Morris Manser Swiss fashion designer ModeSuisse
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September 26, 2022
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Fashion with a deeper meaning; the design Of Morris Manser

We got the chance to interview the emerging Swiss designer Morris Manser at this year’s Modesuisse. A conversation around handcraft, sustainability, and Swiss craftmanship.

Naïma Stark- How it is to be here, at Modesuisse, for you today?

Morris Manser – It feels very special because it basically is the first time, I’m showing such a big collection to so many people. And it’s the first collection, after finishing school, where I have been my own boss. The whole process was exceptional to me. But I'm very proud of it and, I've had pretty good feedback so far. It's very cool, and I can't wait to show everything tonight.

NS - Were you stressed out during the process? Did everything go smoothly for you?

MM: There are always little up and downs whilst doing a project. For example, something that happened yesterday, at the fitting; I had made a collaboration with a creator of ceramic jewelry. We made imitation bells, and yesterday, one broke during the fitting. That was a moment that really stressed me. But afterwards, a model wore a look I didn't expect to fit so cool on her. It's great to see the outfits in motion.

So, after a bad thing I quickly had something gratifying happen. I was a little stressed at the beginning, but I'm well prepared. I think I'll have a bit of stress when all the models will be in line, for sure.

NS- Can you talk about a bit more about this collection? You have a lot of Swiss inspirations and symbols in your work. But precisely, what did you want to convey with this work?

MM- Now, I kind of feel like a bit of a representative at ModeSuisse of the young Swiss fashion creative. And so, I would like to show that there’s a lot of potential here, that should be supported, and be given visibility. With this collection,I aimed to make people curious and make them want to approach and touch the clothing. Understand the garments; you cannot just buy everything online because then you miss a lot of textures/materials. Clothes are a lot more than a two-dimensional piece of fabric. It’s something you should witness in real life and with a live show.

And what do I want to communicate? Above all, this collection, and its pieces; all the garments have a story. And if we are aware of its background, we will also keep the article longer. We will treat it well, repair it and take good care of it. It is this image of sustainability that I want to show everywhere. Especially to young people, who shouldn’t buy much but little and with quality. And treat the clothes well.

NS- What’s something important to you in your approach to design?

MM – This is quite a statement; but a good design has to be sustainable.If a design is not sustainable, it's not a good one. And that's why, I take almost all my materials from deadstock resources. Basically, the fabrics are leftovers from the big brands that we all know. It's also hard to make a production because it's always going to be one-off pieces. You react to thats tock that you find. For example, say I'm going to make a purple shirt. I will look for this purple fabric everywhere. And am not going to find it in deadstock.

I just go to the depots and get inspired.If I have two direct ideas, when I see a fabric, I buy it. And it's that level of sustainability that I want to share.

It’s also found in the process. I don't want to work on a season, then the next, and another one. That's why I'm showing four or five pieces from my graduate collection today too, it's not old. Clothing doesn’t have an expiration date. If the design is timeless, it's going to hold up a lot more too.

NS- I didn't know that you did everything with deadstock. It means that you are also quite dependent on the fabric you find (and not necessarily the other way around)?

MM- Yes, it's true, except with the fabrics that I design myself; fabrics that were custom made for me. But yes, otherwise I always go for deadstock.

NS- You were at the HEAD; how have you been doing since you graduated?

MM- I realized that it is difficult to find a job, that allows me to finance my life, in the discipline that I learned. And that's why I'm working on several projects at the same time to be able to finance everything. I am just starting out, and I hope that I will be able to live solely on my fashion designs.

I already knew that it would be difficult. But now, I have truly realized it. Another thing that's changed too: There's no one on my back saying: "you have todo this until Friday". I'm the one who has to say to myself: "OK, you have to get up at 8:30 a.m. and you have to work until such time".

And taking that curve was hard. But I'm a disciplined person. I think I'm doing well, but that was a bit of a surprise because you always think it’s not going to be too different. The teachers were good pacemakers.

NS- What do you want to bring to the Swiss scene? And what message do you want to send? You do a lot of handmade, and the collection has some Swiss references to it. I’m under the impression that you have a statement aboutSwitzerland and the environment in which you find yourself (?)

MM- I would like to inspire and motivate the young people who dream, do something creative, to express themselves.

And at an international level, I want to show that in Swiss fashion, quality is in order because there is always a story behind the pieces. We, in Switzerland, have a lot of expertise in handmade crafts, for example in weaving or leather works. Traditional techniques that elsewhere, one would not find like that. There are many, many resources in Switzerland.Which can be shown internationally. That's why, I often collaborate with people from the Swiss craft industry.

Big thank you to Morris for sharing his creative process with us!

Photographic credit goes to ModeSuisse and Alexander Palacios


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