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Student focuses on societal aspect of fashion

Kelly Martin, a senior majoring in apparel and textile design, has been interested in fashion from a young age. Photo Courtesy of Kelly Martin

Luisa Sanchez

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For Kelly Martin, a senior majoring in apparel and textile design, fashion is a transformative form of self expression that encourages others to think outside the box when it comes to clothing and personal style.

Martin, a 22-year-old Tuscaloosa native, has been described as “running” the University’s clothing, textiles and interior design department. She said one day she hopes to become a fashion stylist or work at the costume department of NBC’s Saturday Night Live.

“I’ve been interested in fashion since I was very young,” Martin said. “I remember in elementary school I was constantly playing dress up and making my friends join in.”

Martin said neither of her parents were actually interested in fashion, but since both of them are musicians, she was constantly surrounded by music and the arts, which brought her closer to fashion.

For two years, Martin wrote and blogged for College Fashionista, a website that promotes fashion and street style inspiration from other college students in universities across the United States.

Last year, Martin interned at Spin Style Agency in Atlanta, which represents fashion stylists and hair and makeup artists. During her time as summer intern, Martin had the opportunity to spend time on photo shoot sets and work with people who enriched her experience.

“I think fashion is important because it represents society during a specific period of time,” she said. “It reflects the state of the economy, what kind of music was popular at the time and what area of the country or world was most influential at the time.”

Michelle Tong, a faculty member in the clothing, textiles and interior design department said Martin was among the top five students in all facets of her Textiles and Apparel in International Trade course.

“Kelly is an excellent student,” Tong said. “She writes well, she is always prepared and she is a great team player.”

For Martin, she said the hardest aspect of pursuing a career in fashion is not becoming overwhelmed by the industry’s plethora of big brand names that can feel completely out of reach for newcomers.

Martin’s advice for people planning on focusing a career in fashion is to set their own path and keep in mind that there is more than one way to achieve success.

“With the rise of bloggers and the popularity of social media like Instagram, there are so many different avenues to take to get where you want to go,” she said. “You never know when an opportunity will pop up, so you have to keep your eyes open.”

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Student focuses on societal aspect of fashion