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Hugo Martinez: Driving Passion + High Fashion

Fun fact about me: I’m not just a mom. I’m a low-key mommager. That’s right, people, my kid is a model. As revolting as that sounds, it’s not always awful. Sure, there’s plenty of time spent watching my kid get all glammed up while I sit in a dusty corner of the studio searching for a secure internet connection. But then, other times, it’s 100% awesome, like the time I met Hugo Martinez.

Let me set the scene. We’re at the Sheats-Goldstein Residence, the iconic Hollywood Hills home that I promise you you’ve seen before (click the link). I walk in with Freya and plop myself in the back, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible. But then Freya puts on this jacket.

Hugo Martinez jacket

That Jacket: More Than A Pretty Face

Part motorcycle jacket, part statement piece, this thing is gorgeous. As I nonchalantly slide myself next to the wardrobe area to get a better look at these delicious numbers, a guy walks up behind me.

‘Do you like it?” he says with what I will later learn is a French Canadian accent.

Startled, I try to downplay my excitement, “Yeah, they’re nice,” I tell him.

“I’m glad” He then proceeds to show me all of the design details, such as the hand stitching, Italian leather, and the sumptuous silk lining. My intrigue quickly moves from fascination to full-on drool.

Hugo Martinez’s Drive

“I’m Hugo,” he says. “Hugo Martinez.”

“Oh hey, I’m Freya’s mom. What was your inspiration for these?” I ask innocently.

Hugo proceeds to tell a beautiful story. “I was going through a hard time,” he says. “You know?”

I think You’re about 22 years old. How bad could life be?

Hugo Martinez continues to tell me how during this time, he had a mental funk that he couldn’t shake. He doesn’t use the word depression, but I get the drift. According to Hugo, there was only one thing that worked. He would drive on the hills around Montreal, his hometown. There were late-night drives, daytime drives, during which one particular spot would change everything.

“There was this one corner,” curving his hands to illustrate, “every time I went around it, I felt really good, you know? Like it was the only time I’d ever felt good.”

I smile. “Oh, I know.”

Then eventually, this drive cured him. In fact, it inspired him.

Hugo Martinez

Hugo continues to say that he was so inspired by this experience that he wanted to capture it in clothing. “I want people to feel how I felt when I was driving. I want them to wear that feeling all day long.”

His Story Was Not Unlike Mine

At this point, I’m not going to lie, I was choking up. Over a decade ago, I struggled with my own depression. It was during this time that I started Motorhead Mama. On a friend’s insistence, I started documenting my snarky thoughts about cars that bubbled up during my daily commute. The result is the blog you’re reading right now. It changed my career and the trajectory of my entire life.

Hugo didn’t know this about me. In fact, he only knew two things: 1) I have a kid who looks good in photos, and 2) I’m a sucker for a good leather jacket. “You understand?” he asked me, observing my tearful expression. I nodded, wiping away my tears.

Finally, I had to ask, “What was the car?”

“The car?” he smiled. “A beat-up Honda Accord.” We both laugh.

I then shared my story about Motorhead Mama and why I do what I do. We had a genuinely special moment. He’s a genuinely unique guy. I guarantee that this jacket is not the last that you’ll see of Hugo Martinez’s fantastic talent. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about him or the jacket line, please ping him here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please get help. There’s now a national hotline. You can call here. But I think I speak for myself and Hugo Martinez when I say try a drive. It may just change everything.

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