Berny Martin Founder of Catou Fashion/Midwest Fashion Week & Fashion Community Foundation
For as long as I can remember, I had a passion for fashion. Intrigued by fabric and colors, I began sketching women’s and men’s designs and eventually sewed my first original piece, a pair of jeans, all the age of eight years old. That was the moment, I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer and that was the beginning of Catou Fashion.
Born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, fashion was not what my family anticipated for me, it to work in. It was not until I moved in 1991 when I was 15 years old to Brooklyn, NY and enrolled in college that I designed my first collection and executed my first fashion show.
The success of the fashion show gave me the drive and inspiration I needed to make my lifelong dream of creating a fashion label come true. I wanted to prove to my parents that I can be successful and at the same time to show my love and appreciation for my parents. My parents have given me very important life lessons and values, despite their challenges. My grandmother, an important person in my life, plant the seeds early on, to always give back and support charitable foundations. I made a promise to her, that I will establish one day my own foundation and the fashion label will be named after her.
My fashion role model of inspiration has always been Ives St. Laurent I loved his designs, color combinations and how he had his creativity presented on the runway. I saved all my money over the next few years to establish my own fashion label and eventually I had enough money saved to start my new career as a fashion designer.
As the founder of Catou, I named the label, as I had promised, after my grandmother, Elizabeth Catou Loiseau. She was my sole caregiver for much of my childhood, and during that time, she encouraged my creative and artistic talents, which now produce the innovative Catou Designs.
Catou vision is to provide innovation, creativity, and artistic elegant fashion. With the tremendous success I wanted not only to produce my own fashion shows nationwide, but also work for charities and corporations and established Midwest Fashion Week, LLC.
My success has given me the opportunity to travel around the world and present my designs at the most prestigious fashion show from Paris to Dubai and Munich.
My dream to have my own charity was fulfilled in May 2019 by establishing “Fashion Community Foundation” to assist young and underprivileged children guiding into the fashion industry.
In my personal time, I speak to youth at schools, colleges and shelters to encourage them to stay focused on education and the importance of how to dress for success.
I design with creativity that extends beyond conventional fashion to offer a unique look. I create pieces with the consumer in mind, paying attention to details to guarantee well-made clothing that compliments its wearer. Edgy and elegant, flirty and sophisticated, Catou fashion makes a statement. Drawing from my travel experiences as well as my studies in college and at the FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology in New York). Catou designs exude confidence and not contradicting with one’s lifestyle – yet compatible. Catou provides ageless fashion with personal flair. A Catou design is original and distinct, created with the wearer in mind.
Catou designs are made to provide the modern fashionista/o with sophisticated and ageless fashion.