Marco Martinez ’15 is a math and economics major who engages creatively with fashion and dance. Coming to college from the Philippines, he has a unique perspective on ways of dress that informs both his everyday style and post-graduate interests. The dapper dresser appreciates understated yet sophisticated ensembles and the emergence of nostalgia in contemporary looks on campus. He met with The Argus to talk about his unique background and many sources of inspiration, from films like “Band of Outsiders” to his own well-dressed friends at Wesleyan.
The Argus: Can you tell me a little bit about your background in fashion?
Marco Martinez: [I] got into dressing up better last year, during the spring semester. I kind of felt that when I came back to the Philippines, I was really kind of sick of just sticking to one kind of look, which is so prevalent in the Philippines...basically polo shirts and dress shoes or loafers, just because society in the Philippines is so stratified. I kind of just wanted to change and become myself by having a more individual voice and approach to it.
A: So do you know people from home who are interested in fashion as well?
MM: I do know a bunch, who are scattered all across the U.S. One of my good friends is interning for Alexander Wang over the summer…. She’s been really into it since high school, to be fair. She started doing design and art when she was in high school and she’s still doing those right now, at RISD [Rhode Island School of Design]. She’s also one of the people I draw influence from, because she’s really stuck with it.
A: Would you say style is more of a personal or professional interest of yours?
MM: I think it’s both, because I’m still trying to wrestle with the viability of getting into the fashion industry. Because I think if I wanted to pursue fashion, I’d have to build up some kind of entrepreneurial aptitude, being able to see the trends more clearly and really looking for the viability of the product. So I don’t think it’s something that I want to pursue immediately after I graduate; I want to do Venture for America actually after I graduate.
A: So would you be more interested in the business end or the creative end [of the industry]?
MM: I’m very interested in the business end of it, as well as operations, because I feel my academic background is more geared to that. I didn’t see this coming when I started doing the math and econ program.
But the personal side is more of just a reflection of all the experiences I’ve had, making friends with a lot of people who are really into conveying their personal voice when they’re dressing up, as well as reading so many blogs when I started out doing it. I think we can all agree that blogs are just essential, because that’s where we drew our first inspiration, that’s how we learned the how-to’s and everything.
A: Do you have a favorite blog?
MM: There’s this one called the Style Blogger, which has been based in New York for a very long time, but it’s also now based in LA. That’s the blog that really got me started, and I still follow it...now. And I also like Street Etiquette, because it’s not just a fashion blog, but a cultural blog. So they do a lot of traveling, and they draw inspiration from their surroundings, and everything they come across on their journeys, which I think is very essential.
A: So if you would describe your personal style in three to five words…
MM: I’d say French, indigo, utilitarian, and film noir. I like the minimalism of French style a lot, and I’ve watched so many French new-wave films growing up, and I really loved how the costumes set apart the characters and personalities so well.
A: Where do you draw style inspiration from on campus?
MM: I just like looking at how people play with colors, depending on the season. And I really enjoy looking at people who put effort into dressing up in the utilitarian fashion, but at the same time, they take note of the details, which set them apart from anyone who’s just dressing up for the sake of dressing up. But I do have a few friends who really got me started, who I draw inspiration from as well…. And they all have distinct looks and vibes that they’re going for.
A: Where are your favorite places to shop?
MM: eBay’s definitely my favorite spot, because with the dawn of E-commerce and fashion blogging, it’s very easy to see a certain element or piece that someone’s wearing and easily find that on eBay. And for the most part, I’ve been finding very good deals on eBay and my favorite pieces to wear, incidentally from eBay.
A: How do you keep up with the fashion world while at Wesleyan?
MM: I tend to stay on blogs that I bookmark on my web browser, and I’m constantly just drawing inspiration and looking for pieces…and sometimes I look at The New York Times fashion editorials just to see what’s going on in the wider world. Because I think, no matter how one sees it, if a Wesleyan student is interested in style, their style will ultimately be incubated in this bubble. So translating that into the larger world, there’s definitely a large step you have to take, because not everyone’s going to be as well dressed…you have find that sense of style which is unique to you but also very practical outside.
A: Is there anything else you want our readers to know?
MM: I think that people should not take dressing up too seriously. Maybe people who aren’t really in-the-know with dressing up think it’s too much of a try-hard thing, but I definitely think that, just like how Wesleyan students don’t take their academics and extracurriculars way too intensely like other elite schools, everyone here is very casual and laid-back and willing to learn from each other.