During the summer of 2021, The House of Noir’s Kenneth Morris embarked on a project funded through HOME’s Develop Fund to create a collection of unapologetically empowering Afropunk, Afrocentric, Afrofuturistic inspired looks and develop their own craft along the way. Part of HOME’s Talent Development programme, Develop is a research and development fund which provides different levels of support for artists making work. The programme offers an opportunity to experiment and explore practice, cross-art form ideas and collaborations without the pressure of public presentation. Open to artists working in theatre, film, visual art and digital, we support a range of exciting new projects each year.
This Develop opportunity with Kenneth resulted in a new collection for The House of Noir, and an online exhibition of the works.
Kenneth discusses the proccess in a Q&A with Programme Producer, Amanda Fawcett:
AF: What’s your name? Who are the House of Noir? What’s your role in the house?
KM: My name is Kenneth Morris, I’m the fashion designer & house auntie at the House of Noir; a Manchester based unique vogue house of dancers, choreographers, musicians and artists of colour, comprising of icons and leaders within QTIPoC communities (queer trans and intersex people of colour).
AF: What were your aims? What are your inspirations?
KM: My inspirations are my people, my culture, my Afro-Caribbean heritage. My aim was to create a collection to unapologetically empower us. “If you’ve got it, flaunt it” and we’ve got it! I’ve designed a collection of Afropunk, Afrocentric, Afrofuturistic inspired looks for various members of House of Noir, each garment embodying the personality of the person it was made for.
AF: How has the project helped you to develop your practice?
KM: This project has helped me to develop more skills in costume design, and the showcasing of my images post-production, offering help in marketing and putting my work out there.
As a designer, craftsman, hair & fashion stylist, and maker, most of my work is showcased live on stage, enjoyed by those who are at that venue or a part of the actual show.
This project has granted me the opportunity to showcase my work to a wider audience and give more people an inside glimpse of Manchester vogue ball culture.
AF: What’s next for you?
KM: I’d love to be self dependent in my art, so the next steps are all towards working towards that dream. To be able to create garments and looks for stage shows, do the costume for theatre companies like Black Gold Arts, see my work on the West End, on TV, in film. That’s what I’d love to do. That’s where I would like to go next. The wheels are in motion, but this is just the first turn of it
See more of Kenneth’s work at @kenmozcreations & @houseofnoirmcr
Photography by Rudy Mead
Styling, design, creative direction by Ken Morris
Models: Chloe Cousins, Aria Sceve, Tolu Ajayi, Suriya Aisha
Supported by HOME’s Development fund
With thanks to Darren Pritchard and Chloe Cousins