Berny Martin Founder of Catou Fashion/Midwest Fashion Week & Fashion Community Foundation
About me: www.bernymartin.com
Fashion Production: midwestfashionweek.com
Fashion has always been a way of life for me. As a child growing up in Haiti, my grandmother encouraged my interest and helped me sew my first design: a pair of jeans. While later acclimating to life in the Midwest, I pursued a “safer” career option in the tech industry, but I quickly learned that “safe” wasn’t for me. At the advice of a friend, I took a leap of faith and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and slowly began the process of starting my own label, Catou, named after my grandmother who inspired me so long ago.
After returning to the Midwest, a place with little to no opportunity for fashion in the early 2000s, I began building everything. I began recruiting and partnering with people who also had a desire to see fashion in Middle America, hosting fashion shows and taking every opportunity to get my brand out there. As a result of my continued efforts, the Midwest now has a well-deserved presence in the fashion industry. I have spent nearly two decades pursuing my dream of building my brand, while also dedicating my time to give others a much-needed platform to pursue their own dreams of making it in the fashion industry.
It’s not always easy, but it’s worth every second.