FashFest Designer Profile – U.L.E.
by The Editor
This article is part of an ongoing series showcasing local fashion designers who will appear at FashFest from 1 – 4 May 2013.
Designer Profile 3 – Morgan Hubbard
With inspiration drawn from nature, Morgan Hubbard’s U.L.E. label provides a fabulous contrast to the work of our previous focus, 4 Minute’s 33. Morgan’s design tend towards the anarchic, with patterns produced by chance rather than with a slow and deliberate process:
U.L.E. is about consumer involvement in both the design stages and how a garment is used and worn. The label is driven by both environmental and social sustainability and aims to develop a community amongst its consumers. – www.thisisule.com
Last week, Morgan gave us time among her busy schedule of study and preparation for FashFest to answer our 20 questions. Morgan’s answers are playful and demonstrate that sense of adventure that make her designs so unique…
1. My name is: Morgan Hubbard
2. My label is called: U.L.E.
3. I will graduate: in June 2013 from the Canberra Institute of Technology
4. The theme of my collection is: The theme of this collection and of the label U.L.E. is based around longevity and sustainability, both environmental and social. This particular collection is inspired by a charity trek I will be taking on in September to raise money for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC).
I will be trekking from just outside Kathmandu to the base-camp of Mt. Everest and back – viewing first-hand the impacts of climate change on the environment and the communities. The collection explores the impacts of climate change in Nepal and how the communities are dealing with the extreme changes. I’m exploring these issues, the mountains, communities and cultures visually in my work.
5. The next challenge I face is: Design wise, who knows? As mentioned above I’ll join twenty young people hiking to Everest Base Camp to see climate impacts first hand and work on a local climate project. I’ll trek for 12 days, at altitudes of up to 5,500m, through forests, across rivers, and around narrow mule tracks.
The funds I raise will help AYCC to train thousands of young people to become change makers. They’ll also help the Himalayan Climate Initiative in Nepal to implement projects over the next few years. In relation to the work of U.L.E. I have no idea what the future holds and what the next challenge I’ll face will be. I suppose that’s it, the unknown and figuring it all out.
6. As a child, my favourite object was: One thing that was my absolute favourite was a pair of pink sandals I had when I was SUPER little. I would wear them at EVERY opportunity I could. They weren’t anything special however they were special to me. I wore them so much they were falling to pieces and to this day I remember the devastation I felt when mum told me it was time to get rid of them.
Knowing me I probably would have been fighting with her for months before she actually got them off my feet and in the bin. It’s funny how reflecting back on it they were one of my all time favourite things – they were pink and, now as an adult, I do not like pink.
7. The craziest item I’ve ever designed was: A garment inspired by Cockatoo Island in Sydney and its history. It was the craziest item I have ever designed because it was made from orange peel and cotton calico. I ate so many oranges in the lead up to making this piece, dried the peel and then pieced it together to make one side of a dress.
I pieced it together by piercing small holes into the peel and then threading paperclips through. The other half of the dress I printed and then naturally dyed, cut it up and sewed it back together to generate a layered effect. Then around the head was this HUGE red pod! This whole piece explored the reliance on the water and grain silos on Cockatoo Island throughout its history. The silos sustained and grew life on the island.
8. My biggest personal fashion regret is: I would have been in year 8 at high school when I decided to pluck my eyebrows SO thin they were almost non existent. To this day whenever I see the pictures its not the big blue eye shadow or the poor choice in clothes that draw my attention and make a shiver run down my spine. It’s the eyebrows. Sadly, I don’t think I really regret any of the atrocities I have worn in the past.
9. I’m inspired by: Everything around me and all the amazing people I get to work with! It’s such a fleetingly broad statement to say ‘I am inspired by everyone and everything’, but the thing is you can find inspiration in the minutest details, the most everyday experiences and objects.
I am naturally drawn to certain things over others however it is how I experience these things that makes all the difference. Take my collection from 2012 – inspired by the old buildings in Melbourne and the stories they told. I found them so beautiful and amazingly inspirational due to the mood and moment I was in.
10. A model I would like to work with is: Iris Apfel. Whilst she isn’t a exactly a model in the sense of Supermodel she is an absolutely amazingly inspirational woman! I always love seeing my garments on mature models, it makes them so much more real. Iris is a woman who has over the past few years gained international recognition for her style, she is continuously featured on http://advancedstyle.blogspot.com.au/ and for good reason. It would be amazing to have her model my garments!
