Long before Project Runway became a household word, educator E. Vincent Martinez launched Grady High School’s first fashion design class with 40 students. Today, realizing his dream of turning his fabric and design classes into a self-sustaining fashion line where students are the top designers, Martinez directs Grady’s UrbanCouture program (UC) and instructs 120 fashion design students who focus on productivity, creativity and personal expression.
UrbanCouture is unique. It transforms high school students into Atlanta’s hottest young fashion designers. Classes emphasize fashion as an art form while teaching basic design and construction skills – pattern making, fitting and sewing techniques.
Additionally, Grady design students have participated in projects that benefit the Atlanta community, starting with UC’s “Feed the Models – Save the World” campaign in April 2007. The benefit brought national attention to EDIN, Eating Disorder Information Network, whose mission is to raise awareness and educate students in middle schools, high schools, and colleges across America about the dangers of eating disorders.
In January 2008, Martinez collaborated with Pets Are Loving Support (PALS) to launch an annual pet fashion fundraiser appropriately tagged “Doggies on the Catwalk.” Proceeds from the show benefited PALS, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization that is dedicated to keeping pets and owners together to share the healing power of love and companionship. More than a decade after conceptualizing this community fashion-fundraiser, Doggies on the Catwalk now operates and functions as a registered 501 c3, raising funds for pet-based non-profits and education year round.
UrbanCouture, “Feed the Models,” and “Doggies on the Catwalk” are all products of E. Vincent Martinez’s creative vision and energy as well as his dedication to philanthropy.
The year after creating Doggies on the Catwalk, E. Vincent Martinez launched fashionado.net - Fashionado is a fashion, lifestyle and trend destination, where readers can experience invitation only runways shows, fashion news, boutique launch parties and fundraisers. Fashionado also offers coverage of edm and product launches through exclusive interviews as well as a myriad of style focused special events.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Martinez came to the United States in 1970. He grew up in Miami where he remained to earn his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Barry University. Later he was awarded a “core student” residency at Penland School in North Carolina where he lived for two years. The seeds of his passion took root there in workshops in bookmaking, ceramics, weaving, textiles, surface design, photography and basket making. He received his MFA in photography in Rochester, NY at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Since 2015 he has held a teaching position in fashion design at the Art Institute of Atlanta.