Today we’d like to introduce you to Alejandra Martínez.
Alejandra, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I first realized my love for fashion design while working as a model as a young girl. I grew up in Santiago, Chile and spent 12 years wearing designs for the runway show, print and television campaigns. While I enjoyed being in front of the camera, the most engaging part of being a model was working directly with the designers, observing their creative process and dedication to the craft that I yearned to do for myself one day. I remember going to atelier fittings and listening conversations about fabric, trim styles and finishing elements that were being used on the garments.
Once the pieces were finished and ready to demonstrate on the runway, I found that the romance of being the creator of the designs steadily overtook my passion for modeling.
While I loved my modeling work as a young woman, I always felt that something was missing in my academic life during high school and university where I studied business administration, and even more so when I went on to complete a master’s program in Consumer Behavior. Despite my passion for design, aesthetics and fashion, I couldn’t figure out the answers to nagging questions I kept asking myself, like “What’s next?” and “What is missing in my life?”
Creating my own designs was the answer that would give me the fulfillment I was seeking, and learning to design clothing became my new mission. I decided at that moment to enroll in a post-graduate fashion design program so I could learn the skills required to build my own fashion business one day. I spent many years perfecting my walks and looks for other designers, and learning how to cut, sew and finish garments so I can now leverage my lifelong experience into Sira Design, a brand I am now developing from my new West Coast home in Santa Monica, California.
It was not an easy, nor a quick transition into fashion design. Another catalyst to becoming a designer was my time living in New York from 2014-2017 after I had to visit the city and falling in love with the streets, its people and the diverse clothing they wore made by designers from all over the world. This inspiration was integral to my development and sense of aesthetic for the clothing I now make. I worked as many fashion jobs in New York as I could, from retail sales to styling – fashion consulting to photo shoots – so I could absorb as much of the city had to teach me.
New York was a great school: every day I learned something new. The streets were my classrooms and the culture was my teacher. I had the opportunity to work with fashion and jewelry designers, art curators and different brands. I had fun, worked hard and learned a lot. I recently moved to LA after getting married to my husband and deciding that this city was the perfect place to develop and produce my ‘East meets West’ fashion vision.
Thankfully I immediately found a connection with the LA lifestyle, the lovely beach and the blue skies – which reminds me of the coastal cities in Chile where I spent my childhood. Sira Design is the result of my personal journey and I am so excited to share its vision with the world and the readers of VoyageLA.com!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
At the beginning of my design career, my biggest challenge was to deal with the uncertainty of whether people would like my creations. I was fearful of showing my concepts to fellow designers or photographers – but we all know that hiding is not an option when you want to start your own brand!
Accepting this personal challenge pushed me to believe more in myself, to see the same things with different eyes, and to explore beyond new boundaries while integrating my knowledge and love of different cultures into my own designs.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Sira Design – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My company is called Sira. The inspiration came from the character Sira Quiroga from one of my favorite novels “The Time in Between” (El Tiempo Entre Costuras) of the Spanish writer Maria Dueñas. I am the founder and head designer. At Sira we specialize in women’s apparel, ethically made in Los Angeles.
Project C, our first collection, is a compilation of my personal experiences during my years spent in Chile, New York and LA. Each piece has a story behind it; the streets of NY with its architecture, the blue skies and deep ocean in LA and the dynamism of a land with so many natural treasures in Chile. Everything translates into fabric, shapes and colors.
Currently, we are working on our second collection, designed and made in LA. Silk, cotton and linen will be the fabrics that will add the perfect texture and movement to our garments.
In Sira we believe that fashion is another way to communicate oneself to the world. Each piece is meant to compliment our looks and personalities, to support our role as women in this world. We don’t follow stereotypes; we follow our hearts.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Yes! Initially, Sira Design started as a portfolio website to show my work as a fashion designer and also to share some lifestyle photos. But moving to LA has inspired me in so many ways, and I’ve been super lucky to meet great friends and partners with the same vision and passion. Currently, we are working together on some new, beautiful lines which we will share with the world very soon.
Additionally, we are always happy to collaborate with artists and local brands. We truly believe when people share ideas and work together, that’s when great things happen!