“Ignore the boos. They usually come from the cheap seats.”
This is the mantra that 21-year-old Connor Morton lives his life by. “I’ll probably get it tattooed,” he adds. The self-described fashion designer, model and influencer sits comfortably in his family home in Emerald, Victoria. A single glance at his appearance makes one thing very clear. He is in work mode.
He sports a three-day growth and his once bleach-blonde hair has all but grown out. There is steely determination behind his eyes. It’s a different look to what he presents on the social media platforms where he has made his name.
However, one thing remains consistent. His independent fashion label Conison, which he wears with pride on his cap and t-shirt. These items of clothing, plus many more, are a culmination of a crazy last couple of years, which included living for an extended period of time in Los Angeles.
“When I first went to LA it was to get inspiration for my fashion,” says Connor. “But then not to say I blew up, but I started to get noticed in social media, modelling and influencing. I got signed and did brand deals with Puma, Converse, Jay Jays, all this crazy stuff. I had so many opportunities for modelling so I took advantage of that.”
Adapting to the Los Angeles lifestyle can be difficult, particularly for someone from country Victoria, however Connor believes he has learnt the trade. “You always need to have the mindset that people just want money. In a partnership you got to make sure your getting something back. But I had my people and my resources. I met amazing people and had such a good time”
Connor left Los Angeles with much more than just memories and inspiration, he now had strong vision for his brand.
“Men’s fashion in Australia is trash,” he says. “In my opinion there’s not much flavour in the industry. The goal of mine is to be a high end brand, but at a semi-reasonable price.
“At the end of the day you’re just slapping a logo onto a t-shirt, but I want to be more creative with it. I want to be more of a visionary, make cool movies, have a proper movement.”
The next step was resourcing, which begun with a trip to China. “I went there by myself, I didn’t know a single word of Chinese. I take risks. I just bought myself a ticket, booked an Airbnb, talked to a few factories and just hustled.
“I’d like to support Australian businesses but it’s so expensive. When resourcing from overseas you need to make sure it’s fair work, you don’t want to do anything dodgy. That’s why I go over there. It’s to make sure that I’m working with good people.”
Connor is also planning a trip to India for more resourcing, as well as Europe next year for inspiration. However, despite his endeavours all around the globe, he admits to always feeling the pull of home.
“What keeps bringing me back home is friends and family. I like the peace and quiet up here. At home I don’t have to hang around like minded people all the time. It’s like a vacation again, just playing Xbox and drinking beers and stuff.”
Connor’s mother Kerri is glad that he still enjoys returning home. “I miss him when his overseas, but I’m very happy that he’s chasing his dreams,” she says.
Connor has always aspired to live what he describes as an abnormal life. His interest in fashion begun at an early age. “When going out to places I always liked to impress. I’ve always liked to be creative, always liked to do things not many people are doing.”
However, he notes that very few of his peers shared his passion. “My mates aren’t really into it which sucked, it was hard. But now they respect me for it and see my vision. I’ve been brought up in social media so I certainly don’t feel alone.”
Connor believes that being outside the box has led to a thick skin. “I get judged all the time,” he says. “But now when people disrespect me I just genuinely don’t care. I’ll respect you if you respect me. I think of people now as economy.”
This business-like attitude is ideal for a someone spearheading a fashion label, and the excitement in his voice rises as entails what the future holds for Conison.
“The first drop is this October, giving people a taste. Winter next year is when I really want to make a splash. That’s when I want to want to hit the retail market, I want to be in stores.”
It’s an ambitious statement, which Connor acknowledges. But this has always been his mentality. Kerri describes her son as ambitious, driven and confident, a statement which Connor certainly agrees with.
“I have to put myself in the deep water to get results,” he declares. “Don’t be cocky, but be confident in yourself.
“I just believe in myself, believe in my vision, and live the life that I want to live.”