This week our spotlight is on Morgan Richards, Founder & Designer of Morgan Rhea, a luxury leather accessories brand. Morgan has achieved great success in such a short time since graduating from Savannah College of Art & Design and starting her own line in 2015. Here she shares some of her experiences on her entrepreneurial and creative journey.
When did you realize that designing accessories was something you wanted to do? Has it always been your dream?
Anything fashion related has always been my dream. I learned at a young age, my mom always had me so fashionable. She was and still is a big influence. I would always go on buying trips with her.
I have a journal from grade school that we had to write what we wanted to be when we grew up and I said that I wanted to make clothes, but not shoes especially for men. Which is funny because that is exactly what I do today. My mom and dad blew that page up in a poster size for me for graduation from SCAD.
Can you tell us about your experience in fashion school at SCAD?
SCAD was such a wonderful experience. I learned from top professionals in my industry as well as meeting Zac Posen, Alexander Wang, and many others in the fashion industry. It was such a hands on experience as well. I learned how to construct and hand make shoes and handbags from start to finish.
When did you start your line Morgan Rhea?
I started Morgan Rhea after my apprenticeship at Coach, January 2015.
What are your favorite designers or brands?
I love Kate Spade, everything is so fun. I used to work at the store when I went to school in Savannah so it was great being around my element. A few of my other favorite brands are Berluti, Tory Burch, Alice and Olivia.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
My current collection “Silently Speaking Gratitude” is inspired by people in my life and their journey. I was first inspired by vintage luggage and the markings that are all ready on it tell some else’s story. For example, my “Sandra Tote Bag,” is inspired by my Aunt Sandy and her journey through breast cancer.
Morgan Rhea leather accessories. Shop the full collection at morganrhea.com.
Can you tell us about the process of personalizing an item?
Once a customer orders a personalized item we email back and forth with them. We show them a 2D version of what their item will look like with their personalization.
How amazing was it making shoes for John Legend!??
It was a great experience! I drew inspiration while making his shoes listening to his current album.
What was he like when you met?
He is such a nice person and was truly humbled when presenting him with his custom shoes.
You were featured in In Style Magazine and Vogue! That is so cool!!! Tell us how you felt about being in these magazines?
I had just won an International award for my briefcase which was featured in InStyle. This all happened right after graduation so this was such an exciting time. Being featured in British Vogue was a wonderful experience. My fiancé had both of his images featured and our models were from my hometown, of Charleston, West Virginia. This makes the experience awesome being able to have my hometown friends in British Vogue!
Tell us what fashion means to you…
Fashion is a way to express yourself and who you are! By being able to wear what you want you are able to tell your story, so why not make it fun.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I love the 1950’s. My favorite show is “I Love Lucy,” I draw inspiration from her. I love classy with fun. I love fun big jewelry. Style should reflect you! I very rarely wear black, it just doesn’t make me feel as happy.
Morgan attending the Independent Handbag Designer Awards.
What advice do you have for aspiring designers?
I think you just need to go for it and follow your dreams. It’s definitely not easy stepping out of your comfort zone, but if you believe in what you do and have confidence people will attract to you and your brand. Always be humble and take advice from people and your peers in the industry. I was able to learn from top professionals in my industry and I am truly grateful for that.
For more information and to follow Morgan Rhea:
Facebook: Morgan Rhea