Dolores Haze

Meet Samantha Giordano, the creative genius behind  up-and-coming fashion line Dolores Haze. After studying at both Parsons in New York City and Central St. Martins in London, Samantha launched Dolores Haze at New York Fashion week last September. The charming Dolores Haze line has become a Zeum favourite, and we can’t wait to see what Samantha comes up with next. Check out our interview with the designer herself below:

What inspired you to become a designer?
At the end of my senior year of high school I ended up landing an internship at Nicole Miller. Later that summer I saw a tank top I had dyed and embellished at store in LA while on vacation and it was the coolest feeling. I knew then that I wanted to pursue a career as a fashion designer.
Before fashion, you studied sociology. Does your sociology background affect and/or influence your designs?
My background in sociology has deeply influenced my designs. It has made me acutely aware of the relationship between identity and how one dresses, in turn this has given me deeper insight into fashion trends. I concentrated in post-structuralism and these theories have become fundamental components that drive me creatively, by reexamining the subversive meaning of Lolita, and the dichotomy that exists in our understanding of the feminine. This is then transcended into flirty dresses and separates constructed in menswear fabrics and feminine buttondown dresses styled with dark oxblood lips. Most importantly though, sociology has made me understand the importance of social responsibility and I am proud to say that each person at my factory receives health insurance and works under fair labor regulations.
How did your various internships prepare you for the world of fashion design?
My previous internships prepared me for design in an array of aspects. Interning in editorial provided me hands on experience with merchandizing and styling. While interning for a small independent designer gave me one of the most valuable education, where I was able to work side by side with the designer.
Who/what inspires you the most? (Designers, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, writers…)
Film has by far been one of my most important influences. I’m inspired by the 60s, and my passion for this aesthetic is derived from French New Wave film, such as Chantal Goya in Masculin Feminin, Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour and Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou. These characters embody effortless style.
How does your own personality come through in your collections?
My personality comes through unconsciously in my collections. I took polaroids on the set of the Fall ’14 lookbook shoot, where the model was sticking her tongue out, flipping the bird and holding her hands up giving the epitomes rock and roll sign of devil ears. My friends all giggled when they saw these photos because she resembled the faces and poses I have a tendency of making when friends snap photos of myself. I pretty much only wear skirts and dresses with lipstick, but at the same time I listen to Black Flag and the Misfits. Just because I am very girly doesn’t mean that I can’t also be a bad ass at the same time.
3 words that describe the Dolores Haze girl.
She’s sassy, girly and worldly.
What was the inspiration behind your SS14 collection?
The SS14 collection was inspired by the colors in the artistic works of Tracey Emin and illustrations by Egon Schiele along with the novels the Virgin Suicides and Lolita, transcending these influences into youthful silhouettes that echo the message of a return to femininity and girlish charm with a hint of melancholy. In addition, the photograph “Identical Twins, Cathleen and Colleen” evoked a naive yet ominous element that I attempted to recreate in the photography and film by casting two models who look similar posing with dead pan expressions.
What are your favourite things to do when you’re not designing?
When I am not designing I love watching experimental film- most recently I became obsessed with Toshio Matsumoto. Another two of my favourite things include hula hooping and debating politics with friends.
If you could have dinner with anyone (past or present) who would it be? 
Kathleen Hanna! She has been my role model since I was in middle school, for being so driven in the male dominated world of Punk music and the driving force behind 3rd Wave Feminism. Hanna is my hero, and inspired an entire generation of young girls.
What’s next for Dolores Haze?
Next for Dolores Haze is the SS15 collection. For this season we are developing cool prints! Get excited for more leather and heartbreaker styles!

Photographer: Michael Dote
Hair and Make-Up: Brittan White
Photo Assistant: George Brooks
Models: Julie and Steffie from Fenton Moon