“I make things because I love them and can’t find them myself…” Listening to Morgan Mallett, you have to wonder just what it is she’s been in search of. Her fresh designs and unusual material have caught the eyes of many in the fashion industry and with good cause. The funky designs and odd materials leave for a shocking effect on the eye. Made from plastic, Design + Conquer specializes in geometric retro- inspired jewellery.
“It has a space age 2001 Space Odyssey aesthetic to it,” says the Vancouver born, Mallett. While her designs could be considered almost alien, the jewellery carries the clean cut geometric lines that made the sixties so cool.
While some would be scared off or frightened by first impressions, the material helps to quiet the nerves. Mallett has used thin polymer plastic in her latest line to give the jewelry an organic elegant look that works with the contours of the body.”I usually just want to see what I can do with this material… It’s such a dynamic material. It behaves very differently under different conditions and I find that exciting.”
Mallett has held a variety of fancies, starting with a Bachelors in Fine Art at the University of Calgary before moving on to complete a Graphic Design degree at the Nova Scotia College of Art. She came back to Calgary to work at an ad firm before landing her current job as an in house graphic designer for the University of Calgary.
The small side business is something that has been growing for years. “I started designing jewellery when I was a kid,” Mallett says. As a way to entertain herself. “I just sort of did it for fun and didn’t think of it as serious potential.” But Mallett has certainly found the potential in it now, her designs are getting picked up all over.
The absolutely bold line of jewelry recently adorned Jessica’s Biffi’s Spring/ Summer collection at Toronto Fashion Week and again on November 7th at Fashion Cures a la Mode in Ottawa. She has also in the past done custom work for Joseph Domingo. “I had to do quite a lot of pieces for his show and a lot of custom work and a lot of that process informed this collection and pushed me so I could get familiar with the material.”
Her familiarity shows with her Spring/ Summer 2010 collection.
The new collection is bigger and bolder allowing the material to speak for itself. “It allows me to do things I can’t do with gold or silver… the weight of the metal, the way it behaves doesn’t allow me to do big scale off the wall designs.”
This is exactly what Design + Conquer is delivering. The Zenith Necklace is a full neck piece that stuns the eye and calls to mind great adornments of some of the more powerful women of the ancient world.
Even her small pieces, from the streamlined Cylon Earings to the Warp Necklace, manage to find an elegant way of presenting plastic tubing. “It’s definitely for people who are confident and aren’t afraid to express.” But the muted colors and historical reference can certainly allow for all people to find something to like in either the large or the small.”
“I wouldn’t be doing it (Design + Conquer) if I were trying to conform to small dainty jewelry,” says Mallett, who also just can’t seem to find a genre to fit her jewellery into. It’s certainly a style all on it’s own, but with it’s light flexible form and soothing, modish design, it’s sure to fit right in for any one who wants their jewellery to stick out above and beyond the norm.
With it’s appearance already in nation wide fashion shows and a bold new collection, it would appear Morgan Mallett has finally found what she was looking for.
Words by Levi Meaden
Interview by Kimberley Jev
For more on Design + Conquer http://www.designandconquerjewellery.com/