Q&A with Morgan Mallett of DESIGN + CONQUER

Designer Morgan Mallett and her avant garde jewelry line DESIGN + CONQUER have been on a roll since I last interviewed her in 2009. Her bold graphic pieces have earned her well-deserved praise and attention from the likes of Denis Gagnon (who carried her designs in his namesake boutique at one point), luxury retailer The Volts, and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. I had a chance to catch up with Morgan shortly before she flew to Montreal to celebrate the launch of The Volts. Let the jewelry and sci-fi obsession chatter commence!

Since the last time we talked, your jewelry has landed in new boutiques and you've been feted with new honours. Can you tell Solo Lisa readers more about what you've been up to?
Yes! Lots has happened since we last connected. I’ve launched three other collections (Tron Expo and Electro), traveled to Toronto and Montréal to shoot collections and videos, showed at Toronto Fashion Week, and have experimented with rapid prototyping manufacturing processes.

I’ve collaborated with New Jersey electronica artist Teeel, and am currently working on a custom design for San Francisco electronica group Stripmall Architecture. I’ve also moved DC to my hometown of Vancouver, and just returned from a trip to Montréal, where I was selected as one of seven Canadian designers to participate in the launch of luxury retailer The Volts. I also had a recent custom design enquiry for a Lady Gaga shoot.

The 'Arcadia' cuff from the Electro collection

Congrats on having your jewelry carried at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. How did that come about?
Thank you! We were shooting the Electro collection in Montréal, and a friend mentioned that my designs would work well at the museum. I set up an appointment to show my designs at the museum boutique, and my work resonated incredibly well with the buyers. The boutique currently carries the largest selection of DC designs in Canada.

What are the inspirations behind your current collections Electro, Expo and Tron?
My current collection—Electro—is inspired by electronica music. Each piece in the collection is shaped by a specific electronica track, and there is a playlist for the collection on DC’s YouTube channel, and an iTunes playlist. The designs in this collection are made via a unique 3D printing process.

My Expo collection is inspired by the graphic design, architecture and textile designs from Montréal’s Expo ’67.

DC’s Tron collection is inspired by 1980s sci-fi movies, such as the Neverending Story and the original Tron film.

The 'Daze' earrings from the Electro collection

Tron (1982)

'Tron' earrings

Have you been experimenting with new materials or techniques? (In our last interview, I think DC was all about industrial tubing, acrylic polymers and reusable plastics.)
I really enjoy the experimental part of the design process—seeing how different materials behave, and what concepts are possible to execute. It truly is form of play. My current Electro collection is made via rapid prototyping plastics, and has enabled me to construct designs in three dimensions. My previous collections existed more in the 2D realm, as the materials were layered to create depth, versus printed in three dimensions.

There's always been a futuristic, sci-fi geek element to DC. Care to share some of your latest sci-fi/fantasy obsessions?
I’m currently loving the retrofuturistic imagery and music on musician/designer Scott Hansen’s blog ISO50 (http://blog.iso50.com/). His team often posts on technology—new and old—and offers up diverse electronica playlists. I’m a frequent visitor.

Also, my friend Stephanie Philips—a textile designer in Montréal—has turned me on to the technology involved in the creation of fabrics, and how incredibly creative yet simultaneously scientific that process can be. There is so much possibility when two seemingly different skillsets are used to problem-solve—that’s the main reason why I’m so passionate about collaborating across disciplines with DC.

And speaking of futuristic fantasy, have you seen/read The Hunger Games yet?
Yes! I’m almost through the first book, and saw the movie the other month. I’m typically not attracted to mainstream sci-fi, but the futuristic concepts that author Suzanne Collins explores are alarmingly possible in our current reality. I love how she addresses the cultural as well as the technological aspect of the world she creates. I was also intrigued with cinematographer Tom Stern’s uncomfortable close-ups in The Hunger Games movie: very effective in conveying the suspense and discomfort throughout the film.


  1. Great Q&A! Really enjoyed reading. xo

  2. Morgan Mallett so inspiring!
    Great article.

    - Olivia


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