Reza Dehghani Wright, founder of streetwear brand Criminal, has passed away aged just 32 after a battle with cancer.
Dehghani Wright launched Criminal from his bedroom in Bournemouth in 1998 when he was fresh out of university. He subsequently grew the brand to 2,000 global accounts, with sales of £10 million at its height.
In 2006 Dehghani Wright and his entrepreneurial zeal captured the attention of Icelandic investor Baugur, which snapped up a 50% stake in the firm for £6 million.
Former Baugur UK investment director slaug Magnúsdóttir led the deal. She said: “Within the first five minutes of meeting Reza, I knew that I had met a superstar. His deep passion and belief in what he did was what captured me that day. He was always fun and full of energy whether he was at work or at play. I believe people will remember Reza for the tremendous amount he achieved during a lifetime cut so tragically short.”
The reputation of Dehghani Wright in business was “golden” according an independent stockist of the brand. Former Criminal human resources manager Nicky Sutherland described Dehghani Wright as “a positive and inspirational man who was totally passionate and knew what was going on in every single part of thebusiness.”
Renowned for his sense of fun and optimism, Dehghani Wright was well liked and hugely respected by his industry peers. He was renowned for the wild Criminal branded parties he threw, which were often the highlight of the international shows.
Dehghani Wright was diagnosed with an aggressive form of hereditary cancer in July 2007. He stepped down from the company to fight the disease. The brand was subsequently sold to House of Fraser, which will launch its first Criminal range later this year.
Dehghani Wright’s brother, Moh Dehghani Wright, has set up a charitable fund to raise awareness of the genetic disorder from which Dehghani Wright suffered.
Moh said: “He was a savvy operator in business – he would spend Christmas Day writing the next year’s business plan. If anyone could have beaten this, it would have been Reza.”
Donations are invited to the Reza and Yeganeh Dehghani Cancer Trust, which Reza’s brother Moh will run to raise awareness of Li-Fraumeni, a rare condition which sparks aggressive cancers in people of a young age.
Donations can be made by cheque to Reza and Yeganeh Dehghani Cancer Trust, c/o George Scott Funeral Services, 13-15 Somerset Rd, Bournemouth, BH7 6JH