By Elizabeth Gracen:
I met Resa McConaghy right before the turn of the century. I was the star of Highlander: The Raven, and the production's first half of shooting took place in Toronto, Canada, where the lovely Ms. McConaghy lives, works, and creates. We hit it off immediately—simpatico from the start. Sometimes, if you're lucky—and I've pretty much always had this luck with my Highlander friends—you hang on to the bonds that form during production. Fortunately, I was lucky enough for one of those invaluable bonds to be with Resa McConaghy.
Resa is a creator. A big-hearted, fabulous woman with passion, wit, and a sparkling consciousness with room enough for her love for art and a vibrant concern for the well-being of this planet. I adore this woman.
Please meet Resa McConaghy!
EG: Resa, I am thrilled to be working alongside you again! It's been many years since we worked together on Highlander: The Raven, but in so many ways, it feels like just a blink of an eye. Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
RM: Well, Lizzie, it is a blink of an eye, yet, so much happened after Highlander: The Raven. The series, due to all the various time periods, added handsomely to my portfolio. After that, a lot of great costume design work came my way.
It’s been a successful career for a girl from Winnipeg, in the Canadian prairies. Around age 10, I had decided I was going to be a Go-Go dancer. Obviously, that did not work out. In my early 20’s, I decided I would be Canada’s first Dior. I enrolled at Sheridan College, in a Fashion Design and Technology course. I also took Knit Design and Technology. I graduated, with honours, in both.
I took the usual steps: Photo sessions of my original designs, opened a small destination boutique (Resa Designs) and set up a sweat shop in my basement. I was down there sweating it out with about 2 staff. One day, someone came into my shop and asked if I could make Arrow shirts fit busts (statues). It was for a commercial. That led to about 6 years styling commercials. During that time, I continued designing Canadian Rock videos and short films.
Next thing I knew, I was working with you.
EG: You are one of those people I consider “steeped” in creativity. It defines you. You are one of the most creative people I have ever met. Why is art and creating art so important to you?
RM: It’s what I can do. I never really fit in anywhere, except with artists, be they musicians, painters , sculptors, actors, etc. I can work as hard, if not harder, than anyone, but I need a creative satisfaction at the end of the day. Honestly, before my career in film, I lived hand to mouth. Nonetheless, I was happier than I can express, because I was always designing and creating. Mom was hoping I’d level up and marry a pharmacist. Obviously—another thing that didn’t work out.
EG: Tell me about your gorgeous Art Gown creations? What was the inspiration and how do you decide on what to create?
RM: The first Art Gown was created after my mom died. I was so very sad. Life seemed bleak, ugly, and I craved beauty. Her name is “Strawberry Kisses,” and she began my passion.
Old throw-away clothes and fabrics, time periods, pride of reusing, recycling, and repurposing inspire me. Creating treasure out of trash, and other artists' expressions are food to me. Love is in the mix.
EG: We both share a passion and concern about “fast fashion.” You’ll be writing a new series for Flapper Press that deals with the subject. Please give me your thoughts on this subject and what we can expect from the series.
RM: Well, since I began my work with Flapper Press, Covid-19 has taken over our world.
I need to see where the fast fashion companies go when we return. I can’t believe they would continue their wasteful, polluting, and profit-only ways. Also, after the pandemic, I hope that consumers will have changed their ideas on what is important. Needs vs. Wants is on the economy’s driving table. In the meantime, I will continue the idea of beauty for all, and that all are beautiful vis-à-vis my Art Gowns.
An established Costume Designer in film, television, & digital media, Resa McConaghy has worked on productions for Showtime, ABC, Disney, CBS, CBC, Hallmark, and more.
Her mission: to enable the articulation of character through wardrobe.
Art Gowns by Resa McConaghy: