With an eye for style, and a lover of fine food, Sonja Morgan enjoys discovering the best that Philadelphia has to offer. Now with many friends and family in town, she enjoys spending time here as much as possible.
Having attended the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), she launched her fashion brand in 2015 called Sonja Morgan New York (sonjamorganonline). She has continued to hone her fashion prowess with gorgeous caftans, puffer jackets, plaid jackets, maxi dresses, and sunglasses.
In 2020, it was a dream come true for Sonja to join fashion companies including Balenciaga, Versace, Christian Louboutin, and Michael Kors to have her fashion clothes sold at the national retail store Century 21. “Having my clothing being featured at Century 21 stores was the perfect alliance for the Sonja Morgan New York after being sold online since 2014 on my website. (Having my collection at Century 21) gave customers the chance to feel the quality, fabric and fit of my clothes in an iconic American venue for designer fashion,” Morgan says.
With the recent bankruptcy filing and disappointing closing of Century 21 stores, her plan going forward is to continue selling her fashion, unisex perfume, and accessories via SonjaMorganOnline.com. Meanwhile, she will “continue to entertain the idea of other national retail outlets that match my brand ID.”
Her foray into fashion has also expanded into shoes with a collaboration with French Sole NY. Sonja’s line includes gorgeous black and red velvet loafers with the image of a stag from her Morgan family crest, leopard print flats, and patent leather heels.
These days, she loves exploring the incredible fashion and food establishments that Philadelphia has to offer.
As per a Tweet you posted, why do you consider Philly your home away from home?
My daughter is a student at a college in Philly, and I have many friends there as well.
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your daughter when you come to visit her here?
We are decorating her new apartment and really enjoying the experience. Also, just having staycations together away from NYC and experiencing Philly together for the first time.
Tell me about your philanthropy work in Philly and causes here that you support?
I have always spent time with the youth in the Gayborhood and supporting Pride for Philly. Unfortunately, Pride was canceled this past summer due to COVID. I also support Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and recently attended their yearly benefit gala as a special guest, meeting and greeting VIP supporters of the hospital.
Any favorite Philly music groups or movies set in Philadelphia?
Well, the obvious one is Philadelphia starring Denzel Washington. As a longtime advocate through charity and PSAs for those suffering from AIDS, I found it inspiring and eye opening.
What are your favorite Philly restaurants?
I love to brunch at the White Dog Cafe with my daughter and her friends. My friends enjoy Louie Louie. Who doesn’t? So classic and relaxing.
Since you are a master of creating dishes with a toaster oven—-please tell us the best and most delicious way to make a Philadelphia cheese steak using a toaster oven?
Very simple, same as you would in the big oven. However, I put the bun on the top rack with a smear of butter with the inside facing up to brown it. Delicious!
Talk about some of your Sonja Morgan New York brand fashion pieces that would be great for Philadelphians to wear on a date or a night out on the town?
My caftans for lounging at home, definitely my two-piece athleisure ribbed knit set for nice walks about town, and my puffer and Diamond Quilted wrap jackets. For dates, I have wonderful mix and match Sonja Morgan New York floral sets.
How has your time spent in Philly influenced how you’ve designed your fashion line?
Philly is a cross between London and New York City for me. My collection is a curated international fashion lifestyle brand. I definitely feel the old-world charm and the way one can easily walk around the city of Philly like one does in London, NYC, and other international towns.
What are your favorite retail stores in Philly and why?
DFTI boutique is fantastic because everything is priced so well and perfectly selected. Great buyer. The Indie Shelf has a super curated selection of indie beauty products and is a great secret spot. As a mom, I can’t live without Target. Philly has so many!
Any hidden gem(s) you’ve discovered here—stores, museums, restaurants, make-up artists, spas, etc.?
I prefer to live life in Philly like a local. I enjoy the piano bars, Four Seasons bar, the Bobby Mack & Co Hair Studio is THE best, and Rescue Spa.
Any plans to do a cabaret or stand-up show here?
I plan to do my comedy act in Philly with Improv Asylum as soon as possible. It has been delayed due to Covid. It was a success in NYC, so my next stops are Philly, Boston, and LA.
What is something you’ve done in Philly that you haven’t done or seen in NYC?
Well, Philly is extremely “foodie" as am I. I do love the Philly cheese steak as you know. Suraya, Talula’s Garden, and Barclay Prime are three of the restaurants which have blown my mind! They are really special to Philly.
Anything new and fun that you are working on in 2021?
I’m extending my Sonja Morgan New York shoe line and filming Season 13 of Real Housewives of New York. I am continuing my philanthropy. American Friends of Blérancourt (ABF) is my family’s charity, founded by human rights activist Anne Morgan. Of course, I will be coming to Philly every chance I get.
Any chance of you moving here and starring in a Real Housewives of Philadelphia?
Photography by: Courtesy of Sonja Morgan