Meet Valley’s Fall 2016 Fashion Section Opener: Eric J. Ma

Photo by Martin Luo

The buzz of the city is enlivening at the crack of dawn. You have a Starbucks Venti Strawberry Acai Refresher in hand, Cole Haan combat boots on your feet, and you’re en route to a day full of Fashion Week festivities. Whether it’s a model casting or a behind-the-scenes prep, you have a fabulously busy day ahead. You’re 20 years old. Your name is Eric J. Ma.

Ma, a senior Journalism major, has been working in fashion since his sophomore year when he held four simultaneous internships in New York City. Ma worked as an intern at The Dishh, Elite Daily, Dvora Bee LLC, and PLITZS Fashion Marketing.

“You have to have a hunger,” he tells Valley. It’s no secret that making it in the fashion industry is no easy task, which is why Ma advises you to “work harder than anyone else.”

Earning the title of fashion coordinator at only 20 years old is an impressive feat. Ma surprises himself sometimes, but doesn’t hesitate to accredit his success to his hard work. “They took a chance on me,” he speaks of his breakthrough gig with PLITZS Fashion Marketing, but he never took this fortune for granted.

Though his previous experience in the fashion industry was limited, Ma tells us Wayne Shields, CEO of PLITZS, “saw my passion for fashion and hired me based off my strong work ethic.” So, when Ma got the position there was no hesitation, “I worked hard and gave it my absolute all.”

This determination and success led him to his next adventure at the Fashion Marketing firm, a promotion to Director of Fashion Styling and Wardrobe by the age of 21. “I was the youngest director on my immediate team, all of my other colleagues were either in their mid 20’s or early 30’s.”

Perhaps intimidating for the average individual, but not Ma. Ma ascribes this to his proactive personality and ambitious work ethic.

His new role at PLITZS included lots of fun and fabulous responsibilities, including increased authority at New York Fashion Week. Having now worked in three consecutive NYFW seasons, Ma is rapidly becoming a pro.

We’ll try not to make you too envious, but bare with us as we list some of Ma’s fashion week responsibilities. He attends designer model castings and fittings, assigns creative hair, makeup and clothing for various designers ranging from French to Chinese, and manages creative photo shoots for promotional campaigns the month leading up to NYFW.

Though we only had the pleasure of sitting down with Ma for a quick coffee chat, Valley can affirm his ferocious work ethic and fervor for fashion. Not only does Ma boast an impressive resume, but also a contagious energy. Graduating in December, Ma will be missed as he takes on life in the Big Apple full time.

We grabbed a few words of last advice from Ma as he rushed off to his class, “Read. Be sure to know what’s going on and know who is who.” Simple and true, Valley couldn’t agree more, “Having that fashion IQ is what’s most important.”