Instructor spotlight: Martha Palaza

There’s nothing like the excitement (and sometimes nerves!) that accompany the start of a new school semester. As fashion design students, you’re busy gathering the supplies you need for your next draping class, researching inspiration for your next project and possibly beginning to put together your professional portfolio. Most likely, you are also building your professional network as you work with your classmates and get to know your instructors.

We are big fans of linking our students to professionals in the fashion industry, not to mention shedding a well-deserved spotlight on the talented people who make the University of Fashion a destination spot for supporting your in-class learning or determining your own course when learning fashion design. This month, we are pleased to introduce you to Martha Palaza – an expert in product development, manufacturing, pattern making, garment construction, fitting and textiles.

Martha earned her MFA in fashion design at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, a BA in studio art from Framingham State University in Massachusetts and a certificate in fashion design from the School of Fashion Design, Boston. She has been a costume designer for Costume Works of Somerville Massachusetts where she fit, patterned and constructed costumes for national theater and opera troupes and entertainment companies. Martha is currently a freelance pattern maker as well as an instructor at the U of F. All of Martha’s lessons can be seen here, but to give you a taste of what you can learn from this industry professional, take a look below:

Screen Shot 2016-09-18 at 2.08.54 PMWe are also thrilled to announce that you can learn from and network with Martha in person if you are in the Massachusetts area on October 1 from 9:30 am – 3:30pm, as she is offering a seminar for designers, Techniques for Professional Looking Garments. Martha will be presenting an all day workshop where she will highlight techniques in fitting, pattern making, fabric layout and cutting, machine stitching, overlock stitching and pressing. Call to reserve your spot today at Marie’s Sewing Center located in Woburn Mall at 300 Mishawum Road Woburn, Massachusetts, 781-935-5558 or 1-800-578-5528.

And as an added bonus, look forward to new videos on GRADING coming soon to you via the University of Fashion! We can’t wait to show you what we’ve got up our sleeve in the next few months!


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Kara Laricks is a regular contributor to the University of Fashion. She’s also a New York based women's wear and accessories designer. As the first winner of NBC's Fashion Star, Kara has designed collections for H&M, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue. Her masculine meets feminine line, Kara Laricks, debuted at New York Fashion Week in 2012 and her S/S 2013 collection sold exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue. Kara's designs have been featured on the Today Show and HBO's True Blood as well as covered in Women's Wear Daily and on Kara holds Master's degrees in both Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kansas and in Fashion Design from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. An educator turned designer, Kara is dedicated to supporting emerging designers and inspiring others to follow where dreams lead.