11. A designer I would like to collaborate with is: Holly McQullian or Susan Dimasi of Material By Product. I feel like the answer to this question should be some far reach into the non-achievable, however for me I would love to work with either of these designers and it’s possible that one day I might. I have already met Holly McQuillan and know that Material By Product does internships so it could happen.
Both designers approach zero-waste design and sustainability in completely different ways and it would be amazing to see how they work and learn from their systems of design and finishing.
12. The most challenging material I work with is: Natural dyes. They are so sporadic that until the fabric comes out of the dye pot and gets unraveled you have NO IDEA what it is going to look like and whether it will be the colour you were hoping for. In reality you just have to give up hopes for an evenly dyed piece of fabric or an exact colour. Even if you have previously achieved a certain colour and pattern it will almost never be replicated again due to all the different variables encountered with both the dye stuff and the processes you take it through.
13. My favourite part of Canberra is: My parents property. It isn’t technically in Canberra – it’s not even part of the A.C.T. My parent’s property in Wamboin would have to be my favourite place. It holds so many memories for me and I love the fact that I can head out there and collect dye materials and take over my mother’s kitchen and just start cooking up fabrics.There is always a small complaint made when the whole house smells of eucalyptus however it is just such a supportive environment for me to work in.
In Canberra itself it’s the highest peaks at dusk, Mt. Ainslie. You can just head up there and watch Canberra move; the lights, the cars, the buildings and the shadows. Being up high means you can really appreciate the amazing city that is Canberra.
14. If I weren’t doing this I would be: An aid/community/environmental worker. I love working within the community. I love the amazing people you get to meet and the stories you get to hear. I discovered I was passionate about community work after having had an absolutely spectacular hour-long bath and deciding to volunteer with the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
After having worked in the Youth Program St. Nicks I decided I wanted to do more so when it came to finding a new part time job I decided community work was going to be it! I now work on a casual basis with Anglicare as a community support worker. I would love to be able to travel working with communities in developing countries, as well as here in Australia.
I would love to work on environmental programs bringing sustainable outcomes to everyone. I would love to one day merge all of the things I LOVE doing, community work, environmental work and fashion together. Who wouldn’t?
15. One thing I’ll never understand is: How people don’t believe in climate change or don’t realise it’s happening and just don’t care about it. This is an issue at the forefront of my mind currently. It just completely blows my mind that people can choose to disregard science and in turn create inter-generational inequity. It’s not our world to exploit it’s the world of future generations.
Climate change is affecting Earth now, it is a problem of today not tomorrow and if we don’t do something about it then all of the other great work we do actually do will be for nothing. If there is no Earth there is no us.
16. If my designs were a holiday destination they would be: Somewhere remote, calm, beautiful and natural. It just appeals to me. My garments are an exploration of ideas and environments however my design signature has a very organic layered feel to it. I love working with natural materials and feel my work always has a subtle (sometimes not so much) link back to this.
17. A fashion trend that should never return is: So many people would say shoulder pads but you know what I LOVE shoulder pads and just about everything 80’s.
The item that should NEVER return is the Bumster. Seeing people’s cracks just isn’t pretty. No matter how skinny or ‘beautiful’ you are your crack is not. Buy a pair of pants that keep all of your parts in them.
18. Someone who is always well dressed is: This question is always such a funny one for me. I think it is quite objective to say if someone is well dressed or not. I find myself respecting people who wear what they love not necessarily what’s on trend. People who wear what they wear with confidence.
I’m drawn to people who have their own style and make it their own, who walk with their head high because not only is what they’re wearing theirs but is says something about them. I think my mum is quite well dressed and whilst I think some of the things she buys are HORRID she always seems to pull them off. Talking to her about it she just says these days for her to buy something it needs to be unique and she has to love it.
That’s what makes her a well-dressed person, she buys things she loves and wears them, even if I give her the most dissatisfied face when she shows it to me.
19. The last thing I read was: The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich. These books are just such light reading. They make time slip by and make me laugh. I’m the kind of person who relates to characters in books and movies and feels squeamish when they do something idiotic. There are times when I actually have to leave the room and stop watching or reading because I just feel so embarrassed about what is happening.
These books take me through every emotion possible but always leave me feeling good, refreshed and ready to tackle the next thing. I have so many books I read that are about issues, that make a statement, that educate me but these books… they are just great for a little time out, a step away from reality.
20. Love my work? You can buy my designs at: Just send me an email or contact me through my website. Whilst I’m currently not stocking my garments anywhere or even producing garments for sale, if you love my stuff I’m more than happy to make a piece exclusively for you!
Twitter: @thisisule and @_morgan_hubbard