wearable sculpture + unique fashion

Archive for October, 2012

WOW 2012 Collaborative Entry: Full Pictures Gallery !

2012 has been a great year so far for Morgan Culture stuff ! One of the main things that’s kept me busy is the Brancott Estates World of Wearable Art show in Wellington, New Zealand. WOW doesn’t allow any photos to be released before the final judging takes place the night of the show, so I’ve been sitting on these pictures since we first entered, agonizing about not being able to release them! But now they are available for public consumption 🙂

You might remember this piece as my finalist piece in last year’s show…

This year, the WOW factor was taken to a whole new level when I collaborated with costumer Laura Brody. Laura has years of experience in the professional costume and fashion industries and is someone I admire greatly- so I was ecstatic for good reason when she agreed to work with me for WOW 2012! After reviewing the show’s entry sections for the year, we started our collaboration with some reference material from authors and artists we liked,



and then created the following sketches together.

These sketches were used through every step of the process!

We then went shopping. Yes, shopping! We scoured our own fabric collections for appropriate fabric, then ventured into the thrift stores and a military-surplus-slash-hardware-store place.
Next, we draped the piece using two mannequins to simulate our models. Laura used her famous staple draping technique, which she later taught as a workshop in Wellington while we were there for the show!

We completed this piece’s actual construction in just 3 days. Originally, we created the piece for the “musical symphony” section of the show, in which each piece needs to also be a musical instrument. The design of the piece includes a rudimentary “guitar”, made from giant rubber bands and a plastic tote, which the models can play from the inside. However, the piece “wasn’t loud enough” according to WOW judges, so we competed in the American Express Open section instead. Also, our use of all recycled fabrics and items qualified us to compete for the Shell Sustainability Award (though we did not ultimately win it).

The two inner garments were made with a stencil made from hot glue on a mirror, plus some added texture on the garments with 3-D textile paint.

Assembly involved two sewing machines at the same time, lots of coffee, and fun. Lots of fun.

And of course, final surface decoration with Simply Spray fabric paint.

We nailed this piece in just a few weeks from original concept to final submission photo shoot (thanks, Relentless Cinematography, for the images)! It got in, so we stuck it in a box and sent it to the end of the Earth, where we then got to spend two weeks exploring after the epic show.

Working together was a breeze. Sometimes, collaborations can get icky and people compete for control. Laura and I have the perfect balance of skills the other doesn’t- not to mention our compatible design aesthetics, eye for final output (even when seeing scarves at the thrift store and deciding which would make the best tendrils when washed), and our equitable division of labor. We had literally ZERO disagreements during this whole process, and the entire experience was healthy and fun!

For those who don’t know, I’d describe WOW as Cirque du Soleil on steroids. Singers, children, ballet dancers, projection, live music, and crazy costumes.

So looking forward to next year! Laura and I will each be submitting separate garments, plus another collaboration. And we expect to come back to the US with some serious WOW awards in 2013, so get ready!

Oh, and in case you didn’t get enough… our hilarious dressing instructions for this piece!


Announcing Morgan Culture RETAIL space!

Starting November 2, Morgan Culture will have a real-life retail location at CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles!! From CRAFTED’s website: “CRAFTED AT THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES is a new concept for Southern California; a large-scale permanent craft marketplace. Our classic World War II-era waterside warehouses will grow to be home to hundreds of individual craft-artists, designers, and artisanal food makers. Each artist presents their unique handcrafted goods in a vibrant patchwork of market stalls. Visitors will be treated to a huge variety of one-of-a kind treasures and have the chance to meet the makers every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – that’s 52 weekends a year of handmade happiness! The marketplace will also be showcasing daily demonstrations, live music, special events, and of course delicious food from our fabulous food trucks.” The hours my shop will be open are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11AM-6PM. I’ll be offering sweet in-store discounts, doing demonstrations, and generally meeting cool peeps. The store contains my newest product, LAYGS by Morgan Culture (hand-painted leggings), headpieces, and – wait for it – a WHEEL OF LEGS. Yes, you read that right. A WHEEL OF LEGS! I’ll also be featuring work from a few other artists and designers here and there, including some amazing T-shirts from AffirmaTees, in the first few months! Stay tuned, and please come visit me 🙂 See you at CRAFTED!

Morgan Culture DIY Tutorial: Cheap UGLY Shoes into HOT Wedding Wedges!

Part of the wedding outfit (unless you’re having a barefoot beach wedding or a ceremony that requires bare feet) is shoes. Experts estimate the average cost of moderately-priced bridal shoes is $100-$250. Even David’s Bridal shoes can run $40-$100, and many couples shopping on a budget might balk at these numbers when they have plenty of perfectly good shoes lying around already.

