I first met and wrote about Morgan Mallett, the jewelry designer genius behind Design + Conquer, in 2009 — not long after she founded her company and began creating gorgeous pieces out of flexible plastic polymer.
Since then, big things have happened. Morgan and her creations been featured in all kinds of publications. Sook Yin-Lee wore Mallet’s Tron earrings at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. Refinery29, the famous fashion website, featured Design + Conquer in its “Hot New Products” feature. And, recently, Morgan has a new email pen pal: Perez Hilton.
Morgan heard that Perez is looking to feature young fashion designers on his new site, Coco Perez, so she sent him a video with her work. He replied and has asked to see another, more personalized, video, which he suggested should be “fun, fruit and cute.” Morgan will be submitting that soon, and we’re, of course, rooting for her; the exposure she’d receive would be fantastic.
In the midst of juggling her daytime job (graphic design for the University of Calgary), planning the video for Perez and designing, cutting and hand-making every piece of D + C jewelry, she squeezed in a coffee date with me last Sunday. Read on for 5 Questions with Morgan Mallett.
But first, here is the lovely Morgan herself, as photographed by Calgary photog Noah Fallis:
What’s your spring/summer collection for 2011 all about?
I was really inspired by Expo ’67. I was fascinated by the graphic design, the architecture and the grandeur of the event itself. I later found out both my parents attended and thought that was pretty neat. It was huge, and a unifying event for Canada.
How does that play out in your designs?
I never like to be literal, like, hey, here’s a flower! It’s more the shapes I’ve seen, and maybe not in Expo ’67 even, but in that era. I repeat them and arrange them differently. And the colours, too. They’re modern, but they’re also taken from that time, like the oranges and greens from textile patterns.
**On that note, check out Morgan’s Lounge Earrings, which were photographed by Greg Swales:
And her Radio-Canada Earrings, which I adore:
Many of your pieces are bold. How do you suggest women wear them?
I’ve got a variety of sizes. There are larger, more statement earrings and there are smaller ones, which are more stereotypical, for every day wear. It really depends on the person. I have a client in New York who received a pair of big earrings but was disappointed they weren’t even bigger, so she asked me to make a custom pair. I think a lot of people, like me, don’t find exactly what they’re looking for in stores. [With my pieces], you’re making a statement by wearing an accessory that really reflects you and that no one else has. That’s one of my goals.
What’s a typical Saturday like for you in the YYC?
I usually get up around 9, workout, have breakfast, walk the cats outside and then I’ll get to work, emailing different designers and clients. I sketch, listen to music, make a pair of earrings. If I had a really set schedule, I don’t think I’d be as creative. And then I try to get out with friends. You can only stay so long in your design lair, hatching and scheming plans. You’ve got to get out there.
You exercise, you’re a vegetarian, you support animal causes. What’s your guiltiest pleasure, food or otherwise?
Let’s see, here. Where do I begin? I will buy the odd tabloid magazine and enjoy the suffering of others. (laughs) No, no. I definitely like a healthy lifestyle. I’m not big into partying but I do enjoy going out once in a while. But that’s not the goal for me. I love designing and that’s what I’m here for.
You can buy Morgan’s pieces online or at AG Silver Boutique in Calgary’s Fashion Central.
Once I decide which pair of earrings I must have, I’ll be placing an order, myself.