Most millennials dub it a “grandmother hobby”, but for 22-year-old Makeda Morrison crocheting is a refreshing challenge; an opportunity for innovation and reinvention; a modern twist to an age-old art, and now, a growing business.
Morrison's interest in fashion was always there — sparked by the fluid nature of the lifestyle and its seeming genesis in individuality. However, her decision to take up crocheting, at 17 years old, was for her the logical solution to a recurring problem. She would simply make the things she wanted if she could not find ones she liked.
She had no real prior knowledge of crocheting save quiet observations of her grandmother at work, nor did she possess the requisite skill set to produce crochet work. To Morrison, however, those facts were irrelevant. What was important to the Spanish Town local was the desire to create something she would like and the resolve to create opportunities to acquire the knowledge.
Since December 2016, the young designer, poet and actress has dedicated five hours daily to honing her craft by bingeing on YouTube videos and Amazon e-Books, before putting the theory to practice. She got better. And stemming from an increasing interest in her pieces and the subsequent encouragement she received from her mother and close friends, she decided to start her own business which she christened Copper and Thread Designz.
Establishing a brand with its own identity and acquiring the capital to advance such an ambitious undertaking were but two of the major challenges faced by the loc-haired entrepreneur. However, Morrison admits that she also had to overcome a third challenge in the start-up phase — the fear of putting herself and her art out there and being rejected.
Thankfully, this fear has been allayed. With awareness of her intiative has come opportunities for showcasing her ' Threads'.
Opting not to view other would-be designers as potential competition she offers, instead, words of encouragement. “Just start. We each have a voice which contributes to the community, a voice others want to hear.”
Having started, Morrison admits the challenges of financing and maintaining individuality are basically the same. However, nine months at the helm of a fledgling business has equipped her with precious gems of wisdom; wisdom she readily imparts. “Once you get started, you will realise that most of your personal fears are likely misplaced.”
For Morrison, there is no greater gratification than that of completing a project. “Inspiration,” she says, “comes from a great number of things, chief among them being the present season.” The young art lover and self-proclaimed nerd is also a fan of mythology — this love occasionally manifests in her work.
To date, Morrison has produced three full collections: Tempest, Sinsation and Woodlands. In less than a year, Copper and Thread Designz have been used in a music video and have been showcased at such noted art events as Imprint and Food For Thought. “The responses have been surprisingly positive,” she informs All Woman Fashion (AWF). The negatives she uses as an additional source of encouragement.
Ultimately, Morrison wants her brand to become the yardstick for originality. But she concedes that ignoring shifting trends in fashion is a hallmark for career suicide.
“The survival of any business depends on its ability to remain current and flexible in meeting clients' needs. While trying to maintain a level of consistency in the look of the final product, I give a lot of consideration to emerging trends because I understand that I am no longer just creating for myself,” she informs.
She also highlights the hand social media has in influencing her creative choices. “I cannot underscore the importance of social media in shaping my volume of output and the marketing strategies I employ to get my work out there. Through the use of the various social media platforms I get feedback on what the market is like, what the people want, what they don't want, and what they feel is missing.”
One of the questions clients generally ask concerns the functionality of crocheted pieces. However, Morrison's response to such queries has disarmed many an unsuspecting buyer, converting them steadily into what she describes as a community of persons invested in the growth of the business. Their investment she justifies proudly. “All pieces are attractive and practical,” Morrison says, “[They are] a cross between style and comfort.”
She describes her style in a word - NOVEL. To the question of how her clients should feel when they don her pieces, there's a three-word response: UNIQUE. BOLD. UNAPOLOGETIC.
In 10 years, Morrison should have completed her legal training, would have acquired her Legal Education Certificate, and been a practising attorney-at-law. By then, she hopes, Copper and Thread Designz will be a recognised brand touted for its unique offerings, boasting a steady clientele.
The possibilities are endless for the young designer, who has recently developed an interest in sewing garments. She hopes to eventually incorporate fabric into the designs of her crochet work.
But for now, she says, her sights are set on accomplishing two new personal goals. And one day soon, you could be ordering crocheted wire jewellery with embedded crystals, or gyrating down Knutsford Boulevard in a Carnival costume — all from Makeda's Copper and Thread Designz.