FEATURED FASHION DESIGNER
MM: Who inspired you early in your career? MR: My grandfather has always been a reference for me because, not only he encouraged me to be free in my artistic processes, but also gave me the tools to do so. I remember going to art stores with him and choosing materials to try, he would teach me how to use them. He also had a bunch of my artwork at his house. I was definitely empowered by him in this process.
MM: When did you begin your career in fashion design? Were you trained in any sense or are you self-taught? MR: I began upcycling clothes back in 2014 when I was still in school. I do have a degree in Fashion Design.
MM: What inspired your business name? MR: Social Media. I wanted to keep it super personal, but still give people the sense that my product and my processes are sustainable. So, I drank from the influencers' nicknames fountain.
MM: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received throughout your career? MR: It was when I first visited the school I attended. A professor - who eventually became my mentor - told me right away “if you are thinking of Fashion because of money or fame, you better look for something else. You gotta love it more than you think now.”
MM: Has social media enhanced or hindered your business? Which platform is your favorite? MR: Definitely hindered.
MM: How would you describe your personal style? MR: I don’t know if I am able to...I have thought about it before, I have even asked friends and one of them replied: “I don’t know, you dress like Maria”. So, I think I would describe it as a very personal style.
MM: Do you have a favorite go-to outfit or jewelry piece for almost any occasion? What is it? MR: I don’t have favorite pieces; I dress according to my mood. But I love neutral colors and lots of colorful jewelry.
MM: What is your current obsession? (It could be business or personal) MR: Home gardening. I grew up in a tropical place, with a huge backyard surrounded by flowers and trees, so the winter atmosphere impacts me. It really changed after I started cultivating indoor plants. My house is like a garden, and I love taking care of them, it is a real therapy.
MM: Where do you draw most of your inspiration from? MR: From my life. My childhood, sensations and feelings. I also like to watch vintage runway shows and pictures - since fashion runs in circles - so I can keep up with trends in a nice and original way.
MM: What color combinations do you absolutely love? MR: green and purple; blue and orange; black and white.
MM: Who are your personal style icons? MR: My mother, who was a big woman, but never afraid of showing herself and her personality through her clothes. I was also always obsessed with Audrey Hepburn’s simplicity and elegance.
MM: What is a mistake that happened in your life either personally or professionally that you learned the most from and what was the lesson learned? MR: I used to jump in and out of situations without compromising or working to get results and with my brand. I am learning that patience really is a virtue.
MM: What’s one trend that doesn’t get enough credit? MR: Valuing our personalities over labels or what is hot when choosing clothes. I believe the secondhand market growth has helped people connect more with their personal taste, but it is still a long way to go.
MM: Do you have a favorite mix of music that you prefer while you create? What are some of your favorite bands/singers to listen to while you create art? MR: I have two moods when it comes to work music: I either listen to reggaeton, Brazilian funk and other dancing rhythms or Jazz, Soul and very calming songs.
MM: Do you have a hidden talent? MR: I can carry many things at once, so I don’t have to go back (usually to the car or downstairs).
MM: How has COVID affected your business? MR: It changed my perspective a lot, I started feeling like I had an actual business during the pandemic. I wasn’t affected negatively in any way - which is a little sad for me to think about it in opposition to all the people who lost so much! My heart stands with them.
MM: What are three things you love about the city you live in, Milwaukee, WI? MR: The lake, the Domes botanical garden and Leon’s butter pecan custard.
MM: Is there another local fashion designer around your area that inspires you either professionally or personally? MR: The guys from the Unfinished Legacy and Elena Velez.
MM: What is/are your guilty pleasure (s)? MR: I don’t really think I have one, I try to find pure joy in my pleasures, or else I try to quit them.
MM: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence? MR: Zuzu Angel, she was a Brazilian designer who had a very political and meaningful work. The value behind the visual I put in my work was definitely inspired by her.
What is your biggest accomplishment in fashion design to date? MR: Being able to start an ethical brand, working mainly with Upcycling is definitely something that I am proud of.
MM: What is your dream project? MR: Making a sustainable superstore. Fast fashion amount of clothes, but all sustainable, crafted by small producers, vintage pieces...Like a collective, I think the community and respecting small producers are very important for a more sustainable fashion.
MM: Do you have any exciting projects upcoming that you would like to share? MR: I want to connect more with people through the processes besides the clothes. We are still educating consumers on sustainable fashion, and I don’t think I will do it only by selling Upcycled models. So, I plan on offering upcycling classes, books, and other educational products very soon!
"I try to find pure joy in my pleasures, or else I try to quit them." Maria Ramos
Once a month I send out an email with the most Amazing Artists from around the world, business tips for you as an Artist and a direct link for our latest issue on Amazon Kindle.