Extended Play: Moria Wheeler of Jaunty Designs

As promised, here’s the first of a series of longer Q&As with the designers featured in this week’s fashion issue. More to come!

by Moria Wheeler, 24
What kind of clothes do you focus on?
I focus on clothes mostly for 16-mid-20some girls. Really bright colors, flashy patterns — clothes that are fun.

How long have you been designing clothes?
Since 2006.

Have you been selling stuff the whole time?
I think I started probably a year after that putting my stuff on consignment at Deluxe and later, when Kitsch evolved, at Kitsch.

Do you have a day job?
No. I’ve been going to school on and off. I’m not currently in classes this semester, but I do go to school, too.

Does designing earn enough to make a living?
Not enough to make a living but enough to have, I guess, pocket money, to be able to do things you want to do.

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What are the clothes that they took photos of today?
An orange gathered skirt with an eclectic print on it. I don’t really know how to describe it. It’s interesting, kind of tribal, kind of out there. I don’t know. And then a lace, a long lace shirt, it’s black with stripes to the lace, so it has kind of see through panels. And then a pair of earrings and two necklaces, one of the necklaces I cast in silver.

So you do jewelry as well as clothes?
Yes. And the bag.

Is is dresses you focus on, is it all kinds of things?
It’s all kinds of things. I’ve done anything from like jackets and leggings and sweaters and vests, and then also I dabble in silkscreening some of my clothes too. So I do a lot of different stuff. It just depends.

From where do you draw inspiration?
Really all over. I mean, it’s not a lot of specific things. I definitely follow more high fashion than I used to. I have an interest in just seeing what’s being pushed at people in terms of like what they put out in the market. It’s weird to go to the mall and see what all the girls are buying, all that kind of stuff. It’s interesting. I find it really interesting. And then I still just do my own thing, but I like kind of looking into that.

Are there other designers in town you particularly admire? Is there kind of a community of designers that you are part of?
I don’t work with anybody but I’m friends with several people. I would consider Mitra [Chester], who works at Deluxe, a friend, and she’s the one who’s putting together these amazing shows for the last few years.

Have you been involved with all of the shows, or a lot of them?
Yes. This will be my seventh show.

Do you tend to do your things in collections, or are you just constantly working on stuff?
I am kind of constantly working on stuff. I go through kind of a break period after I do a big show where I just don’t really work for a little bit — just kind of put things on the rack and lay back for a minute before I start working again. It’s also kind of daunting you know, when you’re like — for the spring show I did 21 outfits and they all had like accessories and bags and all that stuff. It was 38 pieces all together of clothing, and then 15 pieces of jewelry and four bags, and it’s just a lot of work. So after that I have to kind of take a break for a while.

How many pieces are you doing for this one?
There’s a cap. The cap is 15, so I’m doing 10 but I’ll probably walk in an outfit that I designed, so technically 11.

What are you working on next, for the show or in the future?
I would really like to work more in jackets. I started doing that a little bit this last year and they’re just really fun and really exciting, really rewarding, when you complete something that has so many pieces involved and its very complicated to get a good fit with a jacket from scratch. So I’d like to work more in that before it gets too wintery.

I really prefer like the spring/summertime shows just because I like to make a lot of bright colored dresss and bright colored things in general and so it’s kind of hard when fall comes around — not that I don’t appreciate most color palettes; it’s just, it’s more exciting to see all these like flashy things coming down the runway than it is to have a bunch of mauve, and beige, and autumn tones, it’s just not as much fun for me.

Do you have one particular thing that you’ve made that you’re the most proud of, or most fond of?
I guess … I made this one dress that was pleated and silk that I was really proud of. It just came out really incredible, and I’d never done pleats in anything before, and silk is a very difficult fabric to work in. So I was pretty excited about that dress.

Jaunty Designs are available at Deluxe.