Dorian Komenic was born and raised in Calgary. She attended the University of Calgary and is now part of a talent agency, a marketing and production company, and she has also launched her own jewelry line, Dori. We interviewed her about thrifting as well as her creations.
Dorian says one thing she visits thrift stores for is to acquire teacups for her teacup collecting. When asked about why she collects teacups in particular, she explains, “I love them, I don’t know what it is. They’re useful but also fun to look at, very artful.” She adds that she looks for them in thrift stores or souvenir shops while travelling.
When asked why she enjoys shopping at thrift stores, Dorian replies, “I like the combination of new and discount.” To her, she says, brand does not matter as much as whether or not you actually like the item and that she shops at all different types of stores because of this. Dorian also states that thrift stores are interesting due to the fact that they often contain styles from different eras. “It’s like looking at an era gone by, you can see what they used to enjoy.” She adds that as a jewelry designer, it is interesting to see old and new trends. She also states that the items are not as uniform and merchandised as what you’d find in other stores.
Dorian takes inspiration from anything that has been designed, particularly movies. “No the trends in movies,” she clarifies. “The overall design–the theme and tone and the music. Not specifically ‘oh, she’s wearing a parrot necklace.'” She cites Marie Antoinette as an example. “The pastel colours, the florals, the bouffant dresses; it was very visually captivating. The overall imagery was baroque, and it made me want to [make items in] that style.” Dorian also looks for shape in an item. “I look for a unique shape and colour of an item,” she says, “and then I go from there.”
Although sometimes Dorian goes shopping for specifics when she needs them, she says that she would much rather browse around. “I don’t like utility shopping,” she states, and adds that she enjoys starting with one item she likes and then building an outfit starting with that piece.
Her current favourite item to wear are dresses and hats, and her favourite all-time item is a long coat she’d seen in a now-closed store on 17th Avenue and later received as a gift. Furthermore, her wedding dress was created from the designs and pieces of several that she’d picked up while thrifting.
We asked her what she looked for most in an outfit: aesthetics, practicality, or comfort. Dorian says, “Fit. If something doesn’t fit, it probably doesn’t look good. And it’s probably not comfortable. And that means it’s not practical either.”
Dorian started retailing jewelry when she was 19. At first she did not make the pieces; rather, she imported and resold items that were different from what was typically offered in Canadian shops and stores. Over the years, she began to take requests, and customers began to ask for personalized designs. “I got tired of saying no,” she said. Dorian began creating wedding and engagement pieces. She then decided to stop importing and reselling and instead focus on designs. She has recently trademarked her brand name and is involved in the entire process from mold selection and production to drawing. Dorian has not just bridal items in the traditional gold, silver, and diamond as well as sterling silver and cubic zirconia, but a line of “what you’d call fashion jewelry, with spring and summer collections.”
If you’re interested in checking out Dorian’s jewelry line, visit Dori.ca, or Forever Dori on Facebook. If you’re a thrifter who’d like to be interviewed, contact Urban Thrift through Facebook or by email.