On the door of Lauren Morgan’s new shop on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, a sign reads, “American-made, nontoxic and organic goods for your safe haven.” Inside you will find yourself in a warm, light-filled space filled with homewares, jewelry, and clothes made by local artists and artisans who have their eye on making beautiful and sustainable creations. The edit includes local artisans, including Hawkhouse Jewelry, Lindsay Medeiros hats, Marshall Farm woodworks, Merry Farm Pottery, Flat Point Farm soap, and Walker Roman art, along with washable wool rugs and pieces from Younger Furniture that will make you want to embrace wabi-sabi. And buying local means less carbon emissions from transport! But the most exciting find is Lauren’s amazing wax jacket — a more eco-conscious sister of the Barbour.
Designed and sourced by Lauren (you can track the jacket’s journey from farm to closet on her site, laurenmorgan.com), and American-made, this single piece took nearly a year to come to fruition. “It was initially an experiment,” she says. “I had been making these rain jackets and selling them at the flea market when I found out about all the toxic DWR PFCs [durable water-resistant perfluorochemicals] that they were putting on the materials to make them waterproof. I’ll just say this: It’s really quite a rabbit hole when you start reading up on perfluorochemicals. But the articles and facts I found about what these chemicals do, and the fact that we are putting chemically coated fabrics on our skin, really bothered me. So I wanted to see if I could find a way to make a jacket that was nontoxic, American-grown and -made, flattering, and effectively waterproof. Once I got into trying to source organic cotton and American materials, I began to see how challenging it was. So many phone calls. So many emails. Weeks of tugging on one thread only to find that it was not a good fit, or I wasn’t big enough to be able to buy from them” (many organic fabric companies have minimum buys in the tons). But this only inspired her to prove that this — making a thoughtfully sourced, toxic-free rain jacket — could be done. Lauren, who attended the University of Cincinnati for fashion design, found her way to the Island in 2009 when her husband Nate landed a job with architect Mark Hutker. He now works for builder Tom Tate. Given that the Vineyard is not a total hotbed for fashion houses, Lauren used her design background to work as an interior designer, and continues to design interiors with her fellow University of Cincinnati graduate Madaline Ganton, using the Lauren Morgan store as a base and source of inspiration. The two share an excitement about everything from Danish modern furniture to educating customers about the value of products that consider aesthetics and the planet. Even though their doors only recently opened, they have projects lined up, and more store inventory arriving. And then there is Lauren’s second baby, which, at presstime, was due any day. We at Bluedot say, “Yay” to all of this. And, “Welcome!”