Drive 65

To send you off into the weekend with style, here is a little something from Michelle Morse, designer of our new fabulous line of dresses, 65. Take it away, Michelle!

Growing up in the small Southeastern Utah town of Monticello didn't teach me a whole lot about fashion, but it did teach me to work hard and to pursue dreams worth fighting for. The greatest exposure I had to fashion in this small town was the gossip magazines in the beauty shop and the four hour trek to the mall for our annual school shopping trip. I saved up my entire earnings from working at the local burger joint and from cleaning the Silver Scissors hair salon over summer break in hopes that I would have enough to load up on enough clothes for the year--or at least until I got a new sweater or two for Christmas.

In high school I felt as if my clothes defined me, that if I was able to afford the latest and greatest on the racks, that I must be pretty great too. It wasn't until I went to college and later married that I realized what folly this form of thinking was. I could no longer afford an "annual" shopping trip and soon I had to get very creative with what I already had in my closet or what I could salvage from the local thrift store. When my budget for clothing changed, not only did my sense of style change, but my self image began to change too. I became more focused on improving my inner self and not putting so much emphasis or worth into my outer appearance.

I never knew for sure what I wanted to do when I grew up, but I knew that whatever I chose, I wanted to be able to make a difference. I went to college and studied to be a teacher, but after my first child was born I chose to stay home and take care of my son.

About two years after he was born, I became restless. Staying at home was hard for me because I was so used to working and feeling as though I was making a difference in someone's life. I became determined to explore other passions of mine and to discover what I might pursue from within the walls of my own home. So as a stay at home mom, I picked up my sketch book again and began to doodle during my son's nap time or late at night when everyone had gone to bed or basically anytime I had some "free" time.

I started sketching dress designs when I discovered Shabby Apple's Dare to Design contest. I was sick of never being able to find a dress from a department store that I didn't have to wear a cardigan or tank top with or that was too short. "Why not design a dress that I would like to wear?" I thought. The Shabby Apple contest opened my mind to all kinds of possibilities. I sketched about eight designs and finally chose one to submit for the contest. I prayed that I would at least make the top ten designs. I don't think that I even came close to making the top 20.

I was discouraged, but I didn't put the sketch pad down. I started afresh with new designs and continued to work and re-work them for a few months. I didn't know what I would do with the sketches until I read the fine print on Shabby Apple's website about the Emerging Designers Program. I hesitated to submit my sketches for approval as they were not near professional grade sketches, but I finally decided that if I didn't submit them, I would always wonder what could have been. I put my insecurities aside and submitted my sketches. A couple of weeks later I received the astonishing and surprising news that my designs had been accepted. I was ecstatic!

Nearly a year later my designs have been brought to life and my dreams are being played out before my eyes. I never imagined that I would be introduced into the fashion industry this way. Going through this process from start to finish has made me realize that just because I choose to stay at home and raise my kids doesn't mean that I have to give up on strengthening my talents and pursuing my interests. I've learned that the key is balance and once I learned balance, I felt that anything was possible.

Inspiration For My Line:
I have always said that I wish that I could have lived in the 50s and 60s when women wore dresses nearly every day. I love the clean, simple lines and cuts of the dresses from that era. I love that simple can be so elegant and becoming to any woman of any size. Dresses didn't need to be low-cut, short, or overly form-fitting to be attractive on a woman. I feel that clothes should not accentuate a woman's body, but her strengths, personality, and abilities. I wanted to design dresses that not only helped a woman feel beautiful, but to feel confident in herself and her abilities. I wanted my designs to flatter any shape, which is why I favored the slimming pencil skirt design, longer sleeves, and the option of sashes. My designs are classic, simple, and flattering on any wearer.


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