my heart and soul to working and learning and in every essence gave my all to the runway. Throughout the years, I met a countless number of stylists, designers and other producers along the way and built a professional work and friendly relationship with all of them. Slowly but surely through working with two different producers both in Los Angeles and New York City, I added on more experience to my resume and learned a tremendous amount of skill and knowledge from my surroundings. I’ve traveled the nation from city to city working on fashion shows, editorial campaigns and live performances. Between Los Angeles and New York and under the leadership of the producers that I work with I’ve had amazing opportunities come my way, including reaching the final dream of being able to work in Paris during Paris fashion week.

Along the way of expanding my fashion production career, I started exploring with styling. Self-taught and self adapted, I taught myself how to create and put together looks to tell a story. I teamed up with local photographers and models and started really experimenting with editorial content and experimental projects to build my portfolio. From there, styling took on a life of its own and sure enough, my two worlds started colliding and I adapted more styling work into my fashion production role which eventually created my job title of wardrobe stylist.

15 years later and still going fashion strong, I can happily say that my dreams of working in the fashion industry came to life. Little did I know that window shopping designers not knowing if I could ever afford their apparel or be able to work with them would eventually become my pathway to my future. After working on the first show that I ever assisted on I cried many tears of joy and happiness and really knew this was it for me. And still all these years later, I still get goosebumps and butterflies in my stomach right before a show and best feeling of success right after when I realize I have accomplished my role in my job.

Today, I’m still working as wardrobe stylist and fashion producer and have established my own business where I provide fashion services to my clients. From runway show production, fashion consulting, editorial styling to personal shopping and personal styling my roster of services are available for all. If I can provide anything for the world that we live in is to create passion, hope, beauty and joy through the use of my own craft. And despite the ever changing direction of the fashion industry and the uncertainty of the future in our world, I’m still going to stay fashion strong and continue my eternal love affair with my fashion world.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Throughout the years like any other business or anyone else in my industry, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I’ve been challenged many times on how to balance a personal life with a professional freelance career. I’ve had to figure out about how to not miss out on life’s big moments while managing relationships with individuals in my career and maintaining a need from them for my services. I’ve had to prove myself on multiple occasions when clients and my superiors had doubts about my skills, talent and experience. One of my biggest challenges and obstacles to overcome was to push to be seen for what I can do.

The fashion industry similar to many other industries is very personal and intimate. Clients like to maintain the same team and keep their relationships close and work with in the same circle. Although that can be challenging, creating those relationships and maintaining them is one of my strong attributes. I love interacting with people and creating a connecting point with them while showcasing my desire to put everything I have into a project or event with the utmost amount of professionalism and diligence. Overcoming these challenges were a slow process at the beginning, however with perseverance and dedication to my craft, I pushed myself to overcome it.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My company is all about style and fashion production. As a fashion show producer and wardrobe stylist, I have created a business which provides a variety of fashion services for individuals and companies of any size. My business is divided in two sectors. In the first bracket, I provide a variety of services from runway show production, runway styling and collaboration with designers for all types of fashion and beauty events. On the second bracket of the business, I provide wardrobe styling for editorials, print and commercials, the music industry and video production. My company also provides fashion services such as personal styling, personal shopping and image consulting.

The primary direction of my business is centered around fashion and styling and my ultimate specialty is combining styling needs with the runway. I think what sets my business apart from others is the fact that I come from a runway show production background and years of experience on the inner workings of putting together events. From knowing the inner workings of a fashion show and event production, I have been able to provide and manage the direction of my client’s needs while maintaining and organized and timely structure. Amongst my skill set, I also put in a lot of passion and love towards everything that I do and dedicated my full self in every project. I take pride in loving my work and making sure that whoever works with me whether it be a clients, assistants, interns, and colleagues that I create a fun, positive and uplifting atmosphere and just living fashion to the fullest.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is a funny thing. I think of myself as being a very lucky individual from the beginning. Growing up with an open-minded, liberal, and very artistic family allowed me to explore my passions in life and decide on what I would like to do and who I would like to be in my future. Not to take away from years of blood, sweat and tears and extreme hard work and difficulty in my lifetime, but I think I luck helped me to be exposed to amazing mentors, role models and opportunities and chances.

Luck aside, hard work, dedication, passion and humility is the key for success. You could be given great opportunities and amazing chances, however what you make of it and how you maintain it is the ultimate deciding factor for your success. For my business, I think good luck has allowed me to be exposed to amazing people and situations but I have also given my all into what I have to maintain it.

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