15 Jan The incredible career of Texas fashion professional, Ricardo Mario Gutierrez!
For every Texan who understands the magnitude of fashion industry talent growing in San Antonio, there are five more individuals in or out of the industry who don’t. That’s fine. San Antonio is after all, still considered an underdog when it comes to fashion, be it community style or industry wise. But things in the past five years have been rapidly changing and the amount of successful fashion businesses and talent seems to be growing steadily with each and every passing year, turning fashion, into the fastest growing art form in the city.
As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, San Antonio, Texas ranked No. 2 for the largest numeric increase in population between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It became a new home for 20,824 people in one year alone and along with all this new community coming in, there is bound to be new talent arriving and thriving within these boundaries.
Everyone has their story. Some come to San Antonio because they are in the service. Others come because of a marriage. Some come for school and some return to take care of an aging parent (which, I, myself, know all too well about). Which brings me to our colleague and featured fashion community, Ricardo Mario Gutierrez. He too, found himself at the top of his career, traveling the world, only to be face to face with the loyalty our Mexican-American culture cultivates when it comes to putting an ailing mother’s needs ahead of our own lives.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
While many people in Texas know Ricardo for his elite modeling agency and fashion event production company, not everyone knows his full professional background. There is a reason, Ricardo is so great at what he does now. Diversity in resume and elite global experience is the foundation that makes this incredible talent look so effortless when working his profession.
To truly understand why Ricardo is one of Texas’ most dynamic fashion professionals in the industry, we probably need to start from the beginning. So let’s go ahead and do that. Hold tight, because his career is full of twists and turns that ultimately lead up to his accolade collecting, award winning career here in San Antonio, Texas and beyond. You’re going to want to grab your boss mug, and cozy up for this one. It’s a hell of a fashionable ride.
Ricardo Mario Gutierrez studied art at San Antonio College in the early 80’s, where he realized he could mix art with fashion. This then inspired him to enrolled at the University of the Incarnate Word to pursue fashion. Fast to succeed, he then worked at SAMA where a co-worker mentored him and inspired him to apply for a scholarship to Pratt Institute in New York. While waiting for his destiny, he was then featured in Texas Monthly magazine with 6 other young Texas designers in a feature called “Texas Designers to Watch”. Cut to the win – he was awarded the scholarship. He then left San Antonio, Texas to attend Pratt Institute in New York, where he finished the 2 year fashion design program with flying colors.
Portrait by Geof Kern of Ricardo for Texas Monthly
With New York experience and higher education under his belt, he then moved to Madrid, Spain with a model friend, Gigi Stoll. She set up an interview with a makeup artist, Paul Longjean, someone she worked with that day at Vogue and Ricardo wound up assisting Paul.
Boom. Career change – Ricardo is now a fashion designer turned makeup artist living in Europe.
Makeup by Ricardo
He assisted Paul for a year before Paul’s agency started representing Ricardo as a makeup artist for the company. He did this for what he described as “3 beautiful years”.
Upon returning the the United States, he moved to San Francisco where he worked for MAC Cosmetics at Nordstrom. Fast forward a bit and he returns to New York City to work for MAC Cosmetics, of course serving as a groundbreaking leader, being the first American technical trainer in NYC. Fashion Weeks, featured TV spots on E-Entertainment, those types of things, were just the tip of the accomplishment iceberg for him at this time. By now, Ricardo has a slew of high profile colleagues, countless professional makeup jobs and is full force, in the world of fashion on and off the clock.
Makeup by Ricardo on Shalom Harlow for Italian Vogue
With his reputation growing, he was then recruited by world famous, luxury brand, Versace. He served Versace Profumi USA in launching Versace makeup in the United States and was the Director of Training along with being a National Makeup Artist himself. He enjoyed this elite position from the late 90’s to the early 2000’s and this folks, is about the time when his mom fell ill. With doctors predicting his beloved mother only had three months to live, he quickly packed up his whole life, and moved back to Texas to take care of her.
Makeup by Ricardo Photo by Ricardo for Christi Lang Handbags
SLTV: I can clearly remember the moments I told my LA friends and colleagues that I had to move back to Texas. Their reactions were a weird mix of shock, pitty and love. lol… I know they meant well, but like myself, they were terrified that my career would decay. Can you recall that moment that you had to tell your New York friends that you were moving back to Texas? What did they say?
RMG: Yes. I remember telling my friends I was moving to San Antonio. Their reactions were “but you are working for the Versace family and doing well in your career!” I said, “Well, I am a Mexican boy from Texas and family is the most important. It’s what we do. PLUS my mother was and is my biggest inspiration for life, career and LOVE! Donatella said “Of course mom’s are first” and said “Go. Just be where I need you to be for PA’s ect..”
Upon his arrival back in Texas, Ricardo would experience a life of frequent travel, San Antonio to Milan to NYC to Miami to LA. It was a jet set type of life, grounded in love, passion, and the ultimate juggling of time management and goal attainment.
The doctors had been wrong about Riacrdo’s mother, and instead of three months, she lived three beautiful years. “Perhaps” Ricardo told us, “she just loved living with all her children surrounding her!” This, being a sort of life force that gave her something to live (longer) for. During those last years, family life and love inspired his desire to preserve those precious family moments. This is when Ricardo picked up a camera.
