2010-07-01 / News

Islander makes strides in N.Y. fashion scene

By Holly Benton

Given two choices in a time of economic crisis – to either give up or move forward – island resident and fashion designer Carrie Morrissey decided that for her, the only option was to move forward.

So that’s exactly what she did.

Launching her first, uniquely inspired clothing line, “I Still Love You,” this past spring, Morrissey, 27, has quickly made a stylish impression on the New York City fashion scene.

“It’s been a whirlwind, but I feel that the environment we’re living in right now, what with the economic downfall and everything, has two groups of people who have been laid off,” she explained. “There are the people who are like, ‘OK, we’re screwed,” and the ones who are like, ‘OK, let’s do something!’ I feel like I’ve been surrounded by a lot of people who want to do something.”

Morrissey graduated from North Kingstown High School in 1999, then spent a semester each at the University of Rhode Island and the Community College of Rhode Island before transferring to the Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. Awarded the Charming Shoppes scholarship in 2003, she majored in fashion design and graduated cum laude from Moore in 2004.

“I was brought up in a very creative environment,” she said. “Both my parents are artists. My mother, since I was a little kid, has given me opportunities for creative expression. I went to RISD every weekend for classes, as well as for pre-college classes in high school. She has been a guiding light and a hero for me. She has really driven me to succeed and excel. She is such a strong, driven woman herself that she’s my main hero and the person that I most want to please.”

Morrissey said after she graduated, her career included work with Anthropology, as well as a job with Garfield Michael Boutique, where she worked with celebrities such as Eve, Tyson Beckford and “America’s Next Top Model” judge, Janice Dickinson.

After moving to New York four years ago, Morrissey did freelance work with fashion photographer Seth Sabal before she entered the corporate world. She worked for several different labels, including the Sean Jean, Nautica, Izod and Macy’s Inc. lines.

When she found herself part of a mass layoff from the large corporate firm Garan in 2009, her “I Still Love You” line was born.

“There’s a lot of creative energy going on right now,” she said. “I decided I would take the opportunity to start my own line.”

Morrissey described her capsule collection as a line inspired by “classic silhouettes, reinterpreted for the modern woman.”

“I like to play on being revealing without being overly sexy,” she said. “It’s feminine, but then has some hard lines – I like to play with opposites.”

The versatile collection, which includes lace bike shorts, feminine tunics and stirrup leggings, is sold at Convent, which can be found on the Lower East side in Manhattan and Topstitch boutique in Philadelphia.

Morrissey is also looking forward to her collection being featured in a Convent pop-up store in Stockholm, Sweden this August.

“The collection is doing really well,” she said. “The bike shorts are the number-one seller. I wear them all the time…you can wear them under skirts or shorts.”

A telltale sign of the line’s success: Taylor Momsen of the CW’s fashionable series “Gossip Girl” recently purchased a pair of lace bike shorts and will hopefully be wearing them when she performs with her band The Pretty Reckless on this year’s Warp Tour, Morrissey said.

Morrissey was also recently featured in an online edition of New York Magazine, which described her line as “impressive” and the pieces as “easy, distinctive, summer staples.”

Morrissey, who works out of her own studio in New York City, where she lives with her fiancĂ© Adam and their two cats – as well as in a studio located above Topstitch Boutique in Philadelphia – is excited about what her future in fashion design holds. Her fall/ winter 2010 line will be sold exclusively to Topstitch and Convent.

She also looks forward to her spring 2011 line, which will hopefully be brought to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and possibly Tokyo, to be sold wholesale.

“My intentions are, if the line expands, to manufacture my own fabrics,” she said. “Then I’ll start doing more print mixing and mashups. Right now, basically everything I’m doing is a restrained version of my plans for the future.”

More immediately, Morrissey looks forward to her wedding, which will take place in September, 2011, at Ft. Getty in Jamestown.

Her wardrobe for the day, which will consist of an outfit change between the wedding and reception, will be her own designs and will include a short, platinum white satin dress with a touch of lace, and a tuxedo-inspired ensemble for the reception.

“I’m actually, in this moment, doing everything that I love doing,” she said. “Jewelry design, photography, clothing creation, blogging….it’s all work, but I love doing it, so it doesn’t always feel like a job. Everything I do is part of my work, but everything I do makes me happy.”

To those who find themselves in the midst of transition, she offered this advice: “Don’t lose hope… find strength and wonderfulness in everything that surrounds you in your daily life.”

To view items from Morrissey’s I Still Love You line, go to Conventnyc.com. Read her blog at http://iloveyounonetheless. wordpress.com.

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