Custom shirts: The edge you never knew you needed

With 30 years of fashion industry experience under her designer belt, Dorottya Szabo knows what it takes to stand out – and it’s simpler than you may think.

“A custom made shirt, first of all, will fit you better, but it will also make you feel better psychologically,” said Szabo, the owner of Designs by Dorottya. “It usually gives a certain amount of status to the person who orders custom made shirts, it’s bespoke, it’s a status symbol,” she added.

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Over the decades, Dorottya’s business has seamlessly adapted to the ever-changing fashion industry. She opened her first men’s boutique in 1989 in West Vancouver. As her business grew and flourished, the fashion designer decided to open up four more boutiques in West Vancouver and Vancouver. Many of her customers were movie stars, including Anthony Hopkins, Tom Cruise, Halle Berry, and Toni Collette, who ordered private label and custom designs.

After Dorottya successfully grew her business in Vancouver, she uprooted it and moved to Europe to learn new skills and pick up new trends. There, she learned the beauty of being detail-oriented and expanded her knowledge of women’s designs. The collections became extremely popular and were sold at high-end outfitters such as Nordstrom and Hudson’s Bay Company.

Now, the avid fashion designer has returned to the North Shore, bringing her experience and expertise to North Vancouver and Downtown Vancouver. Her custom made shirts and suits, made with the highest quality fabrics and silks, continue to drive her business to the top of the industry.

“I don’t design for the body alone, I design for the personality,” she explained. In fact, Dorottya’s thoroughness extends far past measurements. Szabo explained that when she meets a client for the first time, she asks about their job and workplace, “because an accountant would not have the same shirt as a CEO,” she said. “So including the personality and what they do, I custom design around that and come up with a design, the fabric, and what suits them the most,” she said, “and that’s exciting.” 

To learn more about Designs by Dorottya, visit, email or call 778-999-0413. 

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