Less than TEN WEEKS until Omaha Fashion Week kicks off another season of fashion and glamour, and we’re thrilled to share more about our amazing lineup of designers!

Medieval and Renaissance Era religious art inspires the newest children’s collection from Vivi Design Studio, by Claire Thomas Morgan. With creative prints, and ruffles in place of traditional armor, the line mixes playfulness with sophistication. Keep reading to learn more about Vivi Design Studio and her upcoming collection!

How did you get into fashion? Share a little about your background.

I have always been interested in shapes, textures, and prints since I was a child, mainly exploring through art. I originally started out in graphic design but after a marathon of the first season of Project Runway, I found a love for sketching fashion. I attended a summer program at Parsons before transferring into fashion at Washington University in St. Louis. I received my BFA in Fashion Design in 2008, and then went on to pursue a masters in fashion merchandising from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2012. During both undergraduate and graduate school, I worked as a designer and buyer for a small brand, and learned a lot about the business. I also did visual merchandising for J.Crew, and have taught in the Washington University fashion department since 2009.

Fall 2019 SAINT - Photo by  Patrick Lanham Photography

Fall 2019 SAINT - Photo by Patrick Lanham Photography

Describe your brand and the feeling you want it to convey. How was your brand concept born?

Vivi Design Studio is about creative classics. We are rooted in elevating classic silhouettes, and using amazing prints and materials. There is a strong attention to detail and creating unique pieces that are kid-friendly. Vivi was started in 2014 with four dresses. The line was in homage to my grandmother, Vivian, who had recently passed and been a big support and inspiration for me. I had to take a break from the line in 2016 with the birth of my second child, but relaunched better than ever last year! Vivi has grown to include a wider variety of styles, fabrics, and refined construction and look.

What are your personal goals, or goals for your brand?

The biggest goal I am working to right now is to transition to Vivi being my full time job. I am working to balance the growth, while still laying ground work to make this feasible. This summer, the team is expanding to include a seamstress and an intern. Vivi will be in a few stores for fall, but I am looking to grow to more stores and be able to attend trade shows.

Describe your favorite project(s) that you have worked on.

I love creating more custom work or the couture pieces, like the organza and mesh thread embroidered dress in the Spring ‘19 collection. The one offs are special and allow me to stretch my wings a bit more.

Fall 2019 SAINT - Photo by  Patrick Lanham Photography

Fall 2019 SAINT - Photo by Patrick Lanham Photography

Describe the collection you are creating.

The Fall 2019 collection, SAINT, is rooted in the Joslyn Art Museum's Bolivian Colonial art collection, which then inspired research into Medieval and Renaissance religious art. One of the main sources of inspiration for this collection is Joan of Arc, and all the strength and power she had at such a young age. I've also explored the art of Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, which I plan to incorporate through the use of 3D printed "armor" for the runway presentation. The pieces in the collection are dresses and separates for boys and girls, including our signature boys suiting and girls dresses, plus more knits, t-shirts, and everyday pieces.

Where did you find inspiration for your new collection? What are the signature styles or silhouettes?

Inspiration started with the Joslyn Art Museum's Bolivian art collection, and I also explored medieval art, themes, and the work of El Anatsui for texture. Various forms of texture, from a crinkle metallic to gathers and hand embroidery. There are also touches of ruffles as armor, and heart elements.

Describe the specific customer you are designing for.

The Vivi target customer is a child who wants more creative and interesting clothes than the athleisure t-shirts and leggings of their classmates. They are looking for more self-expression in their clothing. The Vivi kid loves to draw, write, and use their creative imagination. Their parents want pieces that are designed, well made, and unique.

Fall 2019 SAINT Inspiration Board

Fall 2019 SAINT Inspiration Board

How do you balance creativity and innovation with consistency in your work?

In each collection, there is a range of basic pieces to fashion level pieces. These can be worn on their own or mixed and matched. Each season, I root myself in the looks and mentality of the previous season and see how I can expand and explore new realms.

What sort of design elements can we expect from you this season? What materials, colors, shapes, or patterns will you be using?

Materials will include embossed knit, texture metallics, herringbones, embroidered touches, cross and heart prints. Colors - black and white, saturated red, rich burgundy, and metallics. Shapes - ruffles and full flare elements.

You can see Vivi Design Studio on the runway during our AETHER Featured Designer Showcase on August 23rd! To learn more about Claire and her work, visit her website and follow along on Facebook and Instagram as she puts the finishing touches on her collection! Tickets are selling out fast, so snag yours today!

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