The Story of Katie Martinez


We are created to be loved. We deserve to be pursued and feel cherished. Most women do not receive this without going through some pain first. That’s what restoration to purity is for. My story is why I believe in it.


How Katie started Elegantees 

Katie Martinez’s fashion mission was to create a modest and stylish brand with a business mission to fight sex trafficking. It was a dream that seemed too big for a girl from a farm in Iowa. However, Katie found lots of favor in New York City’s fashion industry. She graduated from the prestigious fashion design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and was promoted many times as she worked hard for fashion companies. She realized that her experience, connections, savings, and faith were all she needed.

Katie knew the first step in making her savings last would be erasing NYC rent! She moved back home to Mom and Dad’s farm in Iowa to help her budget, while fully dedicating her time on Elegantees. In September 2010, the first collection was released online and became a success in the Midwest.

Katie visited Manhattan often for checking in on factories sewing elegantees, and fell in love with her friend Israel Martinez, and moved back to New York as things were getting serious for the couple. She started working in the industry again to pay bills. It put Elegantees in slow motion, but it came with a blessing. Katie’s job was as head of the production department for another fashion company, and saw it as an opportunity to become even more business savvy.

To this day, she hasn't taken a salary in order to make sure the company’s mission will thrive. With the support of Israel, Katie is on Elegantees full time again. One day, Katie may take a modest income, especially with the Martinez family growing. They are expecting their first child in December 2013.





Your dream was to employ women rescued from sex trafficking. How did this happen?

Supportive friends in Virginia Beach, VA, told me about the Nepali Rescue Project about a year after Elegantees began. They are specifically devoted to providing employment for rescued and at-risk women. After all, if a woman is rescued and sent back to a position where she still cannot afford more than 1 meal per day, does that really give her hope?

With the Nepali Rescue Project, my dream to start my own factory was suddenly put on fast-forward mode. Money was no longer an obstacle because the Nepali Rescue Project already started giving these women their own sewing machines. We partnered up and started testing their sewing skills, made improvements, and created logistical possibilities. While there have been obstacles, we've seen things certainly work together for good.


What is your passion behind restoration?

As I learned more about victims of sex trafficking, I connected my pain to theirs, and realized it could have happened to me too. I was just as young, and just as vulnerable. If I were only approached by a trafficker who preyed on my insecurities, I would have gone through the same hopeless torture. I wondered why these girls got this evil done to them, and why was I protected from it. I started Elegantees for a reason that is deeper than a passion for fashion, or having a business that does good things. I’m convicted that my calling is about restoration to purity and dignity. I believe that women can be restored in every way, just like I am. I want to use my gifts, and the truth of who we are created to be, to restore women.

My story goes back to childhood. I was a gifted child, but teased more than I could handle emotionally.  I became so desperate for attention and longed to feel understood.  I began to dress immodestly in hopes I could be popular and loved, but that only led to feeling emptier.

As the years went on, I put hope in having my own fashion company. At 18, I moved to New York highly focused on making my dream come true. My hard work at the time was really just a band-aid to cover up the pain deep down to give myself a temporary satisfaction in accomplishing. I believed in God and knew His love for me was unconditional. However, my wounds were so deep; I didn't know how to receive that love. I also didn't know to seek out counseling to connect my mind to my emotions.

I couldn't cover up my pain with my fashion dream alone. So, I went into a very co-dependent relationship. This relationship became everything to me, and I did almost everything to keep that acceptance that was so easy in the beginning. I was so deceived thinking that a person could fulfill me. The desperateness to keep her nearly destroyed me, but I was cut off from that, and brought out of by grace!

I can testify that every woman is special to God, and He wants us to be free from every blockage to Him. After I cut off the things that made me feel better but were really bad for me, I started to see again that He has good things for me. I believed that freedom is possible, even though I wasn't able to comprehend it.  It was through having faith and being willing to work with Him that He proved to be faithful to work with me to become restored.  I could see the layers of pain and lies being uprooted for eternity, and today I walk with the truth that set me free!

When founding Elegantees, I've been grounded on these truths. My desire is to cloth women in modesty, strength, and dignity. A pure heart is the essence of a beautiful woman.


What does purity and modesty have to do with restoration?

When I started to dress provocatively as a teenager, it gave boys a false entitlement to disrespect me. I didn't have enough self-worth to stop their actions upon me. Modesty for a woman of any age helps maintain their dignity.

As I found freedom from all the junk of the past, then purity and modesty was evidence of self-worth and respect. My husband became very attractive to this confidence, and we fell in love while respecting each other’s bodies. Dating is best when kept pure, and sex is a sacred and unique to bonding in marriage. I felt like I was completely restored while dating him. And now we are married, I am no longer ashamed, but glorified.

We are created to be loved. We deserve to be pursued and feel cherished. Most women do not receive this without going through some pain first. That’s what restoration to purity is for. My story is why I believe in it.  


Katie, at the start of Elegantees' 4th year of "sewing to restore." (She's hiding her baby bump behind that sewing machine.)


The "Royal" Wedding: Katie wore her
mom's dress on her big day!


Katie, in Elegantees' 2nd year


Since founding Elegantees, Katie's had support through the friendship, courtship,
and marriage to Israel Martinez. Here is a photograph Israel took of a backstage
mirror before her first fashion show in
NYC, June 2011.


The first promotional photo taken for Elegantees, Summer 2010. (Katie has
changed her hair color many times!)