HOW IT ALL BEGAN
It is a long arc from the dusty orange groves of California’s central valley to the world’s most intriguing cities: New York, London, Singapore, Beijing, New Delhi, Amsterdam. It’s an arc made possible by honoring who you are. Identity leads and guides, carries us to places and into the lives of people we would have never imagined possible if we hadn’t been affirmed and told it was ok to be different. To be unique is to be free. It opens one to the potential of being celebrated, of being requested, heralded, sought after. Being memorable is easy, be yourself! This is Carla’s story. She committed herself long ago to making it your story as well.
It began with a gift. A fellow High School teacher gave her the experience of having her “colors done” with Suzanne Caygill. It was a consultation that would change the course of Carla’s life. Suzanne is the woman credited with pioneering personal color analysis and modern image consulting. Carla went on to study with Suzanne, assisting and eventually teaching her style classes. It was while observing Suzanne “saying” one thing in class and watching her “do” something else when working with clients that Carla began to explore beneath the surface of the “seasonal color” system. Carla knew intuitively that each person was beyond classification. That everyone was unique and could not be bounded by a “type”.
In 1994 Carla published, The Triumph of Individual Style, co-written with Helen Villa Connor. In this seminal text Carla applied the universal language of art to the human body in a way that had never before been explored. For centuries works of art had been appraised using the design elements of Line, Shape, Proportion, Scale, Color and Texture, but for the first time Carla and Helen identified a unique Body’s Design Pattern for every individual. We are works of art! Carla and Helen showed us where to look on our bodies and how to appreciate how we are made in a new way. Their simple 3-step progression: 1. From Art… 2. To our Body… 3. To Clothes and Accessories transformed the image industry and introduced women and men everywhere a new level of self-acceptance and selectivity when getting dressed.
in 2004, Carla moved to Los Angeles, California to expand the business with her son Eric and his wife Erin. Eric had grown up watching this work develop. Having seen the transformational power of this work, he felt compelled to get involved and bring it to a larger global audience. Erin brought her skills as an experienced Graphic Designer and natural fashionista. Together they developed the Body Signature System of tools and the Stylist Network–now used by Personal Stylists and Image Consultants worldwide. With new vision and teamwork, the training Institute expanded as Carla continued to teach more and more people in Los Angeles and around the world.
As integrated beings: body + soul + spirit, we are gifted at birth we all we need to chart our course in this life, to take our place, fulfill our destiny and become empowered citizens of the world. The Style Core is committed to your growth, to your becoming the person God has designed you to be!
Identity is a celebration of what makes us special. To be celebrated is all a child wants, all a child needs really. I was born with webbed hands and feet (My mom was very sick in her first trimester when my hands and feet were being formed). When I was born, my father declared, “Every baby is a special gift from God. Our baby is special on the outside, aren’t we lucky!” This initial shot of affirmation was followed by a childhood rich in honor where lots of room was made for me to grow. After 14 years of surgeries to repair my hands and feet, every opportunity to explore the world was encouraged. A “can do” attitude was instilled in my brother and me, in my case, literally, from day one. There was never any whining over what might have been or could have been.
Connecting my personal history with the beauty of what makes each of us special is what I live for. We all need more encouragement than we receive from mom and dad. Its a constant and pervasive need. We must be affirmed to become all we can be. We are relational creatures. Words of affirmation, and identifying what makes each of us unique is a passion I carry with me everyday as a stylist, mentor, grandmother, mother, wife and friend. For God’s glory we have been made, for love we have been created.
As for my path through education and career, I earned a BA in Theater Arts with a minor in English and High school education, beginning my career as a high school English teacher, then continuing my education with a MA in Music. I became an associate member of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) and started my interior design business in 1971. I am a founding member of CDI (Colour Designers, International) and AICI (The Association of Image Consultants, international), from which I received an IMMIE for excellence, and received my CIM (Certified Image Master – 1 of 19 CIM’s globally).
I currently reside in Central California where I am restoring an historic family ranch. From here I regularly visit Los Angeles and the Bay Area in addition to traveling throughout the USA abroad to teach this work.
I have enjoyed styling people into greater confidence and opportunities for the last 15 years. The seed for this calling was first planted after I experienced the power of style transformation in my own life, going from invisible to empowered. It was such an amazing feeling that I wanted others to experience it, but had no idea there was a career for that! Years later, I fell in love with and married Eric, the son of well known Image Industry pioneer, author and trainer—Carla Mathis, who would become my mentor. Together, our family expanded a global business of training, products and services. As one of the principals at The Style Core, I am a style coach along with operations director for the training institute and global Stylist Network. While I believe that true beauty radiates from the inside out, I delight in helping people unveil their authentic attractiveness and present it to the world. I currently reside in my beautiful home town of Chico, in Northern California with my husband Eric, two children and various pets.
