Thomas J. Story

Florist, restaurateur, and possibly the most stylish human being on the East Side of L.A., Maurice Harris is a talent to watch

Kate Wertheimer  – March 10, 2020 | Updated March 24, 2020

Maurice Harris grew up in California watching his fashion-obsessed mother sew clothes and his grandmother craft church hats. “They taught me to have reverence for how I present myself, and to take pride in whatever I’m doing.” Being gay and black in a predominantly white neighborhood, Harris’s individualism was forced upon him from a young age, and he learned to embrace it early. 

“I’m only good at one thing. Being myself.” 

It’s worked out well for him. In addition to opening Bloom & Plume—the only queer- and black-owned coffee shop on the east side of L.A.—in the last year, Harris has been a featured artist at MOCA, has performed at The Broad, is debuting a show this spring on Quibi called Centerpiece (starring Maya Rudolph and Rashida Jones), and will be a judge on HBO Max’s new reality competition show, Full Bloom, premiering this summer.

Maurice Harris Collage
Thomas J. Story

Thomas J. Story

His style principles are simple: Buy what you love, lean into the things that move you, and use beauty as a tool to speak about deeper issues you care about. “We’re in a time where clothing is used as armor,” says Harris, “to protect ourselves, to feel better about ourselves, to belong. Part of my artwork is photographing people without their clothes on, surrounded by flowers. When you strip people of all the social signifiers of fashion, you really see them.” 

Maurice Harris Among Roses
Courtesy of Maurice Harris

Courtesy of Maurice Harris

With his art, his floral arrangements, and the coffee shop that he says brings his style to life, Harris’s goal is “to make beauty more accessible to more people.” He believes that everyone should be able to be surrounded by beautiful things, and that striving for that reality isn’t actually as shallow as it sounds. “It’s me trying to do my community service for the world.” 

Maurice Harris on a Floral Couch
Courtesy of Maurice Harris

Courtesy of Maurice Harris

Harris’s Instagram page is a real-time portfolio of his most recent work; check it out at  @bloomandplume

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