I had the pleasure of meeting Morgan Hungerford West a few weeks ago, through a mutual friend (also a talented artist) and I’ve been looking forward to introducing her to you ever since!
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Wait until you see her “handmade, one-of-a-kind, vintage lace teepees,” that she designs for BHLDN (Anthropologie’s sister brand), they are truly dreamy.
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morgan_for_sofia_photo_Floyd_York► You do so much and are so talented, when people ask you what you do for a living, what do you say?
Describing what I do actually took me a really long time to figure out, and I’d say I spent the first year after striking out on my own completely unable to explain this at parties. I’ve finally honed my verbiage, and I like to say I work in both art direction and art production: the art direction involves production, styling, and consulting for various brands and businesses (lookbooks, editorials, website visuals, etc), and the art production aspect mostly revolves around handmade decor installations for events, as well as all things Panda Head Teepees. It’s a mouthful, right? And I should have started with this, but oh man – thank you, Sofia!
 
► When did you first start making teepees?  
I’ve been enormously lucky to have worked with DC-based events company BYT Productions on a number of their events, the first of which was the “Zou Bisou Bisou” party at the French Embassy in May of 2012. I came up with the idea for a lace teepee installation, and could not have been happier with how it turned out.
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► How did you get involved with BHLDN? What has that been like so far?
After the French Embassy installation, the BHLDN décor buyers happened across an event photo on a blog, and they found me from there. Honestly, when I first saw the email I just couldn’t believe it – in crazy coincidence, I’d worked at the store-level merchandising and display end of URBN INC (the parent company of Urban Outfitters, Free People, Anthropologie, and BHLDN) for about seven years, and had left five months prior to pursue my own projects. Needless to say, it was an unexpected but amazing thing to find myself back with the company! And working with them has been great – I’d love to bore you with the details of how lovely the home office team has been, but I’ll refrain.
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► Where does the name Panda Head come from?teepee
I started Panda Head Blog in 2006, at the height of DC BABY PANDA fever. The name was just kind of a silly, meaningless thing I came up with on the fly, but somehow it still feels like a fit.
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► What would you say is your biggest professional accomplishment so far?
Honestly, this last year has really been a series of things that have felt like a big deal, and all of which I’m incredibly proud. The BHLDN partnership (which went live in March) has of course been huge, and in June I co-founded Topaz + Arrow (a monthly, DIY workshop series) with a dear friend of mine, Virginia Arrisueño. I’ve also taken part in projects and long-term collaborations with MUTINYViolet Boutique, and Gordy’s Pickle Jar – 2013 has been fulfilling, to say the least.
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► Top 3 favorite places in DC?
Union Market (wandering around Salt & Sundry with a Peregrine latte is an ideal situation), Wild Hand Workspace, (the studio I share with my friend Victoria Milko) at the Monroe Street Market, and….this is so tough! Comet Ping Pong is an eternal favorite, so let’s go with that.
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Thank you again Morgan!
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Photo: Floyd York / Vintage Lace Teepee: BHLDN

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