This Entrepreneurial Colombiana is adding her style in how celebrities look
Irma Martinez is the most sought after Latina stylist working today, doing album and magazine covers with stars like Pitbull and Sofia Vergara to name a few. She has been busy lately, but it wasn’t always like this. Decades ago, when she was laid off from her job working in public relations firm, then later a the wardrobe department at a national Spanish-language television network.
The role of “stylist” wasn’t an option because the job didn’t exist at the time. Celebrities typically dressed themselves with the help of their managers or agents. Martinez knew if she wanted a big job in fashion she was going to have to trailblaze her own path “I started making some calls to producers. At that time they didn’t even call it a ‘stylist’—but I said, ‘If you need wardrobe for anything, call me and I can do it for you.'”
Customers loved the way she put the outfits together, they loved it so much, that they’d come in and buy all the pieces.
Irma would always make things her own by adding her “sazon” to things, like twisting a knot in a shirt or wearing shiny shoes in the middle of the day, just being different and creative.
“I used to get sick of everybody dressing the same, like there was a code for everything — this for this place, this for this,” Martinez remembers. “I was the rebel.”
Martinez’s growth began before celebrity styling was even recognized as a career.
She moved to Florida from Colombia to study merchandising in the late ’80s, after working at the boutique, she realized her talent was in piecing together outfits. Celebrities began dropping by and asking her for help. Soon she was touring with Latin singer Angela Carrasco, planning her outfits, and then with Shakira.
Today, Irma’s portfolio of clients including Daisy Fuentes, Pitbull, Ricky Martin, and Sofia Vergara. She also styles shows for the Latin market: She and a team of seamstresses created more than 100 outfits for the recent Latin Music Awards show. I really enjoy what I do. I think that’s part of the success: When you find something you love it makes it easier to go to work.”
Petite and blond, she looks younger than her 51 years.
She built her company, Trendy Inc., slowly while she and her husband raised their two children and is proud of the balance she struck. Now the kids are grown and she’s releasing a book, El Manual del Estilista and plans to offer classes in her new studio.
She always knew she’d do something in fashion but never expected it would be at this level.
“I mean, I would never believe it,” Martinez says. “Even sometimes when I’m with an artist at major arenas throughout the country I’m like, Wow, I cannot believe it. I’m here.