Curiously chic fashion designer, Nina Morgan-Jones
Nina says she's always loved styling and clothes. From around the age of five she regularly dressed up in her mother's negligees, platform shoes, velvet hats and lipstick. Growing up in a big house in the country, she spent lots of time watching old black and white films and loving the 'film noir goddesses'. Nina says that "becoming a designer was a natural progression".
With a name like Morgan-Jones, it goes without saying that Nina is proudly Welsh and studied fashion design and technology in Wales, before attending Croydon Art College, where she completed a degree in fashion design and marketing. Nina has worked with a variety of established fashion and interior designers and buyers in London, as well as doing some modelling work before co-founding Romp. She’s currently running the newly launched Romp London, where she is the Creative Director and President.
Nina set up the Romp label in 2002 with Greg Sturmer. Romp was the first company to offer a complete couture lifestyle collection of organic products. Romp created a diverse collection of romp organic products – including cow hide leather luggage, dyed with natural dyes made from trees and flowers, soft lamb suede, sheepskin, denim and cotton. Every product was RFID traceable to source. Romp was one of only three ethical finalists in the RSPCA good business awards in 2008. Whilst Romp no longer have a plant to produce organic leather, they still strive to make as much of their collection as possible organic, including their cotton and denim – and even their silks are dyed with natural organic colouring.
Romp have shown their eco-friendly collections all over the world and sold wholesale internationally for some years. They created a successful glamorous ‘Haute Boheme’ style organic boutique in Los Angeles, which was interior designed by Nina herself in 2007.
Romp is currently under re-location with plans to open a new Romp London boutique soon. Romp is currently based in studios in Beverly Hills, where they produce custom made clothing, accessories, interiors and wholesale ready to wear.
Nina also custom makes wedding gowns in Romp’s character Haute Boheme style and has dressed cast members and actors for numerous television shows and celebrity events, such as American Idol, Melrose Place, the MTV Awards, the Golden Globes and Miss USA.
The current Romp London collection focuses on natural products- sumptuous shearlings, leathers and suedes - all in Romp’s unique high 70’s styling, making the pieces perfect as glamorous apres-ski wear.
When asked about the inspiration for her designs, Nina explains that this depends on whether she’s using organic or conventional materials, however, the look and the fit of all the garments is central to her unique style. She tends to cut her designs in a very fitted way for a long, lean silhouette. Her womenswear is ultra-feminine and translates into styling that she describes as “avant-garde-Biba-meets-sexy-rock‘n’roll.” Her printed t-shirt designs are usually inspired by the film noir genre, her Helmut Newton books, together with her collection of vintage ‘60s/’70s gentlemen’s magazines. And it looks like there's a bit of 'disco' in there too.
Now a bit more about the curiously chic lady herself: Nina says that her own curiosity is fuelled by travelling. Her favourite places in London are her flat in Primrose Hill, The Fumoir bar in Claridges, The Wolesley for breakfast and the Kensington Gore Hotel. Her favourite part of America is Manhattan – and she adores St Paul de Vence, especially the candlelit garden of the Colombe d’Or, where starving artists used to swap their paintings in exchange for dinner. She likes to shop in the rue St Honore, to scour through the clothes at Parisien flea markets and to drink red wine in the George V. Her favorite dinner companion is her boyfriend, Billy Arnott.
The people Nina most likes to dress are clients who have their own unique sense of style- “and a good body underneath it. I love dressing stylish women like my friend – the singer Pearl, for example I custom make a lot of Pearl’s leather fringed stage clothes and boots,” Nina explains: “We combine raw, hard- wearing rock n roll leathers with some stage sparkle….it’s inspiring to see the clothes come to life on her on stage.”
Nina’s dream collection would involve having free reign of all the exotic trimmings, fabrics, feathers and buckles from the couture houses of the 1950s. She’d collaborate with Barbara Hulanicki and hold a catwalk show in the Kensington Roof Gardens. The collection would show in Romp’s shop in London, which is planned for the future.
Anything else we should know about Nina? She also has plans to create a beautiful new shop in the USA next year, will be launching a new website, and Romp London will show in March 2011 at Aspen Fashion Week.
Thanks Nina – but please slow down, that sounds like more than enough for now…