Get ready folks – Another career change.
Photography had never been in Ricardo’s career goals, but the moment he began photographing for his family, past art education and his elite career up until now, inspired him to do this within the fashion industry. Once again, Ricardo found himself walking down a new fashion industry path, carving yet another skill in his fashion industry post.
Soon after his mother’s passing, his father’s health began declining. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and so once again, the siblings took to caring for an ailing parent, all the while taking pleasure and pride in the family values that were ignited in these final years.
During this time, Ricardo worked with many high fashion brands bringing a passionate pursuit of beauty in art and life. Ricardo’s photography distills years of experience with major fashion brands and the world’s best art directors with a strong eye for visual narrative. Beyond style, his portraits reveal a powerful substance in a signature approach that borders on art photography. For marketing campaigns, Ricardo’s fresh and stylish perspective strives to activate a brand or product in a way that captures an audience. Ricardo has experienced great success, at times, serving as a one-stop-shop for both makeup and photography for these high profile campaigns.
Makeup & Photography by Ricardo
Ricardo’s father was his biggest influence in his life when it came to work ethic. Now that his already extensive career had developed and arched in several different directions, he was left wondering… now what?
Queue career change – yet again.
That’s when he started the agency.
With all the success Ricardo had experienced throughout his career, his heart naturally progressed to the idea of giving back. “It was time to mentor and help the dreams of others.” Ricardo said.
With a natural (and highly trained) eye for marketable models, Ricardo now serves as one of the leading Texas resources for quality, professional models within his agency, RModels. These days, Ricardo’s partner Mark, is his “biggest inspiration for life, career and LOVE!” 17 years together and they are still going strong, supporting and helping one another to attain new dreams as they come.
In yet another important relationship in Ricardo’s recent life, a beautiful woman would also serve as a partner in career directions. Enter Emily McMichaels and the launch of their award winning Fashion Event Production Company, RWorld Production.
“When I met Emily, my life changed again, we had similar past lives, she, traveling all over the world as a model and me as a makeup artist. We fit like a fashion puzzle. She is amazing!” Ricardo told us.
The team are award winning fashion event producers being the only event company in the history of the San Antonio Fashion Awards to be nominated twice within the same category. They currently hold the title of 2019 Fashion Event of the Year for their production work with the San Antonio Food Bank and their annual fashion show fundraiser, RUNWAY.
Emily McMichaels & Ricardo Mario Gutierrez – RWorld Production
With all of this being said, it is important to note, that Ricardo is incredibly humble and private. It took us quite some time to convince him to actually allow us to tell his story so that others could understand why he (and his partners) are so great at what they do now. As a true fashion industry leader, he not only brings world class experience and knowledge to his companies, he also mentors and shepherds the next generation of Texas talent into the realm of true industry experiences. This is turn, ups the professional standards of industry practices here in Texas, and for that, we absolutely love him.
Below are some questions we asked him at a recent interview. We couldn’t possibly shell out so much information about his career and not pick his brain. So below are some questions that may offer some insider fashion industry tips or simply entertain the most fashionable of readers out there. Enjoy!
RMG: Of course social media is the biggest difference. It has helped many people get noticed and branded. It has given the fashion and beauty industry bragging rights, not sure how I feel about it really. I know artist in the industry that have no social media or very little followers and they seem so happy and successful, plus they have a steady flow of work. On the other hand, I know artist/designers/models that have gone out of business even with their large following so there is a disconnect somewhere. I guess good for some and who cares for others.
Ricardo Mario Gutierrez
RMG: I hope to get young photographers, designers, makeup artist, models and stylist to understand what their job really means. Plus get young professionals to understand hard work, respect and patience in needed to get to the next stage of their business.
SLTV: Agreed. Especially with the “patience” part of it. One of the things I find in the younger generation is a whole lot of impatience. I feel that online culture, tricks them into thinking everything happens overnight. They feel pressured to graduate from college and already be this huge “brand” and incredibly successful. It’s a recipe for disappointment, unprofessionalism and depression. The real world isn’t like that. It takes a lot of time to build something meaningful, for sure. The foundation for something particularly great, being a long journey of education and experience.
Ricardo, Cover of The Book by Neiman Marcus
RMG: This is an interesting question, models are a brand, just like any other brand or business. That’s what I teach our models, so with that in mind, I try to teach them the value of work and clients. You are not a good model if you are a one time beauty and don’t get booked again from the same client. It takes a lot more than just beauty, it’s hard work to become a working a model. I don’t allow diva’s at RModels! We work together as a team, family if you will.
RMG: Thank you for those kind words. I have taught many young makeup artist to learn this lesson: know your client; that will determine what makeup you will perform that day. I’m not crazy about YouTube experts that don’t have experience working on a retail floor, fashion shows, catalog or even something as simple as doing bridal makeup. Learn more and talk less.
RMG: Skin and foundation. I normally use 3 colors of foundation on each client I work with.
RMG: Have a concept, know your brand, know your client. Make sure your numbers are correct to build a business and most important develop a brand not a product!
RMG: Give good direction! if you don’t know, how will the subject know.