Today we’d like to introduce you to Martha Lapeyre.
Hi Martha, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Being from New Orleans, I was first introduced to the world of design at a young age.
The city’s magnitude of art and culture jump-started my interest in fashion. I was exposed to some of the most exquisite beadwork involved in Mardi Gras’ traditional costumes and the eclectic streetwear displayed by tourists, which led me passionately to the world of fashion.
Unlike most places, there is a very high demand for ball gowns in New Orleans because our carnival season is made up of parades and masked balls. Unfortunately, when the only option for evening gowns becomes bridal stores, the only dresses available are the mother of the bride gowns or bridesmaid dresses.
As a high schooler, I was uninterested in those styles, and I wanted something more young and fresh. Since the options were so limited, I decided to design dresses. After that, I couldn’t stop designing and fell in love with the entire process. This was the start of my journey before I decided to apply to fashion schools across the country and landed on SCAD.
At SCAD, I was challenged to experiment with all different types of fashion, from menswear to knitwear to luxury womenswear. Now, I am a senior and in the process of making my senior collection in womenswear, and I am so excited to share it with everyone at the end of May.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I am so happy to say that it has been a pretty smooth road for me, besides a few hiccups here and there. However, one of the most significant bumps of my design career has to be the pandemic.
Mid-sophomore year of college, I returned home to continue my studies virtually because of the school closures. The upcoming classes that I was required to take that quarter were near impossible to achieve without the school facilities and the presence of an in-person professor. So we had to learn how to sew and make clothes proficiently over zoom with no in-person help.
The professors were learning at the same time as we were. Trial and error became our best friend. At first, the solution was sewing all our assignments half-scale, which proved incredibly difficult and inefficient (although I did make some excellently tailored clothes for my dog). Then, we swapped to full scale when most students started buying dress forms on Amazon and sewing with home sewing machines. A never-ending learning process for everyone.
Once we were back in person, I had to re-teach myself how to use an industrial machine and jump right into senior year making a five look collection. It was refreshing to meet all of my classmates in person because we were all in the same boat. Learning through the pandemic and helping each other out once we got back to school has made our class such an inviting and tight-knit community.
I am so happy to have had the other students experience this with me.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a Fashion Designer with experience in almost all corners of the industry. I started working at my mom’s boutique, Peony, in New Orleans on Magazine Street as a retail sales associate and junior buyer. While I was home, I helped as an ambassador for New Orleans Fashion Week.
After that, I did a Sales Internship at the Skin Worldwide Showroom in New York City. When I started at SCAD, I learned more about the design side of things, and I worked as a Fashion Design Intern for LoveShackFancy in New York City.
These experiences have helped me see what I can achieve as a fashion designer. My style has changed a lot over the years and is still evolving, but my concept work sets it apart. I admire the process of research and pulling details from it to support the final outcome.
That is the rope that pulls me back to designing something beautiful and meaningful, time and time again. I am drawn to fashion design because I think that people’s clothes always tell their story. I want to be the person to write it and help them tell that story in a deeper context.
Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
The best thing to do when you are first starting is to try to immerse yourself in the industry in any way possible.
For example, when I first started out, I knew I wanted to be a designer, but the sales side of the process was more accessible to me without any prior work history or education.
This is probably the most helpful thing I did when I started out because it gave me the confidence to go into future internships with a more comprehensive range of knowledge and a foot in the door to the fashion industry.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: marthalapeyre.com
- Instagram: @bymarthalapeyre