Selena, also known as the “Queen of Tejano music,” was one of the most famous Mexican-American entertainers of the 1990s. The iconic Latin music star was also known for her exotic fashion statements, earning her the nickname of “Tejano Madonna.” After designing her own clothes for most of her career, Selena finally entrusted the weighty responsibility to Martin Gomez, who was just starting out designing clothes himself.
Their collaboration helped Selena begin to embark on her next big journey, that of being a fashion designer. One of her closest colleagues in the years before her untimely death, Gomez is an integral part of the legacy left behind by Selena. We get a glimpse of this relationship in ‘Selena: The Series,’ and so we decided to check up on what the exclusive fashion designer of one of the most influential Latin artists of all time has been up to all these years. Here’s what we found.
Who is Martin Gomez?
Martin Gomez met Selena quite by chance at a mall in Corpus Christi, Texas. He later admitted that at the time, he didn’t know who she was but was nonetheless drawn to her confidence and appearance. The two instantly bonded over their mutual love for fashion, and despite initially turning down her offer, Martin soon found himself leaving his position at Dillard’s and accepting Selena’s offer to join her in designing clothes. Martin went on to design many of the singer’s most iconic dresses, with the two of them working on the designs together for Selena’s concert and red carpet outfits.
When Selena opened up her first boutique in 1994 in Corpus Christi, Martin oversaw the manufacturing process of the product line. Soon enough, a second outlet of Selena Etc. opened up in San Antonio, and they subsequently planned to start selling their clothes in department stores. However, in 1995 Gomez resigned from his position, citing friction with Yolanda Saldivar, who was the President of Selena’s fan club. By this time, he had already spent months warning Selena about his suspicions and unease towards Saldivar, who he said was lying, stealing, and sabotaging people’s work.
He recalled, “She (Yolanda) would play so many mind games, say people had said things they hadn’t said. So many things would happen to the clothing I was working on. I knew that I had finished a certain piece, but I would come back from a trip to New York and the hems would be ripped out. It was very strange.” Just a few days after the Mexican American singing star’s murder at the hands of the very same Yolanda, Martin said, “The last call I had with Selena, the last call, I told her to be careful. It was very weird. I was very afraid of Yolanda. But I never thought she would hurt Selena. I never thought it would come to this.”
Where is Martin Gomez Now?
Four years after Selena’s death, the boutique in San Antonio shut down. The store in Corpus Christi remained open for another decade after that, before also shutting down. Whilst working with Selena, Martin had been in charge of designing and manufacturing all the outfits in these stores. In an interview many years later, he recollected how Selena had insisted that he have his name as well on all the clothes. The tags on all the pieces of clothing in the boutique read “Designed by Martin Gomez Exclusively for Selena.”
Soon after Selena’s death, Martin went back to working with Dillard’s, where he remained for 8 years, working his way up to a Creative Director. Martin refused to discuss the subject in the media, not wanting it to seem like he was using a friend’s death to garner popularity. However, 25 years after her shocking murder, he finally decided to write a book chronicling his friendship with the Tejano music icon.
Taking a year off to pen his thoughts, he converted an entire floor of his mansion into an office where he went through boxes and boxes of material that he had collected in the less than 2 years that they had spent working together. Apart from the book, Martin’s life has moved far away from his days as Selena’s exclusive fashion designer. A native of San Antonio, he now lives in Duluth, Minnesota, with his wife and two children. He currently works with the Ascena Retail Group as Vice President of Product Development and Sourcing.
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