Since I started this blog and began getting to know local fashion designers, I've always wondered if I could do what they do. I'd like to think I've got a few ounces of creativity in my blood — fashion, much like writing, stems from the right inspiration.
After chatting with Emily Morgen, the creator of the line Emily Jane, I'd have to say, nope, nuh uh, I don't think I can do it. Why? Because inspiration hits true artists at random times, without warning. "I get ideas in a flurry and then I have to write it down and oftentimes that is late at night," Morgen says. "Or it will wake me up out of my sleep. I’ll have a concept in a dream and I’ll wake up and I have to sketch; I have to get that down before it leaves."
I just don't know how I feel about a muse waking me up in the middle of my beauty rest to give me an idea. Thankfully, Morgen doesn't mind, and her designs reveal how devoted she is to her craft.
Originally from Charleston, her mom taught her to sew when she was a kid, not knowing that one day, Morgen would be putting those very skills to use in developing her own line of women's clothing, sold at local boutiques like chez Elle, The Pink Hanger and Bella Ropa. Her market is generally women between the ages of 30-45 who like to go out and have a good time. "My things tend to be dresses and tops and more for going out to dinner or getting together with friends. A little bit extra, not so many daytime looks, more nightlife looks," she says.
Oh yeah, by the way, the fashion thing is a side gig for her, and she's content with that. During the day, she works in the banking industry. "I always like to have a balance between stuff that’s creative and stuff that’s cerebral in my life. This is kind of the extreme example of that."
While she may be slaving away behind the doors of one of the big banks here in Charlotte, inspiration manages to find her nonetheless. "I get my inspiration from almost anything; it’s kind of like osmosis," she says. "Weather, where I am, sometimes I get together with girlfriends and we put on music and we talk about what the music inspires us to do. Stuff from my subconscious. I love to mix something that’s very feminine and something that’s very edgy."
Ironically, she even manages to find inspiration in the financial downturn. "I feel like the recession is bringing out neutrals in people’s fashion design lately. Things aren’t quite as whimsical or dramatic as they used to be." And yet, as she maps out her fall 2010 designs, the neutral she's using is snake print. "My idea of neutral is a little bit skewed, but it goes with anything you’re going to put with it," she says with a laugh.
As spring approaches (slowly but surely), if you check out Emily Jane at one of the boutiques it's featured at, you'll find prints and bright colors. "I’ve got a lot of cotton prints and dresses, some fun, bat-winged, almost '70s tops and silky skirts that go together, that are dressed up but still relaxed. I also have some neon — I hate to use that word, but bright, neon yellow-colored peddle pushers with exposed black zipper and things that are '80s throwback tongue-in cheek things that are just for having fun around town," Morgen says.
When talking about spring trends, she also says the "it" purse for the season is the backpack.
While not everyone may find it easy to take up her designs and dress so boldly — floral prints and a backpack? — Morgen says it's really all about confidence. "You may not think you can pull it off but you can pull it off because it’s all about attitude. I see a lot of people who say, 'that looks great on you but I could never pull that off,' but I just disagree. If you want to, if you’re at all attracted to it, then try it. It’ll open up a new world. The minute you take that plunge and begin to build up your confidence level, it soars from there, and it becomes one of those fun things in life."
Here, here, Emily!