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Meet Mito Aviles and ChadMichael Morrisette of OhMannequin! and All Things Visual in West Hollywood/ Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mito Aviles and ChadMichael Morrisette.

The journey of LA’s Mannequins Men began as far back as 1995 when OhMannequin! and all things visual’s Creative Director, ChadMichael Morrisette left his home at the age of 15 years old. Growing up in Alaska, as a creative, gay, Mormon, and having a lack of acceptance from his parents created a divide and Morrisette was asked to leave.

Young and ambitious, Morrisette set his sights on California and landed in San Diego where we were hired by Nordstrom as a Men’s Trimmer in 1996. He furthered his career in Visual Display and Merchandising working for Sak’s Fifth Avenue where he became a part of the Visual Display team–creating window and in-store displays. Knowing he wanted to make a splash in a much larger market, Morrisette moved to Los Angeles, where he began working in Special Events. (With the training from the department stores and the events industries,and with his) Knowing he had an entrepreneurial spirit, Morrisette launches CM Squared Designs in 2005, creating window displays for boutiques throughout Los Angeles.

In 2007, Morrisette met Mito Aviles. A 26-year-old political machine who worked in politics since the age of 18. With aspirations to work in design, Aviles and Morrisette had more in common than they thought. Having similar upbringings of gay non-acceptance by their families, it created a bond between the two. They decided to start dating and eventually fell in love. Essentially, love and ambition was the driving force for Aviles and Morrisette. Now business partners, the two decide to embark upon a journey of working together as designers and put their energy and efforts into growing a business together.

Because the work they were creating began to garner attention from different businesses, artists, and media. Their work became award winning. This prompted industries such as mannequin manufacturing, like the late Patina-V, to take notice and they began to sponsor the designers with mannequins to use in their window displays. As they began to work with more mannequin manufacturers, they began to acquire more and more mannequins. As the company grew the knowledge of mannequins and their history became one of Morrisette’s passions within the business– one mannequin became 25 mannequins, 25 mannequins became 178 mannequins, 178 mannequins became, now, close to 800 mannequins.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
LOL, a smooth road?!…No, not 100%.

We definitely had some help along the way, which we are very grateful for. Thank you to all whom have aided in the process!

Both of us, being 27 years old, breaking away from steady income, and working freelance, project to project, of course had its bumps!

In the beginning we were doing displays and installation with $500 budgets, which was literally consumed in a blink of an eye. However, we were able to build up a body of work along the way that was completely impactful. There were certainly times where we didn’t know where the next project was going to come from.

Now, working on double and triple digit budgets, we are dealing with a whole new set of bumps. LOL Like in the words of our legendary mother, RuPaul, “with great power, comes great responsibility…”

Space became an issue, once the collection of mannequins began to outgrow our first storage space. Still, til this day, it’s a major issue for us. Let’s face it, when you have a collection of 800 mannequins and the collection vastly growing, mannequins begin to take up space and take it up fast! As our inventory grows, so does the space we need. As our projects get bigger, production space is an ever-existing issue as well.

As for creating a business, specifically a creative business in California, there are some real financial hurdles. We applaud and acknowledge everyone who has committed to creating and fostering a creative business. Creating a niche business that no one understands is a formidable challenge in it of itself. People have and continue to ask, “what do you do?…” The fact it still marvels people is a big kudos. So, kudos to anyone and everyone who has created a niche creative business for themselves. Hats off!

OHMANNEQUIN! and ALL THINGS VISUAL – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Oh Mannequin! and all things visual began as a window dressing business for local retailers in the Los Angeles area. Today its a full service design company. We really do mean, “all things visual” when we say it. We now provide design services for window display, retail activations, Instagram moments, holiday installations and experiences, experiential marketing, trade booths, exhibitions, showroom staging, pop-up shops, fine art installing, etc. The list goes on and on!

What we specialize in is human form through mannequins. With an army of nearly 800 mannequins, we have the ability to bring characters to life in a very visual and impressive way. We specialize in exact and accurate body measurements needed for specific costumes, characters, and creating the world around them.

We are known for being a one-stop-shop for all of our clients’ needs. From concept to logistics, to installation. If you can dream it, we can create it.

We are most proud of the detail we have put into our collection and inventory of mannequins. This expert level of detailing ripples out into all of the other facets of our design services. We are very proud of how niche we are as a business. The number one thing which sets us apart from our competitors is we a fusion business. We not only supply mannequins to other creatives and for our creative projects, but we offer design services. We are so much more than a mannequin rental company or a design firm for that matter. It’s the fusion of the mannequins and the talents in design which separates us from solely mannequin rental companies and design firms.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Chadmichael Morrisette: Im always most proud of my current work. The projects just keep getting bigger and more impressive. That makes me very happy. However, being called “an artist” by the LA Times and “an Expert” by the Associated Press have been very validating moments in this career path.

Mito Aviles: I’m most proud of where we came from and where we are now. Being 27 years old, starting a niche creative business in Los Angeles, and seeing what it has evolved to now is really extraordinary. To being coined LA’s Mannequin Men is a rewarding moment. Also, having a room full of your peers, getting a thank you mention in a speech, and being acknowledged by your industry as a leading expert has a really great feeling and tone to it.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.ohmannequin.com
  • Phone: 323.641.3680
  • Email: info@ohmannequin.com
  • Instagram: @ohmannequin
  • Facebook: Oh Mannequin


Image Credit:

@ohmannequin

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1 Comment

  1. Chase Connery

    December 9, 2019 at 08:09

    Other than that wonderful article about my talented friends Mito and Chad Michael (and partners in creative crime) at Oh Mannequin!

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