Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fashion Designer Dorian May (GSAS '93)

From May issue of NYU Connect

Dorian May has a degree in journalism and a secret obsession with vintage clothes. At a primly located studio at 780 Madison Avenue, the journalist turned designer is now showing a new line that is sparking an interest in buyers and major department stores. "It's about elegant versatility," May says, describing the new line which she calls "Edie Sedgwick meets Mary Tyler Moore."

May's passion for style and elegance began at an early age. She attended her first Couture show at 10 years old and begged her parents to subscribe to French Vogue and Elle magazines. While her own designs have evolved through the years, May says her personal style has remained constant. "I've always worn a round toed shoe and still do," she says, "I worry that things I love will wear out before I do."

After studying fashion design at Parsons School of Art and Design in Paris, May's parents encouraged her to pursue a second vocation. She said with a laugh that they must have wanted her to do something less fickle than fashion. So she came to NYU for her masters in journalism, planning to study journalism and cover fashion after she graduated. She recalls "an amazing and inspirational" professor, Ed Diamond, who wrote a media column at New York Magazine. Diamond recommended May to a colleague at the magazine who took her on as an intern. But her days at NYU only furthered her style fixation, as the neighborhoods surrounding the Village are a playground of vintage shops and boutiques.

May went on to work as a journalist on CNN, Fox, and Access Hollywood, before she put down her notebook and picked up a coat hanger for good. Being given instructions to wait outside a bathroom for Leonardo DiCaprio is the last assignment May remembers receiving before she finally gave her notice. So, in 1999 she left her job writing and producing at Access Hollywood to make the transition to personal-shopping.

In 2004, May was named Best Personal Shopper by New York Magazine. And shortly thereafter, she decided to launch her own line. "Everything inspires me," May says of where she gets her ideas, "I'm always staring at everyone on the street. [Looking] for whatever makes people feel confident," she adds.

And as for her what inspired her new line, May says 1960's "it girl" Sedgwick, "came from my home town, so I guess I always secretly felt some outer body connection to her." And Moore, an "it girl" from the following decade is "that working woman who isn't afraid to make it on her own." A combination of Moore and Sedgwick is exactly what describes May, and the women she is designing for today.

Click here to check out Dorian May's website and collection.


  1. i need someone to contact me.. i have a few questions...
    i would like to go to school for fashion design...

  2. Very interesting life story!! I had a job similar to personal shopper once. It is very hard to find what's best for each customer, but it was also very fun!!

  3. Your blog is really inspiring to those who want to be a fashion designer…your experience in fashion industry can make other people pursue their biggest dream in life…You’re a versatile woman I can’t help to idolize you… cause we both have the same interest…and that is FASHION actually guys I am fashion consultant in Florence South Carolina and I am currently managing a wholesale clothes business name Elite Wholesale Inc. that specializes for latest fashion design for clothes in U.S

  4. Hi,
    I think great personality in the fashion industry. After journalism she turned in to amazing fashion industry. Also new comers of fashion industry learn a lot from her career

  5. The fashion industry can make other people pursue their biggest dream in life and mostly people are attract form them and wants to become a part of it.

  6. dorian may is my mother, i am glad u are inspired! : )


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