wearable sculpture + unique fashion

Archive for August, 2012

IMAGES of Morgan Culture at May Star’s Diamond Dust Show: San Diego, CA!

As promised, here are the photos from May Star’s Diamond Dust Show at Kitty Diamond in San Diego. This was the first time I’d mixed my wearable sculpture with my couture and wedding gowns all in one show. I found it quite challenging to conceive of a stage presentation that would make sense for this combination, and I really despise having my models just walk around and pose in my stuff.

My work, particularly the wearable sculpture, is meant to be really moved in. It’s meant to create characters and visceral reactions. I can’t just have girls stomping up and down a runway and posing! In the past at fashion shows, I’ve had multiple pieces on stage simultaneously, interacting with each other, in order to make a splash. I love standing back and watching the audience react to my unexpected stage presentation and even more unexpected sculpture at fashion shows. Morgan Culture segments at these shows tend to end up closer to the world of performance art as I ask my models to “do something they’ve always wanted to do on stage but have never had the opportunity to.” Even at more conservative bridal shows, I’ve had my models doing fun and different things like throwing fake flowers at the audience or dancing around. This show could be no different.

Since I had even numbers of sculpture/couture and wedding gowns, I decided to have the girls in gowns “marry” the weird sculptur-ey creatures. I chose one costume (the one displayed at last year’s Inglewood Open Studios exhibition at the Beacon Arts Center) as a shaman type who would marry the two together. I know it’s ridiculous that I didn’t think of this beforehand, but this show occurred during San Diego’s Gay Pride weekend. It didn’t even cross my mind that my show idea would be related to gay marriage- what a happy accident! I had oodles of compliments coming from all types of audience members (some of whom had outfits to rival the ones on stage)!

The only problem with this unique performance-style arrangement on stage (rather than the typical walk and pose) was the logistics. I didn’t realize I’d planned to have the models leaving off the wrong end of the stage- the opposite end of where the other designers’ models were going to end up. I had to quickly shift the plans, which made the whole program much more confusing for the models, who weren’t used to this type of thing in the first place.

Also, since several models didn’t show, our HAIRSTYLIST actually volunteered to walk in the show! I had her in one of my outfits, but when the show didn’t start early enough (she had a wedding to style super-early in the morning), she ended up leaving, which put a kink in the lineup of the show. I’d paired her to “marry” someone, and then had to change on the fly right before my lovely ladies walked onstage! Overall the experience was a blast and I wish I could attend more Diamond Dust events! The models enjoyed the freedom they had and each model had a completely different personality shining through during the performance.

The pictures are fabulous and I truly thank everyone who helped make this a reality. Oh, and a video, taken by the partner of one of my lovely ladies, is HERE !


This is SUCH a cool line- I love seeing the final output from other designers go as far as the full packaging! Gave me lots to think about in regard to the new Morgan Culture line!

Gown Transformations by Morgan Culture

People seem to really love the finished Morgan Culture wedding gowns and formal gowns. Many people who visit my studio while works are in progress have trouble imagining the final output for the pieces.


I can’t explain how my inspiration works, since each piece has its own unique journey. Sometimes I “see” the final outcome in my head when I see the original dress and all I have to do is execute, and sometimes I go through weeks or months of sketching and thinking while the dress sits totally alone in my studio.  I can’t explain the whole process, but I can share with you some before and after images of these gowns!


As you may know, my tagline is “eco-fashion for the bad-ass bride”. The ‘eco’ part indicates that most of my dresses and materials are recycled from other garments or other wedding gowns. You might find yourself surprised at the transformations some of these pieces have undergone! Some have had stains, runs, rips… and some start out just plain boring! That is- until I get to them. Not to be pompous or anything, but I think “boring” is the furthest thing from peoples’ minds when they look at my collections.


Here are a few Morgan Culture wedding gown transformations for your enjoyment. What do you think? Do these inspire other ideas for you?


New Line of Headwear for Headbands of Hope!

As announced earlier this year, Morgan Culture and Headbands of Hope have created a partnership. In this partnership, 40% of the purchase price of a Morgan Culture headpiece is donated to Headbands of Hope, $1 is donated to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and one little girl with cancer will receive a headband!

I created a new line to celebrate the partnership and generate more donations for Headbands of Hope. This new line is a bit less overtly bridal, yet still fancy enough to be used for a special occasion (or of course for a colorful bride wearing a Morgan Culture gown!).
Essentially, these headpieces are a one-of-a-kind couture option for patrons of Headbands of Hope who want more unique statement pieces while creating the same philanthropic outcome.

They’re not all headbands, but they are all awesome! Peruse or purchase at my Etsy shop HERE. Pro photos coming soon- I was just so excited to have them I wanted to share them immediately!
I’d love to see photos of your headbands in action- where have you worn them?

On Showing Where You Don’t Live

Recently, I was the featured designer at May Star’s Diamond Dust event in San Diego, California. Although it’s a mere 3 hours away from LA, I’d never been to San Diego. That also meant I didn’t know anyone who lived there (i.e. models, hair/makeup, lodging).

Morgan Culture with the other designers at May Star’s Diamond Dust show!

May asked me to show 15 looks, which is quite a lot! The last few runway shows I’ve done were around 8-10 looks. The difference between 10 and 15 may not seem like much, but for a designer is quite significant. Many designers do not like to show the same work more than once; they create new lines or looks for each show.

I started searching for models by sending out a model call to my usual Los Angeles model crew. Since I wasn’t paid for this show, I couldn’t offer any pay or even gas money for my models, but the opportunity was available should they want to join me. I also asked for recommendations for their model friends in San Diego. Although one of my models chose to come with me, this approach was mostly a dead end.

Next, I pursued friends. I messaged people in the fashion industry, other designers, and people I knew who’d lived in or near San Diego previously. I received a few referrals, but most of those models were busy and a few were already modeling for other designers in the show (we try to avoid having models double up for designers, since we keep makeup and hair consistent for each designer’s looks and since the logistics of having models switching outfits can be quite difficult to manage successfully).

I posted a model call on Model Mayhem and immediately received quite a bit of interest. However, I was informed that no models under 21 could participate in the show, and all the messages I’d received were from under-21 models. Boo.

I then checked in with the organizer of the show, May Star, who had offered her help finding models if I had any trouble (which I clearly was). She posted a model call for me on her facebook- just one simple post- and within an hour had around 20 responses from models or from people referring models to her. This was wonderful and landed me some solid models as well as a few cool connections who are now friends. However, I didn’t have nearly enough models. You see, due to the pandemic of Model Flake Factor, most designers overbook models by at least 1.5 times the amount we need (though I personally always bring enough garments for everyone, in the near-impossible event that all models show up). I didn’t even have enough for my line yet, not to mention the overbooks!

The Discerning Designer’s Last Resort: Craigslist. I posted an ad on craigslist and had dozens of emails roll in. I realized I hadn’t specified whether I was seeking male or female models, so I had to clarify the ad. I actually ended up having to pull down my ad because my overbook quota was complete as well!
Out of the 20 models I booked, 12 showed up. Though I got a little antsy about lacking a few models, our very cute and very adventurous HAIRSTYLIST happened to fit one of my gowns perfectly and decided to walk in the show!
All the images and the video, with a full description of the show, will be included in the next post, so stay tuned!