Fashion Designer Maria Pinto Tells Students to ‘Take Big Risks’

April 7th, 2014 by Amanda Pierce
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Maria Pinto. Photo: Tyler Dunlavy

Maria Pinto. Photo: Tyler Dunlavy

In addition to multiple opportunities to work with large brands spring semester (Cotton Inc., Airstream), CCAD Fashion Design students also got a visit from Maria Pinto—an internationally recognized fashion designer.

Pinto became a household name after a photo of Barack and Michelle Obama exchanging a fist bump at a campaign speech went viral. Michelle was wearing one of Pinto’s designs—a sleeveless magenta sheath.

Now fully immersed in her ready-to-wear line M2057 (launched in January after an über successful Kickstarter campaign), Pinto is well-versed in entrepreneurship and best business practices.

During a presentation in the CCAD MindMarket, Pinto advised aspiring entrepreneurs to take business courses, surround themselves with knowledgeable advisers, and develop an instinct about the fashion industry.

“It’s important to get to know people in the community,” Pinto said. “Your network and your database are your most important tools.”

With plenty of successes and failures of her own, Pinto stressed the importance of knowing what you want and taking big risks to get there.

“You’ve got to love [what you do] because it’s going to be excruciatingly painful,” Pinto said. “When you take risks you either fall on your face or you get great attention.”

Students were also curious to know more about her new line, M2057. She admitted to students that she still has a lot to learn, but said that she is excited to see fashion designers moving forward in innovative ways.

To gain experience before graduating, Pinto encouraged students to seek out internships and to learn to take criticism in stride.

“You should be a sponge,” she said. “Be involved.”

Learn more about Pinto and M2057 on her website.

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