When the sun is blazing and the temperatures are hot enough to wear a bikini top outside, the request of taking off from work becomes a trend. The need to travel –whether it’s going to the grocery store or to the tropical land of Brazil — is a part of our lives.
Michelle Murphy has had her traveling shoes on since she was two years old. She has lived in the Carribean, Oklahoma, Texas, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Murphy spent most of her time in the Big Apple working on an Associate Degree in Fine Arts and establishing her fashion business. Through all her travels, she discovered her passion for hand dyed silks.
“I designed hand dyed silk neckties for 15 year,” Murphy said. “Eventually, I followed my desire to turn that silk into something that I wanted to wear. My silk dresses feel good on your skin and the body responds to that and it gives the woman wearing them pleasure. If you feel good, you look good. It is delightful to be part of the magic that transforms a woman from being slightly uncomfortable in her own skin into a prancing, sexy, bad-ass goddess of cool.”
Murphy’s love for dressing up people and making them feel ultra confident has transformed into her fashion line with a unique name, Barbarianhead.
“I came across a vegetable peeler in Thailand that I loved and it had an orange plastic handle imprinted with the word BARBARIANHEAD,” Murphy said. “TI thought about the Thai people translating the image and coming up with that term. The blunt and direct description of the image made me laugh. I liked it. It suits my personality, my philosophy, and my particular style in a number of ways.”
Two years ago, the Barbarianhead designer moved back to her hometown of Maryland with her four-year old daughter, Marina Belle. Murphy’s silk dresses have been showcased in many Maryland fashion shows such as Fresh! Boutique, Drive 2 Thrive, and Maryland Academy Couture Arts. Also, she enrolled in one of Maryland’s fashion institution to work on her designing.
“I have only been sewing for a few years and I was self taught,” Murphy said. “I took the classes at MACA (Maryland Academy of Couture Arts), and experienced a shift from my hands on method to a more cerebral approach. The attention to detail and patience required to do custom tailored clothing is incredibly difficult for an intuitive monkey like me. I can’t wing it! Our instructor, Ella Pritsker, is gentle but absolutely firm in her demand for quality work.”
As Murphy continues to work on improving her fashion design skills, she is working on art pieces like silk textiles. Her artwork will be on display in January and in February at a library in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania. In March, she will participate in another Maryland Academy of Couture Arts featuring prom and bridal looks.
When she isn’t designing garments, the Barbarianhead designer is attending Baltimore Fashion Alliance meeting and events as a founding member and the Artistic Director.
“The Baltimore Fashion Alliance is full of really motivated and inspiring people,” Murphy said. “I was lucky enough to get involved in the early stages and I really enjoy being there as it grows. It gives me an outlet for my desire to be connected with a like-minded group. I am reestablishing myself here and the BFA has been great for networking. Our aim is to connect the people who are involved in the fashion industry here in Baltimore. As we link together, we can provide a source of information where local designers can find the education and resources they need.”