In a time when many felt creatively stagnant, fashion designer Connor McKnight was busy sketching, cutting, and sewing his first line in his Brooklyn apartment. He shares how he learned to embrace creative risks, find inspiration, and stay balanced—all in the midst of chaos.
Finding Inspiration In Protest
The Black Lives Matter movement was happening right outside my door. I heard protests on a daily basis (I've been to plenty) and I was thinking about ways that felt natural for me to contribute. At that point I had already designed a few pieces, but it changed something for me. I started thinking about the collection in terms of having more representation, joining a conversation where there aren't many people that look like you in it, and being able to present a perspective that hasn't been considered before. The amount of change that’s happening in the world outside felt like it could be the perfect time for me to try something new. Everything is changing anyways, so why not?
I grew up in a mixed family, so I began talking to my parents and brothers about their own experiences, both now and growing up, and I went down a rabbit hole. I pulled a lot of inspiration from my family's stories, and from our family photos. Drawing on these experiences to create pieces for my collection felt very genuine and meaningful.
EMBRACING ALONE TIME
It’s good to reset. There were so many things that I’ve been wanting to work on for so long; having an extended period of time where I was sort of in isolation was almost perfect.
Prior to this, I was working full time. I was putting a lot of my energy into that job. After I left, I started thinking about what a brand would look like if I were to start one now—and I wasn’t taking it too seriously at the beginning because it’s easy to defeat yourself before you even start. Being by myself and having the time to explore those questions is incredible. These days we’re so interconnected that just having a moment to think about your own direction is extremely valuable—especially for somebody in their 20s in such an unsure time. I spend a lot of time just bouncing around ideas and trying things out.