A passion for fashion

Kalei Martinez earns scholarship to study fashion at The Art Institute in Charlotte.
Apr. 11, 2013 @ 05:11 AM

"I never wear sweatpants. People always beg me to wear them," said Kalei Martinez. She admitted however, "I will only wear them one day out of the year."

Martinez, a senior at Chase High School, has proven that she has a passion for fashion. This "Best Dressed" student, as she was voted in senior superlatives, took first place in the Passion for Fashion Competition in the Fashion Marketing and Merchandising and Retail Management category at The Art Institute in Charlotte. For winning, she earned a $3,000 tuition scholarship to study fashion at the school.

“I found my passion for fashion when I was figuring out who I was as a person. When I found out who I was, it’s like fashion opened its doors and I was fascinated with everything that was involved in the fashion world,” Martinez said in a press release. “What you wear doesn’t necessarily define who you are as a person, but it is extraordinary to see how your clothing can speak to people without you saying a word.”

In the Fashion Marketing & Merchandising and Retail Management category, high school seniors were required to submit images of a fashion trend board, predicting the next big trend in fashion. Martinez’s entry included a trend that she describes as “Romantic Fiesta Rampage.” It included the use of bold vibrant colors, embroidery and romantic silhouettes. Her inspiration derived from her “heritage, culture, and love for the Mexican traditions.”

"The top part was based on the heritage of my Mexican culture, and including things like bullfighting and clothing. Below that, I gave an example of the color pallet that I would use with the clothes. On the right I included the fabric I would use and below that were pieces from magazines that inspired the look," Martinez said. "We also had to write an essay on why you chose that, elaborate and explain the fashion trend. It took about a month to put together."

Martinez will progress on to the national round of the competition where her entry will be judged against other local winners from throughout North America for the grand prize: a half-tuition scholarship to an Art Institutes school, and a VIP trip to New York City which includes a “meet and greet” at Seventeen’s New York City offices, lunch and a $500 shopping spree at DKNY with a Seventeen Style Pro, and a $500 gift card to shop anywhere in the city.

When Martinez begins attending The Art Institute this fall, she major in fashion marketing and merchandising.

"My dream is to see my clothes on the red carpet or in a fashion show. I want to travel the world and work in fashion," Martinez said. "Fashion has always been my obsession. It's not just about the clothes you wear. It expresses who you are. So why not make it my job?"

For more information on this year’s Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition, visit www.artinstitutes.edu/passionforfashion.