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It is hard to predict the new trends in fashion unless you are absolutely plugged into Paris, Milan or New York City. But some pioneering young designers are making the decision to go it alone. With steadfast confidence and the building blocks for a solid brand identity, Parisa Zahedi—the passion and energy behind the CURIIOS online fashion experience—has launched her start-up empire.

Zahedi’s concept is not just a brand or label, but an entire identity, as she explains it. CURIIOS is not just about the clothes, it’s also about the lifestyle. Zahedi is challenging young women and men to be part of her movement. And judging from the volume of their social media traffic, the CURIIOS team is proving itself as a force to be reckoned with.

CURIIOS launched its online presence in October 2014. They stock all kinds of fashion, from daywear to women’s dresses, shoes, bags and wallets, as well as men’s clothing and accessories.

Zahedi shared some of her personal sources of inspiration and ideas about the powerhouse/party lifestyle.
What was your introduction to fashion and styling?

My introduction was the cliché of all clichés: flipping through magazines at a young age, dreaming of being a part of it some way, somehow. As far as styling goes, I was always playing dress-up with friends or giving advice when we would go shopping. As I became older, I realized I had a knack for it and began to take on friends as clients. Through that, word spread and it turned into a job!
I started as a personal stylist/shopper, and to this day it’s my favorite part of the gig. The smile from a happy client is enough to keep me going. This led to styling creatively. I began to explore the editorial/visual art world. It took my heart and never let go. Being a part of that transformation on set is so exhilarating. Seeing the pieces you’ve been pulling for days come together is amazing. It keeps me going, keeps my creative mind working, and allows me to have a job I love. I’m so thankful for that.

Did you go to art school or fashion school for this? What is your formal training background?

I graduated from FIDM in Los Angeles with a Fashion Design degree. I mainly went there to learn the technical side of things, as I previously had a hand at sewing. This process of school, living in a big city and being surrounded by incredibly talented people aided in my ideas and motivation to open shop. As far as my styling work, I have never had any training. Everything I know is self-taught through research, experience and making mistakes. Is there any better way to learn? Doubt it.
How long have you been styling in Phoenix? Can you share any stories with high-profile clients? Who is your favorite to work with and why?

I have been styling on and off for 12 years. Personal styling, editorial styling and workplace styling through seminars. Styling has followed me away from Phoenix, to San Diego and Los Angeles. I prefer not to discuss the high-profile clients. There have been two, and both were incredibly kind, open to everything I threw their way, and so appreciative! I couldn’t ask for anything more.

What kinds of looks inspire you? Where do you go for inspiration?

Let’s just say I am all over the place! I go bananas over designers such as Issey Miyake, Rick Owens, Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh, Proenza Schouler, etc. They may be different season to season, but you can always tell which pieces are theirs. I’m influenced by design that is impactful, has something to say on or off the body and makes you think. On the flip side of that, I am influenced by people and their personal styles. These are just a few of the closets I would gladly rummage through: Daphne Guinness, Gwen Stefani, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Anna Dello Russo and more. I go to certain brands, humans, music and basically anything tangible for inspiration. Inspiration is such a powerful and integral part of life. It comes and goes, and sometimes I find it in the oddest of places.

What is your involvement with Phoenix Fashion Week? We know you have been called “top” stylist when working with them. What was the context? Do you plan to work through Phoenix Fashion Week to launch your own original designs?

Phoenix Fashion Week had chosen six top stylists in the state of Arizona to showcase their work at the “Spring Into Style” show back in March. I was so honored to be chosen as one of them, to show among all these other incredible stylists. Through this, I have had several opportunities to do other projects with PHXFW and other fashion industry people around the state. I am so grateful.

I originally started out wanting to be a designer. I stopped designing four years ago, and decided to dream up CURIIOS instead. So far it’s been a bitchin’ ride! But with growth, I would hope to start designing again. When that happens, if PHXFW will take me, I would gladly showcase with them.
Can you explain what CURIIOS is? Is it more than an online store? Are there others (designers, stylists, creative types) involved?

CURIIOS is an online retail wonderland, but more than that we are a lifestyle. A lifestyle for the #curiiosbabes of the world. A #curiiosbabe is a powerhouse by day, party junkie by night kind of woman. A twenty-something with a non-apologetic style, and thirst for life. A lover of all things monochrome. Adventure molds her, architecture inspires her and music moves her soul. She is a risk taker and leader with a humble persona. To be one of us, remember to be bold, but kind, curious but wise, and never afraid to express yourself through clothing or otherwise.

For now, it’s just me and my small group of babes holding down the fort here in sunny AZ. There are always creatives involved but no designers or stylists linked to our team just yet. We mainly work with local photographers and other business owners to exude our image and lifestyle to the world.
Do you work closely with any particular accessories designers? If so, who, and how would you describe what they create?

I don’t typically work hands on with jewelry designers, aside from Miss November Studio/Little Hobo Bird by Sandra Logan. Anyone reading, if you don’t know, now you know. Look up these two on social media and Etsy. Have fun trying not to spend your whole paycheck. I would describe her work as perfect, in a way that is unique, in your face, and so inspiring. I mean, shit, she even has a ring with a hand giving you the bird. What is better than that? This woman says what she thinks, makes what she wants, and you’ll love her for it.

Will you stay in Phoenix forever? If so, what are your big-picture plans? If not, where would you go? (And why?)

This is always a hard one to answer. I usually say no, but I don’t want to look back five years from now and say damn, I can’t believe I thought I would leave … as I’m sitting on my porch in Phoenix flipping through this old JAVA interview. But in all honesty, I have such a wanderlust that seeing myself permanently anywhere is hard. I’ve searched for a place for CURIIOS in Los Angeles, Seattle and Austin. The big picture is to build an empire. A store here, a store there, a charity built through the brand and potentially something related to music. The options are endless and my ideas are limitless. Ask me again next year. Who knows what can happen.

Do you collaborate with anyone?

Collaboration is key to my creative process. Bringing in other elements, different minds and fresh perspectives makes my world go round. I have collaborated in many ways throughout the years. I have designed garments with others, created visual art through fashion and the collaborating photographers, brought pop-up shops to life with other creatives and more. A favorite has to be the photo series I did with Travis Seale of Blūm Magazine, along with Brielle Bishop of Vade Mecum Beauty and Paulina Poley of FORD Robert Black Agency. We all brought unique elements to the project and worked extremely well together to create a stunning visual.