While attending Cal Arts in Valencia, Morante and his friends were known for setting up shop outside the cafeteria, making T-shirts for fellow students on the spot. The rush of creating last-minute projects with a short turnaround didn’t dissipate after Marco earned a BFA in theatrical design. Moving to L.A. in 2002, he’d go to private parties and boutiques, set up a selection of fabrics and make people whatever they wanted—promising it would be done in an hour or less. Now the founder of his own clothing line, Marco Marco, his talent is used to design and produce custom pieces for red carpets, tours, award shows, commercials and performances. “I love working with the performers, stylists and directors who come to me with their ideas and visions,” Marco says. “But the most rewarding thing is coming into to the studio every day and working with the most talented team of artists, who are also my friends and loved ones. I’m grateful to be a part of it.” Marco is currently working on an underwear line that will be in stores this coming season. As for future plans, he says there are lots of exciting ideas in the incubator. “We’ll just have to wait and see which egg cracks first!”
How long have you lived in Southern California?
I moved to Anaheim from Massachusetts when I was 2, then spent my high school years in Laguna Niguel. Upon graduating I moved to Valencia to attend Cal Arts, where I earned a scenic and costume design BFA in theatrical design. In 2002 I made the move to L.A. and have been here ever since.
What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of life in SoCal?
My favorite part of living in L.A. is the traffic and the weather. I spend all day indoors working hard, answering a million questions, and making last-minute decisions. I love getting a break and sitting in 6 p.m. traffic where no one can reach me, watching the sunset! It's like a mini vacation that I get to take everyday. My least favorite part would have to be last call at 2 a.m.
Tell me about your work and what you're currently up to.
My work consists of designing and producing custom pieces for red carpet, award shows, tours, commercials, performances, etc. I'm currently designing an underwear line set to debut at Matinee Las Vegas on July 4 weekend. You can also catch some of my costumes on the go-go dancers and performers at this event.
In college, my friends and I would make and sell tees to other students outside the cafeteria. We would make them on the spot, out of any fabric of their choice while they waited. Once I was living in L.A., I would go to private parties, boutiques, wherever, set up a selection of fabrics and make people whatever they wanted, promising it would be done in an hour or less.
What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspect of your work?
I love working with the performers, stylists and directors who come to me with their ideas and visions, but the most rewarding thing is coming into to the studio everyday and working with the most talented team of artists, who are also my friends and loved ones. I'm grateful to be a part of it.
What is it that inspires you to keep working?
It's exciting to get a last-minute project that requires a short turnaround time, sometimes within hours. I love jumping right in and making it happen. What keeps me going is waking up every morning not knowing exactly what I will be working on that day, and that's a rush.
What do you consider to be the most pressing issue facing the LGBT community today?
Marriage equality is a must for many reasons. But marriage is more than the ability to visit sick loved ones in hospitals and collect on life insurance. With these rights come responsibilities. In a world where people are encouraged to live their lives for themselves no matter the cost, marriage and honor have lost their luster, taking a back seat to self-indulgence and whim. Relationship education, self-worth, conflict resolution, patience and open mindedness are all essential qualities for a lasting and healthy partnership. Through open communication, education programs and leading by example, we as a community have the potential to return a sense of honor and worth to a tenuous institution.
What do you have planned for the future?
Look out for my line of men's underwear that will be in stores this coming season. As for future plans, I have lots of exciting ideas in the incubator. We’ll just have to wait and see which egg cracks first!