Many designers dream of building their careers on haute couture, crafting extravagant fashion pieces for kings and queens.
But an LA-schooled Pinay designer is taking the road less traveled. She chooses to create ready-to-wear (RTW) clothing that is timeless, functional, and stylish.
RTW: A ROAD NOT TAKEN
RTW clothing is usually mass-produced by companies that specialize in fast fashion. Because these items may not have been meant to last long, it is commonly thought that the quality of these is inferior to their haute couture counterparts.
LA-schooled Pinay designer Anika Martirez revolutionizes RTW by creating fashionable clothing that's stylish, versatile, and long lasting.
Martirez, who also holds a degree in interdisciplinary studies from Ateneo de Manila University, is an alumna of The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, California.
Here, she mastered merchandise marketing and fashion design. The chill vibes of LA fashion, she said, inspired her to make functional and effortless designs.
While most of her contemporaries joined popular fashion houses, Martirez chose to build her own fashion line. Her namesake fashion line focused on RTW, a dog-eat-dog industry that requires constant reinvention.
"I feel a certain kind of pressure--again, the good kind--given the industry I'm in is a cut-throat one. Every day is a constant process on how to stay relevant. At the same time, it’s fun and rewarding," she said.
STAYING RELEVANT IN FAST FASHION
With the rise of fast fashion and tight competition, Martirez is constantly faced with pressure. But it's "the good kind," she says.
That's why she always tries to stay ahead of the game, while staying true to her own brand philosophy. Yet, she doesn't force creativity. Instead, she waits for inspiration to come naturally.
"I try to be prolific with designing. When I catch myself forcing something, I take a step back and remind myself not to try too hard by letting things take its natural course. When inspiration hits me at the oddest of times (for instance, during my sleep), I make sure to document this in my idea notebook right away," she said.
Being a female fashion designer, Martirez adds, has both advantages and disadvantages. She said she is easily affected by criticism and crab mentality. In times like this, she draws support from her clients.
"I am motivated by fellow passionate women who share the same work ethic as I do—women who support each other. And of course, I’m motivated by my loyal clients (some clients turned friends) who
give me honest feedback and keep me going," she said.
"I surround myself with people who cheer me on, give me that boost of confidence, and know when and how to pick me up when I feel less like myself."
ALWAYS MOVING FORWARD
With a thriving business and a fulfilling mission, Martirez said she feels a sense of pride, satisfaction, and gratitude with her craft.
"One of the best parts about it is seeing my ideas come to fruition, engaging with my customers, and receiving positive feedback from real clients telling me that they appreciate the work I do—clients
thanking me for making them look and feel good."
"It feels empowering and gratifying! It reminds me that all the blood, sweat, and tears are -- as sappy as it sounds -- well worth it."
Through her business, Martirez provides livelihood to a community of women who helps her grow her brand. Aside from that, she also aims to inspire other women to pursue careers that constantly challenge them.
As a designer, Martirez has many things to say about fashion and style. However, she believes that fabulous clothes and interesting accessories are not key to everything stylish. Hence, skin and and hair are equally important.
STRAIGHT-FORWARD, SIMPLE, VERSATILE
In terms of style, Martirez prefers effortless aesthetic. Even when it comes to the way she presents herself, she prefers to be low-key with just natural or no make-up make-up look and a messy bun or ponytail.
"My go-to hairstyle is a fuss-free ponytail or bun, which allows me to go about my day-to-day activities with ease while still looking put together. With my hair tied, I feel like I am ready to take on the day. It also reflects my aesthetic as a designer — feminine yet low maintenance," she said.
Her looks may seem effortless, but she still puts in the effort to maintain her beauty regimen. Her top concern these days – hair fall. Just like most women, she also experiences hair fall and she blames stress for this.
"Hair fall interferes with my daily life as it makes me conscious and less confident. I feel like I don’t perform my best when I don’t look my best," she said.
But being the empowered Pinay that she is, Martirez doesn't let hair fall stand in her way. She confidently faces each day -- solving every challenge -- with a positive attitude. After all, she feels secure that her hair is healthy.
"Living without hair fall worries feels like I can take on whatever challenge and task the day may present. I can take on my role to the best of my abilities. I can lead my team well. I can serve my clients the best way I was meant to," she said.
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