A Well-Traveled Life with Morgan Carper
Morgan Carper’s love of travel coupled with her passion for thoughtful design has translated into a successful contemporary fashion brand for the modern woman on the go. Blending her global sensibilities with a New York work address and home-base, Morgan has the opportunity to constantly draw inspiration from her dynamic environment. Though fashion may be fast-paced, this doesn’t stop her from embracing the little things. Find out why in our interview below and head over to The Style Line to catch up on an exclusive second part of the story.
I am a Nebraska girl that has deep roots in the American Southwest.
I am an indulger in life’s simple pleasures – gardening and cooking. My husband and I have been married for 8 years and we are trying to see the far reaches of the earth before starting a family when we can. I value time with my family – I’m lucky to say that seeing them means a trips to the mountains of Colorado or the desert of Arizona. Home is Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
Why is it important to travel? What advice can you impart on fellow designers and makers about what to look for (creatively) when you travel?
Traveling and seeing the world is such a humbling experience: This keeps me grounded as a designer and teaches social responsibility and awareness. After traveling, I am always trying to figure out ways to improve our sustainability practices.
Getting to see something for the first time is a feeling that can’t be matched: It brings out the child in you! This keeps my imagination running wild and fresh and is key in constantly pumping out new collections and ideas.
Do a homestay or stay at a collective: This allows you to really immerse yourself in the culture you are visiting and learn in the most authentic way. A favorite memory of mine was staying on the Mekong river in Laos at a weaving collective. Getting to watch and learn from master weavers on traditional hand looms was such a gift. The lawns were covered in indigo and other naturally dyed yarns drying in the sun – it was so beautiful it almost looked staged.
What comes first, design or business? How and when do you decide which to prioritize?
Business comes first. The ultimate objective is to sell clothes and grow my business. In the beginning, I was using overly-expensive materials and beadwork that just killed my margin. After a few years, I stopped making emotional buying decisions in the development phase and found better resources without compromising my brand ethos and design aesthetic. Having a sustainable business is at the forefront of every decision we make now - this is not a vanity project.
Since the brand’s inception can you think of any one design milestone that’s really captured the essence of what you’re trying to do as a designer?
We also have a line called Nomad by MORGAN CARPER. This is a lower priced line that is still produced in New York and suits many different body types, ranging from petites to taller women. It’s currently being sold exclusively to Anthropologie and on our own e-commerce site. We are doing monthly deliveries offering new products all year long, rather than just 4 months of the year. Launching this line in 2013 was an important milestone in the sense that it inspired the idea of expanding new categories and price points. We have plans for multiple lines under the Morgan Carper brand. Swim and Home are on the horizon for 2016/2017. The idea is to offer something for everyone and build up a lifestyle brand that encapsulates the Morgan Carper girl. We have an exciting year ahead!
What do you assemble daily?
I am always building and assembling to improve the flow and efficiency of the company. Whether it's developing new product categories, strategic planning, research, or working on the website (new site to launch in 2016). Listening to what our customers want and making adjustments along the way is really important and requires all hands on deck to make it happen. My team is very dedicated to the brand and we all come together for one common purpose, which is grow the brand, but also grow personally and creatively.