Meet Liv Martinez, a 21-year-old fashion student from Lincolnshire, who has defied all odds and landed herself a year abroad in New Jersey. In an interview with Fashion North, she spills the ins and outs of studying fashion in the US and how it has changed her personal and professional life as well as given her some incredible contacts.
Liv moved from her family home in a little town called Gainsborough three years ago to come to the North East to study a Fashion Design and Promotion degree at Northumbria University.
She moved from the comfort of her family home to the busy city of Newcastle in 2021, just after the pandemic. Whilst sat in her new home in New Jersey wearing a (very fitting) American flag jumper, she told us: “I wanted to go further away from home, my secondary school was about half an hour away and then I thought I want to keep going as far as I can.”
She chose the Fashion Design and Promotion course at Northumbria University because it was so broad, “I didn’t really have an idea of where I wanted to go and it (the course) covered a little bit of everything, and also the nightlife is great there.”
Liv really enjoyed her first couple of years at Northumbria and she joked: “If I could stay at uni for as long as possible that would be great, so I looked at placements, but it was in my head that I wanted to study abroad.”
When she had the idea of a year abroad in her third year of studies, she contacted the team and landed her top choice at Montclair State University in New Jersey and a place in Amsterdam following that.
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing as she told us: “There was a hiccup with the study abroad team and they made an error in my application for Amsterdam so that’s been cancelled.” Despite this, she took the whole process in her stride and has still gained some incredible industry experience that some fashion students can only dream of.
For anyone who decides to study fashion, we know first-hand that it can be daunting, it’s a competitive and sometimes stressful industry.
Liv has always been involved in fashion and she has been able to hold down part-time retail jobs, which have helped her with her studies and year abroad. She has worked for big brands such as END. clothing and CLOAN rental which have all helped steer her early career whilst at university.
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Her biggest achievement whilst still studying would be working at New York Fashion Week. When the opportunity “fell upon her” she grabbed it with both hands. She proudly said: “It was very manic, you’d be setting up the stage and chairs and seeing people in, you’d be assisting VIPs and designers.”
She had the opportunity to meet a lot of incredible people, including up-and-coming designers including Shun, the owner of Palati1997, “There were a load of designers at the top of the club and loads of people from different walks of life in New York, and we managed to meet Shun.”
Since then, she has kept in contact with him and has worked in prolific places such as Soho House alongside the team, most recently doing a pop-up shop.
“A lot of opportunities have come from networking; it’s being in the right place, and I suppose New York is one of the best places you’re gonna be for fashion.”
After her semester in New Jersey, she has lots of options for what she would like to do afterwards. When asked the dreaded question of what she wants to do next she told us: “This has been playing on my mind, mainly look for internships and placements, if I could land a job that would be amazing.”
She seems to enjoy the communications aspect of her degree more and would love to work in marketing or PR. “My degree is so broad I can do a lot; I think I am more of a planner or a researcher than a maker.”
For Liv, moving back to her “small” hometown wouldn’t be an option: “I would be happy to come back to England or come back here, I’ve always said I would never go back to my hometown”. Travelling and city life is where her passion is and what she’d love to continue to do after her studies.
“I think I’m someone that doesn’t like to be in the same place for too long, but a big city is where I want to be and where I’ve enjoyed my time most.”