Morgan Davis is a 23-year-old Howard University alumna from Michigan who is a fashion designer and a creative that is bringing other DMV area creatives together. Davis received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Fashion Design, but her love for theatre and music is what initially drew her to fashion design. Davis’ mother taught her how to sew, and she began doing costume design. From there she was drawn to other things like photography. But the summer before she started at Howard University, Davis created a plus-size clothing store where she designed made-to-order pieces. This lasted from her freshman year until about the beginning of her junior year.
Due to a desire of rebranding, Davis closed down her shop, but will be relaunching MorganEliz on April 1. “Since closing the store I have sort of gotten into graphic design and illustration, and so I’m combining my love of that with fashion and making it more of a cohesive unit. Before it was like I was doing both things on opposite sides of the spectrum, instead of trying to bring it together,” said Davis.
In November 2015, Davis launched Distinctly Creative. She was inspired to create this community because she attended tons of fashion shows in DC and other areas and became frustrated that there was only a small percentage of black and people of color represented. “I started helping other clothing brands with their brand development, etc. and my frustration was because many of them were black and it was upsetting to see such talented people have very little or no understanding when it came to business, but on the flip-side seeing white counterparts having this plethora of knowledge and resources, so I felt like these people deserve the same opportunities,” said Davis.
With Distinctly Creative being fairly new, Davis was eager to get her name out there, but she felt like the mission of her brand was becoming misinterpreted, so in February, Distinctly Creative hosted events all month long for Black History Month such as Melanin Musings (an informal gathering and discussion for black creatives and entrepreneurs), #FortheCulture (a showcase for black creatives), and a screening of the popular YouTube web series, Tough Love. These events gave people a better understanding of the brand. “It was the perfect opportunity; given that it was Black History Month and to showcase that not only are there black creatives in business, but have people understand that there is a platform out there that can connect likeminded creatives,” said Davis.
Distinctly Creative’s website includes a directory of black creatives from bloggers to culinary arts, to visual arts and men’s fashion. The site also includes an apparel shop where you can order the “Black Creatives Matter” shirts Davis created, and last but not least there are vendor and artist opportunities available. Now if that isn’t #blackgirlmagic and #blackboyjoy, I don’t know what is!
Time management can become a bit of a challenge if you’re juggling a full-time marketing job, a designing career, a platform for tons of black creatives, and a personal life, but Davis makes sure she gets it done. “Sometimes it can be a little hard because there will be weekends when I really just want to go to brunch or whatever, but I’m going to instead kind of have to sacrifice time and put it towards either my personal brand or business because I know that in the long-run this is where I see myself in 5, 10 years, and to get to that, there will be some sacrifices that I have to make along the way,” said Davis.
The cut-throat competition between women is no secret, but Davis drops some gems about the reality of the thought-process of a lot of women (black women in particular) . “You’re constantly thinking ‘if I collaborate with this person, will they outshine me or will they do this or do that or take money from me or whatever,’ instead of trying to focus on the larger picture,” said Davis.
Instead of trying to eliminate the “competition,” we should be supporting other Queens. We’re in this together, and there is enough food on the table for everyone. Morgan Davis is the perfect example of this. Her platform allows black creatives to shine, instead of diminishing their lights.