In the Spotlight: Designer Sophie Georgia Morley
Next up in our ‘In the Spotlight’ series is Norwich University of the Arts graduate and fashion designer Sophie Gerogia Morley, whose Great Gatsby-Inspired, sports-luxe collection Futuristika Opulentia II will be on the runway as part of the Brasteds and Norwich Cosmetic Clinic Designers Show.
We caught up with Sophie to get some sneak-peeks of her collection as it shapes up and to find out a little bit more about her! Read on for all the gossip, folks!
KC: Hi Sophie! Can you tell us a bit about you?
SGM: I am originally from Leicestershire… I studied BA Fashion (Hons) at Norwich University of the Arts and graduated in June 2016 with a First Class Degree. I am currently beginning my career, alongside working on my upcoming collection for NFW, mini-projects and have recently set-up an online shop selling make-up bags and such like. In my spare time, apart from sewing, I love being outdoors a lot and horse-riding when I have chance.
Music is really important to me and I love going to see live music when I can. I like David Bowie anything flamingo-related, and anything beautiful.
KC: When did you start designing?
SGM: I have always drawn dresses since I was little and have always been interested in fashion. I first properly started designing when I started dress-making evening classes. I was 15. I would come up with designs, then draft patterns and make the final garments eventually. These evening classes really got me into designing, and really helped when it came both A-Levels and university. I designed and made each prom dress I wore at school.
KC: Tell us about your design process?
SGM: I get my inspiration from everything around me and my aspirations, such a travelling and places I’ve been to. I can become inspired by a historical object, or a pattern or people in time; anything. My final collection was initially inspired by the 1920’s and the opulence of excitement of the Great Gatsby. I was inspired by the larger than life shapes of opera jackets initially. I was also inspired by COS’ cool aesthetic and their minimalistic approach. I was inspired by looking back to the past for ideas and looking to the future for what my look could be.
KC: Sounds very exciting! So how do you get from the initial inspiration to the finished product?
SGM: I start by researching my initial idea, looking through books, online, creating first-hand research when I can- taking photos, drawing, painting.
I then create samples from my research, re-work my samples, draw initial design sketches, research fabrics and trimmings. I draft an initial pattern for the design. I begin toiling my initial designs in 3D, re-develop them and the patterns as many times as needed. I choose the perfect fabrics for the pieces, sample in final fabrics. When I am happy with everything, the fit is correct, every detail has been attended to, I will make the final garment.
KC: What does life look like for a designer in Norwich?
SGM: Norwich is a very creative place full of plenty of creative people so there are always lots of events going on to inspire and expand the mind. There’s a lot of history in Norwich, so plenty to take inspiration from. Since starting university in 2013 and graduating in 2016, I really feel the [creative] scene has grown and evolved with a lot more to see and be part of. For example, NFW is really great for young designers like me to showcase my work. A lot of owners from independent boutiques and high street shops in and around the city centre take part and come together to make a successful and exciting creative/style scene for a varied audience in the city and surrounding areas.
KC: What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
SGM: I would say to always keep working on what you do and keep developing your ideas. There are loads of great resources to be used in Norwich, whether it be to do with NUA, the Norwich Castle fashion archives or the library’s extensive range of fashion/textiles/art books- so take advantage of them to inspire your design ideas. There are plenty of independent boutiques and vintage shops too. Go and see what they have to offer as you are likely to find one-off pieces you won’t find on the high-street. These are great to look at for more inspiration and to see how they
are made/trimmed etc.
KC: What has been the most significant moment for you in your design career so far?
SGM: The two things that stand out for me are when I won Bridal Buyer’s ‘Student Designer of the Year 2015,’ Award. I won this for a wedding gown I designed and made for this competition and I felt incredibly humbled that I had been chosen as the winner and [that] my hard work had been admired enough… The other is of course, when I graduated. I felt very proud of myself, for making my family so proud. My hard work had paid off and I had got my degree!
KC: where do you see yourself in 5 years?
SM: I would like to have a solid career, gaining as much information from the industry as possible and
learning as much as I can; whilst working on my own designs at the same time. This could be the start of my own label.
KC: What’s your favourite thing about being a designer? What’s the hardest thing?
SGM: I love that I can research an idea, or multiple ideas, create moodboards and develop on my research. Eventually, after a lot of determination and hard work, I can stand back and appreciate the finished article I have created. I love that I can bring an idea to life and see it grow from a thought, to 2D development and finally a 3D finished piece.
One of the hardest things about being a designer is being patient when waiting for your work to come together. It takes a lot of testing and re-testing and sampling and re-designing. This can sometimes become relentless, especially when something doesn’t go to plan again and again. However, it always works out in the end, after sleepless nights and working against the clock- you always get the work done and it is always worth it.
KC: How is Norwich Fashion Week a useful platform for designers in your position?
SGM: It’s brilliant being able to show your work to an audience of industry personnel, business owners and the general fashion-loving public. It’s such a good opportunity to be able to show my collection; especially as it’s the city in which I graduated. And if someone particularly liked my work it could lead on to other things. A potential new opportunity is a good thing for new designers ans something exciting to look forward to. It’s also really exciting to be working on a fashion show… Norwich Fashion Week gets better and more successful every year and I am very excited to have been chosen to be part of it.
KC: Describe yourself in 3 words!
SGM: Determined, Inspired, Dedicated
KC: Describe your collection in 3 words.
SGM: Luxe, Contemporary, Aspirational
And of course, catch her on the runway this Norwich Fashion Week!