Education and non-fashion experience

I graduated in 1987 from UC Berkeley with a BA in Humanities. Thinking I wanted to be a lawyer, I went to Boston University School of Law and graduated in 1993. I worked in the legal system for awhile, but became disenchanted, so I decided to work as a school social worker and program coordinator with "at risk" teens at various Bay Area public schools. In 2000, during the height of the dot.com frenzy, with things changing so radically, I decided to leave Berkeley and to get involved in international human rights, which had always fascinated me. I took a chance and moved to Geneva and luckily found a job as a researcher at the International Labour Organization. A year later, wanting an experience in a third-world country, I went to Belize as a program officer for UNICEF. In late 2002 I came back to Berkeley not knowing what I wanted to do, but knowing what I didn’t want to do.

360º Change to Fashion

This is how it all started. One day my sister Marcella, who I had always told what to wear (as I did with all my friends and family who would listen to me) asked me to come to her house… tell her what to wear… put together new outfits from head to toe, with jewelry, bags, shoes, the works, and… in the process toss out everything that didn’t work for her. Basically, she wanted me to go through her huge walk-in closet as well as at least 5 different armoires and dressers full of clothing and accessories. Since I knew it was a huge project, and in the past I had told her what to wear but she didn’t listen, I needed to come up with a new system that would work. We agreed that if I could explain WHY I was saying what I did, and not simply making a judgment about a piece of clothing or an outfit, she would listen. So we had a deal. Then the real work started… trying clothes on and off, putting new combinations together, tossing clothes that didn’t fit or were out of date, and getting an appropriate style together for her. Within a few hours, she said, “Marta, why don’t you do this for a living?”

After this experience, I researched fashion consulting in the Bay Area and realized that there was next to nothing on the subject, so I decided to develop my own system that would work based on what I did with my sister. Although I didn’t have any entrepreneurial or formal design experience, I craved the challenge and after a few months of preparation, I piloted the company in San Francisco and began to get clients. But since I had recently returned from living abroad, I wanted to try my luck in Europe and choose Barcelona as I knew the city and felt it was one of most avant-garde and “hot” cities in terms of fashion and design at the time.

Fashion-Related Experiences in Barcelona

First I worked in the Fashion & Textile Department of the Escola Superior de Disseny, a well-known design school, in charge of organizing and implementing quarterly fashion shows and events, both within the school and with partner organizations, as well as evaluating the department’s creative activities to ensure a positive impact on the school. From this experience I began to get a sense of Spanish fashion and meet the “Who’s Who” of the industry.

Developing my own Fashion Company

In 2005, after somewhat creating a culture of “fashion consulting” which hadn’t existed before, I launched “One 2 One Fashion,” the same company I had developed in San Francisco. I offered fashion consulting services, personal shopping, and shopping tours to locals and foreigners. The company blossomed and evolved with each passing year.

Media Exposure

In addition to my work with individual clients, I also became the fashion correspondent for various English-speaking newspapers and magazines, including Catalonia Today, Barcelona Metropolitan, Inside Spain, and created a fun column for Barcelona Reporter entitled, "Fashion Savvy or Fashion Faux Pas," where I assessed the dress style of famous and not-so-famous Catalans in a cheeky sort of way. I was fortunate to receive media attention on local television and radio programs, fashion magazines, as well as Spain's most well-read daily newspaper, "El Pais" and the advertising world's premier magazine, "El Publicista."

Organizing Fashion Events and Teaching Experience

I was asked to organize and teach design-related courses in trends forecasting, fashion journalism, catwalk event organizing, and personal styling at various graduate schools among them the Istituto Europeo di Design, the Elisava Escola Superior de Disseny, the Institut Superior de Disseny I Escola de la Imatge, and the Escuela Superior de Diseño y Moda Felicidad Duce, four of the most successful design schools in Spain.

My bent towards social work led me to focus on community work by offering a variety of interactive fashion and style conferences to women's groups, entrepreneurial organizations, and business universities. I also organized children's charity fashion events benefiting numerous local non-profit organizations.

Costume Design

Prior to leaving Barcelona, I was the costume designer for two plays with the Jocular Theatre, an English-speaking company. Even though I had never been a costume designer, again, I sought the challenge. I did everything from deciding on the overall look of the show; what each actor should wear; buying whatever costumes and props were needed; making sure the garments fit appropriately; ironing each night, etc. By the end of the two plays, I felt I had developed “a system” for being an efficient costume designer and I was hooked! I also loved the creative process of seeing the play develop from the “first read” to “opening night” as well as working in a collaborative way the members of the design team and the actors to achieve the Director’s vision.

My Return to the Bay Area

Last summer, after living abroad for eight years, I returned home. Since then I’ve been establishing myself in the field once again. I’ve developed my personal styling business and continued to work as a costume designer for local theatres or film production companies.

Shower Me with Style will continue to grow and evolve.

    Throughout my transformation into fashion, I’ve used the skills that I’ve developed in my previous careers such as interpersonal skills, listening skills, diplomacy, psychology and have applied them to the work I’ve done with clients and students. I focus entirely on what the client needs.

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