Valerio Moda

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Valerio Moda
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Approaching Valerio Moda was one of the biggest intimidations I could have ever come across. Valerio M has been recognized for luxury leather goods and settling with the busy designer for an interview was not an easy assignment. Instead I was stumped by their professionalism, respect to the industry and their humbleness – rare occurrence for a company with such vast presence in Vancouver's fashion scene.

How did this Valerio Moda begin?

Today's reality began with a sketch. Since childhood, I was fascinated with the aesthetic of my surroundings and expressed myself through drawing. This interest led me to apprentice under a master tailor and learn the art of leatherwork. My first label, Hirad by Ali est. 1996, named after my son, stood for timeless style, ingenuity and creativity. It later evolved through experience and trips to Paris and Milan where I attended classes to continue refining my skills. I was personally exposed to the creations coming out of the fashion houses of Cucinelli, Laura Piana, Giorgio Armani, Dolce and Gabanna, and Gianni Versace. Their collections provoked me to design ambitiously and challenged me to excel my work with the unforgiving medium of leather. My education in couture continued with a tenured position at Harry Rosen. Daily exposure to high quality and excellence shaped my standards as a designer, and encouraging words from my mentor spurred me on. I later rebranded with my partner, Mo Movassaghi to the Valerio collection, which consists of made to measure leather apparel, suits and accessories.

Is there a special meaning behind this name?

As one author put it, Valerio, although fictitious in meaning, is onomatopoeic and almost suggestive of the sound the leather garments would make if they had a voice. The label is representative of the elegant and casual theme of each collection.

How did you get into the industry?

The fashion industry came to me through hard work, ambition, opportunity, luck and the relentless drive to be creative and innovative with fabrics and colors – It is my destiny.

Where do you get your inspiration for this season's collection?

As with prior collections, my inspiration comes from within, from nature's beauty where color and texture combinations come together, and from the fashion houses of Cucinelli, Laura Piana, Giorgio Armani, Dolce and Gabanna, and Gianni Versace.

When you design what do you have in mind?

Cary Grant (for his "effortless ability to shine and feel comfortable in his own skin"), David Bowie (for his "guts to experiment with different styles") and Sean Connery (for giving fashion "meaning, etiquette, accessories and flare") are always on my mind when designing my pieces. These characters have stood the test of time, and endured fads that came and went in a world where styles become obsolete shortly after production.

What is your normal day like?

A typical day consists of having breakfast with my son before taking him to school, and then the work day begins. It usually starts with either responding to or following up with clients and buyers, reviewing short-term goals to determine what requires immediate attention, and then working on either a client order or new piece for an upcoming collection. Meanwhile my business partner Mo generally handles the business aspects of the partnerships. He deals with the bookkeeping, marketing, updating the website, managing social media and cold calling potential buyers.

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