AS A PART OF OUR ONGOING STORY SERIES WITH BRAND ASSEMBLY WE’RE MAKING IT OUR MISSION TO DISCOVER ALL THINGS CONTEMPORARY FASHION. As September comes to a close we’re ending on a high (and sparkly!) note all in thanks to emerging talent Martha Fogarty of the brand MART. Infusing her fine arts background with a dazzling approach to design we visited Martha at the Brand Assembly Square to talk about fashion design’s relationship to personal style and how she got her start.
It’a actually quite difficult to separate myself from MART, it’s so much a part of me and a reflection of me.
The collection pulls from all the facets of what I love and value: Music, film and art have shaped me as a person as well as my aesthetic eye. And humor, something that manifests in prettiness and unexpected combinations within the collection, is paramount to me. If you can make me laugh, it’s a done deal. I’m gonna think you’re awesome.
What has been one of the best discoveries you’ve made about your style and yourself as a result of pursuing fashion design?
The best discovery is most definitely finding my style. Let me underscore that – MY Style. The pieces that not only fit me in a construction, silhouette sense, but also those that make me feel like myself, express who I am. For me, that was the key to feeling successful as a designer. I understood the goal. Anyone can make a dress or a coat, but if you can make a piece that makes a woman feel like it’s showing the world who she is, that’s the magic.
What tools would you advise aspiring designers to utilize in their own endeavors?
A metrocard and dedication.
The internet is great, and a wonderful tool for really letting your visual mind pull, pull, pull references from every possible corner of the planet. But, nothing will ever replace experiencing in person. I think we’ve all felt it. I can’t describe it, but when you’re walking through The Met and all of the sudden BAM! photos from someone you’ve never heard of cull all of the references you’ve been pulling into a single focus. You don’t get that at home with a laptop.
And dedication. Not to sound flippant, but actually dedicating yourself to your job or the task at hand. This is what I learned from working for Chris Benz. He has an amazing dedication to every single thing he does. He’s as invested in selecting fabrics for the collection as he is writing thank you notes. It all matters and it all deserves attention.
What is one question you wish people asked you more often?
“Can I get one of everything?!”
The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “the style line” in your wardrobe?
Living and working in NYC really tests your wardrobe. Once you leave your apartment you’re a nomad until you get home that night. You’re carrying everything any anything you need (or may need) for the entire day. Everything from your hat to your shoes has to function in order to make the cut. Uncomfortable shoes, out. Fussy dresses that ride up, nope. As a designer this necessity pushes me to examine how clothing is worn and how it moves in daily life. For me the gold standard of design meets function is a leather jacket. It’s so important to me that I’ve included one in every season. Leather is durable and gets better with every overcrowded subway ride, slipping off your chair on to the floor, and bottom of the coat hook moment you’ve subjected it to. Plus, let’s be honest, a leather jacket just makes you feel cool.
How do you celebrate personal style?
I firmly believe if you see something beautiful, tell the person. Yes, even strangers. The woman at Starbucks with the amazing dress, complement her. She’ll feel great and here’s the crazy thing – so will you. I guess really if you see something, say something.