Interview: Morgan Childers/EMCĒ STUDIOS
"I want to see more men in corsets and more women in suits." EMCĒ STUDIOS is the young, androgynous, and ultra-stylish brand from California that creates clothing in a transparent and responsibly sourced way by using hemp, organic cotton, vegetarian leather, and upcycled fabrics. The garments are both minimalistic and unique making them versatile and suitable for all occasions. By involving the LA community in their campaign, the brand once more underlines their intention to make authentic clothing for contemporary individuals. Exclusive for IRK Magazine the designer Morgan Childers talks about blurring lines between women and menswear, about realistic sustainability, and how the LA community is an inspiration for the brand.
How important was it for you as a designer to blur the lines between menswear and womenswear and what are the benefits in terms of creativity for you but also for the person wearing the garments?
As a female menswear designer with a lot of experience in denim and outerwear, it didn’t make sense to me to create a gendered brand, which almost seemed archaic. I think with a range of sizing and design elements, clothing can become adaptable, and accommodate many different body types. In terms of creative benefits, I think for both the designer and the customer, there is much more freedom and versatility when these design elements are implemented. I want to see more men in corsets and more women in suits.
Recently you spoke about "the importance of sustainability in a more realistic way." What is realistic sustainability for you and how do you express this form of sustainability with your brand?
Unsurprisingly, this industry is not sustainable, but there are also more and less responsible pathways to choose from, both as a business and as a designer. At EMCĒ, we place a heavy focus on the materials and people we choose to work with—from local, family-owned production facilities, to working with upcycled fabrics (so as to not create more waste), and teaming up with manufacturers (such as ISKO) that have developed technologies to recycle old fibers and weave them into new yardage.
I think it’s important to be realistic and transparent with your community about how and what you are offering them. Greenwashing in the ultimate way to lose trust with your customers, and there are too many responsible options available to walk away from.
I’m also passionate about one day working towards developing legislation, at state and federal levels to help tackle the environmental footprint of the fashion industry—I think until there are environmental government regulations (in the US and abroad), it’s not going to improve on a massive or global scale.
Versatility seems like an important aspect for you. What do you like about clothing that can be worn for different occasions and how did you incorporate this versatility in your clothing?
I love having options, I think all millennials do—and in terms of fashion I don’t think this needs to entail having a revolving wardrobe of fast fashion styles. My favorite pieces are often timeless, always well made, and can carry me from day into night, can extend or adjust to different tightnesses and lengths, or can be transformed with a shoe choice. There are elements in the collection that do just this—such as an up-cycled patchwork short sleeve button down with metal clasps to adjust the shirt to cinch or to be worn as a shirtdress. Additionally, there’s an up-cycled silk blouse with detachable sleeves and corozo buttons, adjustable wrap tops made from hemp/organic cotton, and a trouser made from ISKO’S recycled denim and vegan leather in the back.
You made a campaign together with the LA community. What aspects and values do you like about the LA community and how did they help you to underline the essence of your brand?
The campaign was created during lockdown, an isolating and daunting time with heavy travel restrictions. As someone who was born and raised in LA, I had never seen desolate freeways or been separated from my local friends and family.
We chose to reach out to other LA-based artists and creatives whose views aligned with the brand’s in order to build this campaign—one that generated a sense of community and creativity in a dark and disconnecting time. I think my collaborators helped to underline the essences of the brand, such as having a strong sense of community and togetherness, compassion, and artistic freedom.