Kailand Morris is on an intriguing adventure. At sixteen he made his modelling debut opening the Dolce and Gabbana show in Milan, subsequently getting picked up for Dior, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Balmain and Valentino. Sometime later he joined Dior as an intern under the supervision of Kim Jones, and has founded his own brand, House of Kom. If this weren’t enough, Morris has diversified his company with a division called Kom Worldwide, dedicated to not-for-profit projects, and has just launched a collaboration with Iceberg.
At just nineteen, Morris is one of nine children from music icon Stevie Wonder. We meet him, via Zoom, at 2pm LA Time – the embodiment of calm and determination, he is sitting on a white sofa in his study. He is wearing a dark green hooded sweatshirt, has honey blonde dreadlocks tied in a ponytail high atop of his head. Around his neck you can see the belt of a Fender that he has resting in his lap. Morris raises the guitar in frame of the webcam: “It’s a quiet day, I’m relaxing and looking through the Beatles discography. I’m working my way through it, along with selected Jimi Hendrix tracks, which I love. I just hit pause on Thom Yorke – Last I Heard.”
What else is on his playlist? “All kinds of music. Rap, trap, RnB, jazz, blues. And obviously my father’s records,” Morris says. His approach to his art is “contemporary, multidisciplinary”. “For now I’m focusing on fashion but music for me is essential. In general, I don’t like to choose between the two. Music and fashion are both sacred languages, and both have expressive outlets. It’s no more complicated than that. If I’m on the street and like someone’s outfit, I’ll just stop them and tell them I admire their outfit. Musicians speak to me through the lyrics in their songs. Just the other day, I listened to Light by Michael Kiwanuka, and although we’ve never met, I felt like a close friend. I love to feel this kind of connection. As my father always says: ‘the world needs love’”. Today more than ever.
Morris pulls up his sleeve to reveal a design above his elbow. “It’s a tattoo with the words Time to Love, the title of one of my father’s records,” he says. This makes me wonder about Morris’ music earliest memories, he is after all a kid who grew up in the house of a music legend. Morris smiles. “If I think about that, so many things come to mind. One of the most vivid memories dates back to when I was three or four years old, to a day when my grandmother gave me my first cassette. I have kept it to this day.”
Morris has performed from an early age as a drummer at Stevie Wonder concerts. I ask him if there has been a moment in particular where he realised the gravity of his father’s fame. “I’ve always been around my father of course, so our life has always seemed normal, if you know what I mean…There were times where I played with him at concerts and the lights were so dazzling I didn’t even think about the audience. But I suppose the first time I truly felt this was when I was in Rio. My dad was playing on the beach in the afternoon. It was the first time I realised that in front of us was a sea of people so deep I couldn’t see to the end.”
Growing up in Calabasas, Morris learnt not to take his family’s wealth for granted. “I’m privileged, I never forget it,” he says. “My parents taught me gratitude, and to give back some of the fortune that God has given me.” Morris collaborates with the Watts Empowerment Center in Los Angeles in charity projects to help youth in difficult situations. “Sharing is fundamental for me. I also share my birthday. At thirteen, my parents asked me if, since I already had everything I could possibly want from a material point of view, would I like to celebrate my birthday by giving back to the less fortunate. Since then, until the recent arrival of the pandemic, I organised an annual basketball game and other charitable initiatives on my birthday.”
“This last year has been different and complicated for everyone,” he continues. In 2020 I graduated and worked tirelessly on my projects. I always like to stay focused. Socialising is the only thing that I miss. I cannot wait for a time where I can go out without a mask and get back to doing normal things, like meeting people. I ask for no more.”
By Cattura Production for ICON Magazine
Photography: Valentin Fabre
Styling: Edoardo Caniglia
Grooming: Axelle Jérina
Producer: Federico Morgantini
Video: Dino Zoor & Valentin Pitarch
Words: Valentina Della Seta