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Conversations with MORF

Today we’d like to introduce you to MORF.

Hi MORF, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I have early memories of sitting on the floor in my grandmother’s day room using a small sewing machine for hours by myself. I would sew lace, and any other materials I could find in her sewing basket, onto old tank tops she set aside for me. Both of my grandmothers taught me how to sew, and for some reason from a young age, I was very drawn to it. My Grandma Bea always says I inherited the talent from her mother, who she remembers would stay up for hours all night sewing clothes for her children. Whether I inherited it or not, I believe everyone is born with a gift. And if you don’t spend your life using that gift, the universe will keep knocking and then banging, reminding you over and over until you do.

In college, I felt very lost. Many people seemed to just know what degree they wanted to pursue, but none of the majors felt like a fit to me. Every day I would come home from my classes and spend the rest of the night sewing. I remember bringing up the idea of dropping out and attending fashion school to my family but was instead urged to pursue fashion after completing college. Something inside me internalized this false view that sewing was more of a passion rather than a “real” career to pursue after that conversation. At the time, it was much more rare to venture away from the “traditional path”–go to college, get a job with benefits, raise a family, and retire–for a career in creative entrepreneurship. So, I suppressed my creative side and focused on school.

I graduated with a liberal arts degree in 2017, got a full-time job, and followed the career path I thought would make myself–but mostly others around me–happy.

It didn’t really work out that way though. I started to get that “knocking” feeling and it wouldn’t go away. One night out of the blue in the summer of 2019, I had a dream that I had my own fashion brand and sewed for a living. The dream felt so real and left me with a deep feeling of happiness. I woke up that next morning, went to get my sewing machine out of the storage unit, and have not stopped sewing since.

Over the next few years, I would spend every night sewing alone in my apartment after coming home from my office job. I found joy in deconstructing clothes I found at thrift stores and turning them into new pieces. At first, I just started by selling the items I made on Depop, but soon I took it more seriously and saw more for my work beyond a side business. In March of 2021, I created my brand MORF. MORF represents the transformation of turning one item of clothing into another, and also the transformation I’ve gone through, and will forever go through, as a creative person. I now design and create full-time and plan to spend the rest of my life using my gift.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I think anyone pursuing a creative endeavor can agree that challenges are an inevitable but necessary part of the journey. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. And that can be a hard pill to swallow. When I first started out, I didn’t know anyone personally who was a creative or had their own business. It was hard not having someone who can relate to you through the tough moments, and I had to figure out a lot on my own. There is no manual for how to navigate the incredibly unique and complex road of following your passion, so I’ve spent a lot of time googling, watching videos and learning from my mistakes.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned to date is that time and money are extremely precious when starting your own business, and I’ve definitely wasted both along the way. My road has been full of long days and long nights, low points and moments of frustration. And to be honest I am still very much at the beginning of that road. But the joy of being able to create every day and the beautiful people I’ve connected with through this journey help me view every struggle as an obstacle I can get through.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
MORF is a play on the word metamorphosis. I source thrifted items and use them to create one-of-one upcycled pieces. My process is very much like the transformation a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly—it begins as one thing and comes out as something completely new and different. I think there is beauty in being able to see the possibilities and potential use for items that other people might consider “trash.” I also enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to incorporate a miscellaneous item like an umbrella, for example, into a dress.

I am most proud of the way I create. Because I upcycle all of my pieces from thrifted clothing and materials, I am able to give new life to textiles that may have otherwise ended up in a landfill. Being a sustainable brand is important to me because I don’t want to contribute to the wasteful nature of the fashion industry. I actually think it’s more fun to use materials that already exist because they have so much character, and it allows me as a designer to feel good about what I am putting out to the world and my customers can feel good about the pieces they are wearing.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I enjoy collaborative work and take commissions for custom pieces. You can direct message me on social media or email for inquiries.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Models: Joslynn & Earvee; Photography: Bishop Elegino and Aja Holloway

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