Via Item Live : Meet Ruby Martinez. She’s 26, lives with her mom and sister in Lynn near Goldfish Pond and is obsessed with PBS news programs.
She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Montserrat College of Art and admires Italian Renaissance women, especially those captured by painter Lavinia Fontana.
Her bookshelf at home contains “Watchmen” comics, classic works by Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and “The Practice and Science of Drawing” by Harold Speed. She painted the boxing mural that decorates a wall inside Private Jewels Fitness in Lynn.
And she’s a rising fashion star.
We’re sitting in the lobby of the five-story School of Fashion Design on Newbury Street. Sophisticated and stylish, Martinez is stunning in a red dress that’s contemporary and vintage at the same time.
She’s wearing her mom Ileana’s 1980s long, dangly gold earrings and a brooch that belonged to a dear friend’s aunt. Her portfolio is on her phone, and she’s eager to show her drawings and designs.
Martinez, who works full time as a clothing stylist at a high-end fashion retailer at the Northshore Mall, said her studies at the respected Boston fashion school are going “fabulously. I’m having the time of my life.”
Her one class this semester is Fashion Sketching I, taught on Wednesday nights by Jay Calderin, the founder of Boston Fashion Week and author of two highly respected fashion bibles.
Ruby and her family are originally from Lynn, but moved to Tamarac in Florida’s Broward County. Eight years ago, when Ruby decided she wanted to pursue a career in art and fashion, they all moved back.
“In high school I started to seriously think about art,” said Ruby. “Going to Montserrat really expanded my thinking. I felt so free. My courses … there was a lot of art history, fine arts, painting … I got into animation, typography and graphic design. We looked at a lot of magazine ads, fashion ads.”
That fueled her imagination, and a journalistic drawing class that focused on specific periods of American clothing history, coupled with her infatuation with the 1920s and ’30s, set her on her current path.
“I work in acrylic, ’cause it’s cheaper,” she said.
“For me, fashion is not restricted to a certain echelon of people,” said Martinez. “My dream is to design fashion for the modern working woman, specializing in plus size and petites … and I want to design for tall women, too.”
“I view fashion a bit like problem solving. My job is to make people feel beautiful. Everyone is beautiful.”
Ruby will take Fashion Sketching II at the School of Fashion Design in the spring. Eventually her design line, which she is already creating, will be executed in her Clothing Construction and Pattern Making classes.
Once this happens, her designs will be on the runway in the school’s highly respected May student fashion show, said school president Dr. Denise Hammon.
After completing four semesters of core courses, plus technical courses and electives, Martinez, one of 65 students at the school, will earn her Certificate in Fashion Design.
“I love Denise (Hammon),” she said. “She took me into this school and environment. I’m so, so enjoying it here. Denise is a great help. She is awesome.”
Not every educator of a major institute of learning is called by her first name by a student. Hammon isn’t every educator; when a young woman walks into the school lobby looking for information, Hammon shakes her hand, answers her questions and hands her a business card. “Call me at any time.”
Hammon said in many ways, Martinez is a perfect example of the School of Fashion Design’s normal student.
“Sixty to 70 percent of our students work full time,” she said. “Ruby is an immense talent. She’s already a big part of our community. A student’s imagination can run wild here. Ruby is interested in designing for full-figured women and petite women. She has a design goal.”