written by: Kendra Pete
Designing clothes and styling individuals has been a passion of Miss Da’Mara Altman since early as she can remember.
She learned how to sew at age seven and was designing original pieces by age 13.
She knew fashion was a part of her that she would never shake, and once she introduced her talents to the fashion world, they could not shake her either.
She values the importance of continuous learning and education; therefore, she obtained a degree in Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Design from the University of Maryland after finishing high school.
She gained a tremendous amount of experience working as a visual merchandiser for stores like Macy’s, Express and IKEA and expressed her gratitude for those particular opportunities because it created a daily path for her “creative juices” to flow.
Once she was ready to take it up a notch, she began freelancing as a stylist for Linger Magazine and later became the fashion editor of Tape Magazine.
One factor that sets the aspiring designer/stylist apart from the rest of the young hopefuls is her ability to relate the everyday garment to the intricate field of psychology-something many do not understand.
“Actually, before I decided to go to school for fashion, I was going for psychology. So, I think that I look at it a little deeper than what most people think,” said Altman.
This perspective on fashion helps her create pieces that portray time and emotions as well as better understand the different phases of fashion in past years and years to come.
Her keen eye for fashion has awarded her the title of “superb stylist” amongst friends and family because she sees clothes differently; however, sometimes they refrain from asking for her opinion on clothing in fear of the precise and “out-of-the-box” answers they will receive.
“I look at it more like art…if I go shopping, and it drives most of my girl friends crazy, but I’m like ‘Oh, I really like this, but the construction is really bad’…I have to look at it inside-out,” said the celebrity stylist.
Now, working with celebrities such as Cycle 4 winner of America’s Next Top Model, Naima Mora, and second runner-up, Keenyah Hill, as well as Gretchen Rossi, cast member of The Real Housewives of Orange County, has really boosted her career and attitude about working in the industry and allotted her many more working opportunities.
“It was awesome…really laid back. When you think of celebrities, you think of these divas especially when they’re portrayed that way on television…there have been a few that are kind of like ‘ugh’…but you just roll with the punches,” said Altman.
She also expressed the importance of networking and building great relationships when working in the industry especially when working as a freelancer like herself.
“Sometimes it’s hard…but I’ve said in another interview, it’s all about networking, and I used to hate…if I talked to someone and ask them ‘how did you it’ and they’re like ‘networking’…I felt like it was kind of like to shut me up, but it’s so true,” she said.
This aspect of the industry was very challenging for her in the beginning because of her shy personality, but she credits her drive for putting her out there and casting those shy and fearful thoughts to the side.
Now, she speaks up and asks questions-no longer operating out of her fear of being told “no” or having that ever revolving door shut in her face a couple of times.
However, it is a constant, uphill battle that she refuses to be defeated by.
When asked about a few of her favorite stylists, she voiced that her inspiration comes from “underground designers” who many do not know.
Because she knows what it is like to have the door shut on her, she makes a conscious effort to support those designers who have not experienced their rightfully earned exposure just yet.
However, she did express her strong love and admiration for Alexander McQueen who “could have done no wrong” due to his artistic skills and her connection to his pieces.
When asked about people she is interested in working with, she voiced Tracee Ellis Ross as being her “girl crush” at the moment.
“I think she is phenomenal. I would love to work with her…she could [rock] any look, whether it be bohemian to “fierceness”…I absolutely love her,” said Altman.
Readers can check out Da’Mara’s ability to style and design pure “fierceness” on her website at www.embellishedbydamara.com.
You can see pictures of her work below as well as on her website.
Also, check out her “5 Tips for Aspiring Stylists” article here.