Suit up: How Marcia Alvarado is engineering inclusive style

Marcia Alvarado has been working as a licensed professional engineer designing vertical structures for the past 14 years. Currently she is a structural project manager, at TRC Worldwide Engineering in Tampa.

In addition to her “day job” Alvarado has a presence in the fashion world.

Modeling was a goal she set for herself to prove that she could portray a male model and become successful, she says.

She’s walked in New York Fashion Week for the past six years as well as numerous runway events in the Central Florida area. She has represented Project Runway all-stars Fabio Costa and Fade Zu Grau, Sharpe Suiting, DapperQ and many other fashion stylists and designers.

“I hope to use The Alvarado Experience as a platform to promote understanding that each individual is unique in their own way. We all matter, and we are all connected,” Alvarado says. “I recognized my unique gift to connect with a diverse group of human beings in all industries, ages and cultures.”

Now as the marketing director for Sharpe Suiting, a custom suiting company established in Los Angeles in 2014, she is building a national team of design ambassadors to provide access to luxury custom suiting across the country. 

What is Sharpe Suiting? What sets the company apart from other custom tailors?

Sharpe Suiting is a bespoke and custom-constructed suiting company with an intellectual approach and classic feel. We are moved by elegance, inspired by social context and undefined by gender binaries.

We create custom dresswear for all genders [and] identities, or anyone who wants a “Sharpe” fit. We are diverse, just like our clients and we take their feedback to heart.

Using Andropromoetrics, our trademarked formula, we create custom silhouettes that not only fit better but also match our clients’ authentic selves, styles and identities.

What should people know before they go to a suit fitting?

During your consultation with our company you’ll be able to flip through our fabric books, have your questions answered, have your measurements taken and design your suit with your Sharpe Design “ambassador,” who will be your point person during the entire process. We only have flat rates and encourage our clients to be as creative as they want, so there isn’t a charge for extra fabric, design or trims. The cost includes two fittings with our local tailor. We have over 350 fabrics and can do whatever cut you like in a suit. We use our trademarked formula, Andropometrics, to achieve whatever look you are going for—masculine, feminine, androgynous, etc.—and our designers are experts at helping you create your dream suit. The process can take between six to  10 weeks. We recommend a full three months for our wedding clients, so we have plenty of leeway time.

You’ve had quite a career in fashion as well. How has that helped you in your personal life and career?

When I started to model I realized that confidence and self-awareness have many layers within ourselves. I discovered internal struggles and conflict that I had no idea that existed living in my daily life, as a structural engineer. I learned the art of exuding emotions on command in front of the camera really transformed my sense of self and embodiment. I took from a place of understanding on a superficial level and dug into the true interworkings of my mind, body and spirit. I have learned more about myself in the past six years than I have in my entire life.

How can other business leaders structure their companies to be more inclusive of all people?

I implore business leaders to shift their perspective in the way they approach their business with clients and the way theyperform their services to create an inclusive environment. I would require diversity and inclusivity to be the norm; which would trigger innovation and elevate employee’s comfortability to take risks. Through these ideals comes an experience where people truly see the value of diversity. People perceive information differently based on their experiences, and through a safe space to share ideas freely. Only when you are challenged intellectually will you start to see growth within yourself and a group of individuals.

My personality challenges me to explore the wide range of possibilities to grow awareness and exploration in construction, social justice, fashion and lifestyle experiences. I continually challenge others, and myself, to break the normalities of society on all counts. 

Can you offer some words of wisdom for other professionals?

I challenge you to explore your authentic self with self-care and compassion. To know that it’s an ever-changing journey and to find ways to share with family, friends, mentors and leaders your true self in a natural way. Be kind to yourself. When you are able to truly express yourself the power of vulnerability will become your superpower. People will want to be around it, hear about it and learn from it, and it will serve you as the best kept secret for networking. >

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