In my case, though I did have lots of perfectly good ones lying around (ok, probably too many), some of which were quite fancy, I wanted to get more creative with my duds and feel like I’d really chosen and/or made every part of my look.

Cost of this project: Shoes: $14 at Ross; fabric spray paint: $16.50 (used partially); Swarovski crystal appliques: $36. Total: $66.50.

My partner is super-tall, so I wanted to be at least marginally tall- you know, so we’d even end up in the same pictures. We were having

a beach wedding, so my search almost exclusively contained wedges. I knew I could change up the final appearance of the shoes as much as I wanted since I’d read an entire shoe-altering magazine called “Sassy Feet” and since I’d used Simply Spray for so much, so
I started looking for wedding shoes just based on shape. Check out THESE BAD BOYS, which are exactly my size, exactly the massive platform I wanted, and made my long feet look ever so slightly smaller. Also notice: they are HIDEOUS with that floral pattern and floral bow! Remember- we’re only looking for shape here. I tried on every shoe I thought would work for my purposes, despite any issues with its surface design. If you’re following my tutorial, look for a fabric-covered shoe: this method works only on fabric.

First I removed the hideous bows, never to return. They were simply hand-stitched in, so a simple tiny scissor worked.

Then, I taped off the non-fabric parts of the shoe. The top is a faux-suede microfiber material, so I made sure to tape it off tightly. I used old plastic bags (recycle!!) and masking tape for this. I also taped off the bottom lip of the shoes and made sure none of the inside would get painted either.

I painted the flowered part with Simply Spray upholstery paint in grey. I used only two layers, letting them dry in between, and I used barely a fraction of a can. Though I’d planned to cover the flowers entirely, I noticed that having them show through a little in a total grayscale looked really interesting, so I kept it. Make sure you really let the layers dry, as too much wetness can cause the fabric to loosen from the glue on the shoe.

As a final touch to the paint, I added a light layer of Simply Spray silver stencil paint. It was basically like spraying glitter all over them!

Though I was too excited to let the paint dry completely and part of it came off the bag wet and onto the shoes, I was actually able to remove it with “LA’s Totally Awesome Stain Remover” (I know, I know- but I got it at the 99Cent store and it IS AWESOME). You can remove many mistakes, even with fabric dye or paint, from those shoes with this somehow cheap stain remover.

I realized the stitching from the formerly attached terrible bows had left holes/marks on the top fabric of the shoes, and that though the bottom looked awesome, the top wasn’t quite complete yet. Looking through my studio, I found some of the amazing one-of-a-kind Swarovski crystal and natural stone appliques I’d bought. Though it took me a LONG time to choose the ones I wanted, for the tops of the shoes I used a general applique, and for the backs I actually used a neckline applique. Since the neckline one is slightly curved, it fit around the curve of the shoe easily.

These appliques are actually meant to be carefully ironed on to a garment from the inside. I obviously couldn’t iron from the inside of the shoes, so I simply hot-glued the appliques to the shoes with tons of glue. I found it difficult to peel off the glue portions, so I left them on and glued the whole applique on. I actually would *NOT* suggest this method if you plan to use the shoes in any kind of humid weather. Our wedding was in Riviera Maya, Mexico, which was so humid that the iron-on portion (which I had glued) separated from the real applique!! If I’d done it again, I would have removed the iron-on glue from the appliques before putting them on the shoes.

And, without further adieu… the final products! (final images courtesy of Too Much Awesomeness… they are indeed AWESOME, even more so than LA’s Totally Awesome)

LAYGS by Morgan Culture: New Line of Leggings !

About a month ago, I bounded into LAX off a flight from Nashville, TN with a completely new drive and inspiration. With the creative encouragement of David, owner and creator of Simply Spray fabric paint, I’d determined the course for my newest fashion line.

LAYGS by Morgan Culture is a line of hand-painted leggings. They’re all one-of-a-kind, though I do have color options. Leggings are awesome because they are so versatile- worn with a little black dress and heels for a date night out; with boots, a skirt, and thick sweater for fall; or with a daring bikini top and platforms for a clubbing adventure.
I haven’t seen any other hand-painted leggings and I’m greatly anticipating having these out there. I’m lucky to have the support of my friends at Simply Spray (I’m using their paint exclusively for these), and the friends at Inked and Sexy (hot girls + tattoos + leggings… what else can people want?) to help me along this journey, as I’ve never done a product so consumable before.


I’ve already filled several custom orders, have a ton of traffic, and can’t wait to keep it rolling. The 7 looks are up now at www.MyLaygs.com – which is your favorite so far? Other colors you’d like to see?


The current tagline for LAYGS is “Leggings. But cooler.”