The World of Fashion according to Designer and Immigrant Berny Martin

Berny, you are quite famous from what I know, but what can you tell me about yourself? What made you get into fashion, especially designing your own styles? At what age did you discover your love for fashion? Did your parents play a big role in your aspirations?

I’m not famous at all. And I am not saying that because I am being humble or anything, but I just love what I do.  I am not doing it for the fame or the fortune of it.  I just love dressing and designing for people.  The most rewarding moment in life is the runway, because I get to see my creation on people, good or bad.

I am an engineer by trade. To be more specific, I was trained to be a computer geek.  I am still fascinated by the world of the computer, by how it functions and how it makes things work. However, my passion has always been fashion. Fashion was always that thing that I could never put my finger on, and yet again I would accept all the challenges that it has to offer. So I got into fashion because of my passion.  Now, how I turned my passion into a career is beyond me.  I am most thankful every day for that accomplishment.  [I have] no regrets and I don’t look back.

Did my parents support me? The answer is no… Why is that? They are immigrants and, like many [others], they want what is best for their children.  They never heard about fashion designers and stylists, or about the fashion industry. They heard about doctors, lawyers, nurses and engineers, so that is what they wanted me to be.  I don’t blame them. They were just trying to make things better for me. Now they support me because I have explained to them the beauty of being a fashion designer.  Now they love it, too.

■     What can you tell our readers about Midwest Fashion Week? What can you tell our readers about the various companies you and your company have interacted with? Which of the companies mentioned have you had the best interactions with?

Midwest Fashion Week is everything that is Midwest and everything that is not Midwest when it comes to fashion.  I like the mix and the elevation of creating a world of our own.  We are not New York and we are not Paris.  We do our own thing.

Midwest Fashion Week was established to celebrate the limitless possibilities of the clothing design community.

Our community is dedicated to empowering creativity, to the expression of individuality and confidence through fashion. We strive to provide a strong and supportive community in which new designers can learn and grow their careers. We encourage an atmosphere of experience and inspiration where seasoned designers and buyers can discover new perspectives, and where anything is possible.

Although “Midwest” is in our name, our goal is to bring Midwest fashion to the world. Annually we host runway shows in Paris, New York, Chicago and Indianapolis in which we present exciting collections from exceptional designers from around the world. For over a decade, we have taken great pride in showcasing the talents of more than 300 designers from several different countries.

At Midwest Fashion Week, we take great pride in showing the international community how Midwest fashion fits nicely into the world fashion scene.

We love working with not-for-profit organizations, because giving back is essential and core to our company.  I love communicating with others about the great things that not-for-profit organizations do.

Berny Martin

■     What were some of your favorite outfits that you personally made? What were some favorite outfits you have seen other people create?

I have too much in mind to share… I do love everything that I have created, but I think the most captivating is the way people interact with my clothes. One particular jacket I created was part of the TV show Rip the Runway on BET.  It was a blast.  There are a lot of talented designers and dress makers. I like them all.

■     Where have your fashion shows taken you? What were some of the most memorable shows? How stressful can they be? Do you have any particular extremely stressful experiences you would be willing to share? How fun can they be? Do you have any particularly funny moments you would be willing to share?

Fashion has taken me to several countries in Africa, Europe and Asia.  It has been nothing but positive. The most memorable fashion show has to be Paris.  It was a breath of fresh air.

Fashion shows are stressful no matter what, and anyone doing fashion shows will need to have an open mind. This is because anything can happen.  An open mind allows you to flow through the process.

There are no funny moments at all because we are in the moment. Perhaps after a show we might laugh at the situation. But while we are in a fashion show, we are all working to get the job done.

■     What would you say to other people who aspire to create their own outfits? What sort of advice can you give them? What about people who aspire to model the clothing you or other designers create, what sort of advice would you give to them?

If you wish to be a fashion designer, then go for it. Do not let other things distract you, and do not allow yourself to focus on other things not related to your goal and objectives.  If you are serious about it, then go for it.  Learn as much as possible about the industry because it changes all the time.  

Photo by: Denis Sinoussi.

■     Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers?

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