Interview with Alum Morgan Jefferson

We love to catch up with our alumni to see what they’ve been up to post-graduation. I’m pleased to present to you, Morgan Jefferson, in her own words. Morgan graduated in 2017 and I remember her grad show clearly. She approached knitting with a fervor and determination that has benefited her to this day. Read on to see how and why she does what she does so well.

“My name is Morgan Jefferson, I graduated from Philadelphia University with a B.S. in Textile Design in 2017. I was raised in Delaware and moved to Philadelphia for school. I started interning with the URBN brand in 2015, now I am an Assistant Designer for Free People. My job is so creative. I am responsible for coming up with new sweater ideas that represent the Free People brand. I get inspired by monthly trend presentations and a lot of runway shows. I knit on machines and get to explore a lot of different types of yarns. Sometimes I get to hand-knit and crochet for special projects. Still, the majority of my job consists of machine knitting fabric for the designers on my team to make sweaters. I do not have a background in fashion design, but I have had the opportunity to make a few sweaters here and there. I have been in my full-time position on the sweaters team for almost 2 years now, and I have learned so much! “

How did you choose Textile Design as a major? 

I randomly chose Textile Design as a major! It’s such a funny story. When I applied to PhilaU, I chose “undecided” as my major. But got a call from financial aid and was told I had to choose a major to receive my financial aid. I remembered a quiz I took on one of many visits to the campus that resulted in 5 different majors that I might be interested in. Since it was the heat of the moment, the first one I remembered was Textile Design, so I chose, fell in love with the major, and never looked back.

When did you learn to knit/weave/print, and who taught you?

I randomly taught myself how to knit the summer before I started my freshman year. I got so frustrated with it I stopped. I taught myself how to crochet my sophomore year and got really motivated to hand-knit again, so I tried again and success! I learned how to machine knit once I got to school and fell in love with that more than hand knitting because it was so much faster.  

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from another designer?

Your first idea is your best idea!

Are there any techniques in textile design you’d like to explore further?

When I was in school, my two favorite mediums were knit and print. I would love to explore print more in-depth because I loved watching my idea develop from my sketchbook to the final print.  

What do you have on your knitting machine/loom/sketchbook today?

Right now, I currently have a beautiful jacquard that I’m knitting in alpaca yarn. I drew this really nice motif inspired by an argyle print I saw, and I wanted to put an ikat twist to it. Wish me luck! 

What drives you to make your best work? 

My best work is always made at the last minute! Surprisingly I work very well under pressure. I’m a very indecisive person, so I think the less amount of time forces me to make more decisions.  

What kind of music do you listen to in your headphones?

I listen to a lot of upbeat music when I’m knitting because it gets me pumped and energized. You must be in high spirits when you knit, or else things will go horribly wrong. If I ever have a bad knitting day, I turn on Beyonce Homecoming because the whole concert makes me feel like I can do anything.  

What are your hobbies? How do you make time for them?

I LOVE to crochet! It’s something about slow fashion that has my heart. I crochet every day after work, it makes me very relaxed, and it really opens my mind to all the things that I can do. Working for such a big brand, you must always put into consideration what the customer would buy, which isn’t always what I have in mind. Crocheting at home helps my creative mind flow a little more. 

What do you love about your current job/workplace?

I love how challenging it is at times; the customer is always looking for the next best thing, which means you must make every design your best.  

What surprising skill, technique, or method did you learn in school that you are still using today?

Never in a million years did I think I would be machine knitting all day every day. It was a fun class in college, but I didn’t think you could have a career based on that skill. I also heard that not many companies have/utilize knitting machines. I think there’s only about 3 in the U.S.  

What’s next for you?

I have huge dreams and plans for the future. I would love to own my own textile business one day, selling the most beautiful textiles anyone has ever seen and share my creativity with the world. I want everyone to know what Textile Design is, that is my ultimate goal.  

To keep up with Morgan and her knits, you can follow her on her Instagram account @morganstextiles where she posts about the sweaters she designs for Free People.


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