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The Artists Behind the Brand: Brian Wolk and Claude Morais

The Artists Behind the Brand: Brian Wolk and Claude Morais

Posted by Team John Paul Mitchell Systems on Nov 5th 2015

As the Wolk Morais ready to wear fashion show inches closer (just three days away!), we’re working excitedly to prepare for the show. Today, our team of hairstylists, led by Angelina Panelli, is on location for a final hair test. While the team perfects the final hair look that will complete the designer’s counter-culture-inspired vision, we caught up with the two artists behind the collection: Brian Wolk and Claude Morais. Here they’re sharing their creative inspiration for the collection, their vision of fashion in Los Angeles and what we can expect from Monday’s show.  

Paul Mitchell: What are your backgrounds? How did you get your start in the fashion industry?

Brian Wolk: I grew up in New York and have always been obsessed with textiles. I hand sewed my first piece of clothing for my 1st-grade talent show, after which my dad bought me a sewing machine when I was 11, and I made my mom dresses throughout high school! I went on to study Fashion at FIT in Manhattan, then costume design, after which my life took me on a whirlwind journey from backstage dressing rooms of Broadway theaters to the wig shop at the Santa Fe Opera and ultimately to Paris where I worked at Chanel. I met Claude when I moved back to NY and we have been collaborating ever since!

Claude Morais: My fashion career began with my internship styling my sister’s Barbie Dolls and orchestrating full production fashion shows for them and their GI Joe boyfriends. I left my native Quebec as a teenager to pursue a career in modeling which took me from the runways of Paris to Tokyo. My on-the-job training as a model for the best fashion houses in the world ignited my passion for clothing. This segued into styling my model friends for their photo shoots. Eventually, I learned I could make a living doing this and ended up in NYC where I met Brian, who inducted me into the design realm of fashion.

PM: What inspires you as a designer?

WM: What inspires us as designers is fluid, but simply put: it is what happens in front of us. Whether we are walking down the street and see someone with a great sense of style, or take in an incredible art show, or read a provocative book, hear a song we connect to, or feel the power of an opera╌it’s all distilled, discussed, processed, negotiated and eventually becomes the language of our runway show.

PM: Tell us about your cross-country move from NYC to LA.

WM: We came to Los Angeles for creative freedom, space and inspiration. This is why we moved from Manhattan to Williamsburg Brooklyn over a decade ago, and ultimately why we came west; to shed our skin and start a new label with our own name for the first time. As designers, it’s important for us to be surrounded by a community that is relevant, explosive and making news. Fashion is about change.

PM: Give us a brief overview of your second collection.

WM: The collection is inspired by many things, but we were really interested in the contrast between beatnik culture and café society culture. The high and low of these fringes, both fabulous  and relevant counter-culture social movements.

PM: In five words, what inspired this collection?

WM: It’s more than five words, but it’s a sign we found in our research that was placed in a hotel to discourage fancy dress youngsters from attending a dance. It said, "Youth wearing Edwardian dresses will not be admitted."

PM: What is the overall mood of the collection?

WM: March to the beat of your drum.

PM: Out of all of the modern day muses, who do you imagine wearing your collection?

WM: The honorable Mary Olivia Chateris.

PM: What is the key piece within this collection? Is this the item that every woman should have in her closet?

WM: The short sleeve button down gusset shirt. It’s the perfect shape to take you from the street to black tie!

PM: Tell us about the hair look.

WM: We focused on the individuality of our models’ beautiful hair and beautified it. We weren’t interested in cloning our models, we wanted to find their best look and stick to it!

PM: What do you see for Wolk Morais in the next 5 years?

WM: We want to continue to embrace the west coast and be inspired by its endless beauty. There is so much to explore and so many facets of design we look forward to discovering.

PM: Long-term, what legacy do you want to leave on the fashion industry?

WM: Humanity, inspiration, craft, individualism, collaboration and creative freedom.

PM: We’re proud to partner with Wolk Morais for a second time. In your opinion, why do our brands work well together?

WM: We believe Paul Mitchell and Wolk Morais both want to leave behind the same legacy and to look beautiful while doing it!

PM: The obvious: What is your favorite Paul Mitchell product?

WM: Anything from the Tea Tree line and, of course, my prized possession: The Neuro® Dry!

Cheers, guys! We’re thrilled to support your collection and can’t wait for Monday night.