I had my first color palette designed when I was two years old. I have lived my life surrounded by women and men pursuing their passion to dignify and beautify people. I cannot remember a moment when my mother wouldn’t stop my sister and I on a walk or pull the car over on a drive to describe in gripping detail how someone, she was now pointing breathlessly, had the most unusual and extraordinary bounce in their step. She would design, in an instant, the perfect skirt, made of a light cotton jersey that would accent the movement and further animate for all the world to enjoy their unique walk. I was raised to celebrate people. I left a career in film almost before it began, I was working as an art director, to help my mother expand the appeal of her work and uncover the deeper connections between who we are and how we look. Human identity is precious. There is nothing on this earth more valuable than the sanctity of life. My wife Erin, and children Tristan and Sierra, are not an extension of me they are their own divine creatures. Men everywhere need to slow the impulse to project themselves into other people’s lives and learn to harness their masculine power to protect, call out what is real in the other and preserve the dignity of all living beings. Can I get an amen?!
I joined The Style Core in 2004 after helping Vitra, a Swiss German furniture manufacturer, open their Los Angeles showroom.
Empowering Industry Influencers
The Style Core cofounder Carla Mathis is honored to have mentored outstanding individuals in the Image Consulting & Personal Style Field who continue to advance our philosophy through their work in markets around the world. Here are a few of the industry leaders who have taken Carla’s legacy and work into their nations & beyond.
Christina Ong, based in Singapore, became Asia’s first AICI (Association of Image Consultants International) Certified Image Master. She founded a thriving practice followed by establishing the Academy of Image Mastery (AIM) to provide aspiring image consultants in Asia access to AICI CEU-approved educational image courses in English and Mandarin in Singapore and Hong Kong, respectively. In 2005, Christina invited Carla to train in Singapore. Since then, The Style Core is proud to be an alliance partner of AIM where Carla periodically facilitates a special series of AIM Masterclasses for image consultants, stylist and designers in Asia. Through her dedicated work with thousands of clients, Christina has gained the well-earned reputation for being an exceptional trainer and someone who is truly committed to creating extraordinary results.
“To me, Carla’s value-based approach is the most precious and valuable part of why I do what we do and how it puts respect for the beauty and gift in each person at the centre of our work and business. Information is available everywhere. Even methodology can almost be replicated or replaced by technology today. But the essence of seeing and drawing out beauty that unique talents builds self-esteem in clients – this I think is Carla’s greatest gift to our industry.” – Christina
Andrea Fraguas is an Image Consultant based in Brazil, and an AICI member. Certified by FIT-Fashion Institute of Technology of New York, Andrea was first exposed to Carla’s teachings through the book The Triumph of Individual Style. The book had a huge impact on how she saw clients, and on her career as an Image Professional. Since then, Andrea has committed to sharing Carla`s teachings in Brazil and to spread the message of individual beauty to her country. Since 2016, Carla has been traveling to Brazil conducting trainings and presentations including an upcoming series of seminars in May/June 2018. As one who is passionate for Image Consulting, Andrea attends her clients with empathy, assisting them in a way that they helps them see their best version of themselves.
“Carla Mathis is my inspiration, she has the gift to help people to see themselves in their unique and inherent beauty.” – Andrea
Riet de Vlieger
Riet de Vlieger, based in the Netherlands became the first AICI Certified Image Professional in The Netherlands, and in 2017 became the first AICI International President in Europe. For many years, Riet and her team invited Carla to train image consultants in her country, with students attending from throughout Europe. Now a Certified Style Core Trainer, Riet provides courses for future image consultants and Masterclasses to those who want to learn more. She is a published author of the book Elegant, wardrobe management for women and an educational book on color and style for schools of beauty professionals (both in Dutch). Riet makes a difference for many clients, teaching them how to present themselves in a way that they are fully accepted and honoured.
“Carla’s vision of personal beauty and how to express it is different from the background other Image Schools are training from. Quotes like “Your body is a piece of art” and “The body tells you what it wants to wear” are so helpful in finding unique ways of showing the very best of a person to the world. With Carla’s principles I can fully use my own creativity in finding solutions to guide my students and clients.” This brings joy to my life every single day.” – Riet
Eva Koeck-Eripek, based in Vienna, Austria, became Europe’s first Certified Image Master. She has been an Image Consultant for over 29 years and is the CEO of Image Institut Austria and Image Product. After a worldwide education over many years, she now works as a speaker and trainer for successful people, celebrities and companies. She has trained more than 750 Image Consultants and is president of the Association for Image Consulting Austria. Having her own Styling Show on TV for 15 years now, Eva is also an author and gives more than 300 speeches and seminars every year. Eva is the AICI IMMIE Award Winner for 2012. Eva lives what she teaches; She persuades through high competence, natural appearance and credibility.
“When I met Carla more than 20 years ago, she changed how I saw colors, shape and style. Her unique personality to see and teach is for all people – within our industry or not – inspirational and trend-setting. Despite your culture Carla will directly reach your heart and support you on your way to success. It is her destiny to beautify the world. It is an honour to work with her!” – Eva
If you envision yourself as a leader who desires to empower people through this work, be sure to learn more about our upcoming training opportunities. Whether you want to start small with on-demand webinars, go deeper with our foundational Essential Course, or are ready to advance with the Level III Complete and Train the Trainer (TTT) program…there is a next step for every level. Contact us with any questions and we’ll be glad to help you find the right resource for your goals.