Bright Lights, Big City: Morgan Maher lives the NYC fashion dream
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When people say “living the dream,” I immediately think of my sister, Morgan Maher. My sister lives in Lower Manhattan in New York City and works for Marc Jacobs International as a photographer. She has attended New York Fashion Week, worked with industry professionals, and has had the pleasure of meeting some of today’s top models. However, all of this didn’t come easy. Hard work and dedication truly do get you far, and my sister is a perfect example.
Maher, member of the class of 2013, decided that photography was what she wanted to make a career out of in high school; however, she loves all kinds of art.
“I love photography so much, but after college I have definitely realized that, for me, I’m not the type of girl that can commit to only one type of artistic means. I am a photographer for my 9-5 job, but I write, paint, sculpt, and have started making these wacky short films. I am an artist and constantly need to be expressing my ideas no matter how weird or serious they are. And I know this job is the beginning of my journey and I’ll live a lot of lives and work in a lot of different fields before I retire,” said Maher.
Maher took classes at the Arts and Communications Academy her junior and senior years, which is hosted at Governor Thomas Johnson High School. This helped her to build her portfolio and experience. She had decided that she wanted to go to an art school, as well as go to school in the south. The top school that met all of her criteria was Savannah College of Art and Design, or SCAD.
“At SCAD I majored in photography, but as I progressed, I became more interested in fine art practice. I got to the point where I was taking independent study classes and following my interests through the photographic study of program, but wasn’t necessarily taking photographs,” Maher says.
Our parents were very supportive of her decision, although the distance was intimidating. SCAD is around a 10 hour drive from our house, making visits home limited.
While in college, Maher took summer classes and studied abroad in Lacoste, France. The dorms at the SCAD Lacoste campus were located inside a renovated castle in a culturally rich area. The SCAD Savannah campus was just as beautiful, but in its own way.
My family and I loved getting to take trips down to Savannah whenever we got the chance. The weather and the city are both beautiful.
Our father, Ed Maher believes that in this point of our lives, being a student is our full time job. In college, being a student comes first, and everything else comes second. I recognize that not every family has that choice. We all knew how competitive her school would be, but if anyone could make their mark, it was Morgan. He regularly reminded her that it would help if she always went above and beyond, seized every opportunity, and do the best she could in every assignment.
Maher graduated from SCAD in 2016, in three years instead of four. She took extra classes and put in 100% effort, 100% of the time. In 2013, Maher became an intern for Marc Jacobs, getting the permanent full-time job as a photographer later in the year. Shortly after graduation, she moved into an apartment in Brooklyn with some people that she knew, but not too well, and had an hour commute to work.
Several months into her job, her friend Zoe Cohen came into work asking if anyone was looking for an apartment because one of her roommates was moving out. Maher took this opportunity and moved into a new apartment in Chinatown with two of her best friends, Zoe Cohen and Claudia Frolova. Frolova is a designer for ZAC by Zac Posen, and Cohen is in charge of the social media for Marc Jacobs.
“We love the accessibility and being able to walk to anywhere we need to go. We live in Chinatown which is a secret gem in the center of downtown Manhattan. It’s so easy to get everywhere from there,” say Maher, Cohen, and Frolova.
Fashion is a difficult industry to get into, as are many industries in the work force.
“Definitely follow your dreams and never take no for an answer! In the fashion industry, you’re going to have to do jobs like get coffee and pick up dry cleaning. But if you stay passionate and have a good attitude and take each job as seriously and do it the best you can, then you will go far!” said Maher.
Maher took part of New York Fashion weeks in September 2016 and February 2017. During the September Fashion Week, she met top models Karlie Kloss, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Bella Hadid. My sister knew that I was a huge Karlie Kloss fan and she was able to get a video of Kloss talking and saying “Hi” to me. She has worked side by side top fashion designers such as Marc Jacobs and Katie Grand.
“Working with Marc Jacobs and Katie Grand for weeks on end all day and all night during the shows has been amazing. After this past Fall/Winter ’17 show, Katie hugged me and kissed me and thanked me for all the hard work I did. Someone like that hugging you can only mean good things!” Maher said.
Maher certainly has good things going for her. She has big dreams and aspirations, very appropriate for New York City.
“In the future I want to be a CEO, a designer, and make sculptures. I also want to live in a beautiful mansion overlooking a park with a chef and be able to wear designer clothes all day every day. Basically I just want to be in charge,” said Maher.
I am inspired by Morgan every single day and am constantly in awe of her determination, independence, and abilities. She is my best friend and I couldn’t be more proud of my sister. I hope that I can be just like her when I’m older.