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By Truc Nguyen

While most Ryerson fashion design students might simply know Zoran Dobric as their wildly creative but soft-spoken lab teacher, he is a man who wears many other hats… among other things.

Last week marked Dobric’s second runway showing at Toronto’s semiannual fashion week, produced by the Fashion Design Council of Canada and sponsored by L’Oréal.

Described in the program as a “dark romantic fantasy,” Dobric’s show at the Liberty Grand last Wednesday featured dramatic, hand-crafted garments that were influenced by gothic, medieval and punk fashions. While Dobric’s tightly edited collection of 20 outfits may not have had the glamour of the Andy The-Anh fur extravaganza of two years ago, or the wild colours of the Envers show, which featured giant pink pirate hats for the male models, the pieces are imminently wearable and uniquely hand-crafted. Commentators noted the style as urban wear for the artistic set, perhaps. The collection, one of the few during Toronto Fashion Week to feature both men’s and women’s wear, stood out for its intricate hand-detailing and textural depth.

Although most of the garments were in muted, dark neutrals, there was still plenty to look at. “I tried to add a lot of handwork details,” Dobric explains in a telephone conversation a few days after the excitement of the show. “It’s almost like couture, in terms of the work involved.” Instead of playing with volume or proportion, as Ryerson grads Joeffer Caoc and David Dixon did beautifully for fall (see sidebar for more), Dobric manipulated his fabrics to make a statement.

Hand embroidery, shibori pleating and hand-painted gothic motifs and quatrofoils were used on almost every outfit which came down the runway. “I taught myself how to do all of these techniques,” Dobric says. As a man whose day jobs include teaching at Ryerson and working full-time as a women’s wear designer for Costa Blanca, Dobric admits that it’s hard to find the time to work exclusively on his collection. “It’s definitely a labour of love,” he divulges.

When asked about future plans for his eponymous line, which is currently being sold at Boutique Le Trou on Queen Street West, Dobric is optimistic. He hopes to send out “look” books to retailers and media soon, and will try expanding availability for his fall collection.

As if he weren’t busy enough.

For more information on Zoran Dobric and his collection, visit

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