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Leathers in the Lab
Open Circle Lab
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Central Saint Martins
Thriving in our outrage
A homage to the fluid and flamboyant.
In the equivalent of a big show, shaped up and redefined to his own digital platform, Harris presented his graduation collection on the 22
of May 2020. Seeking authenticity, challenged by pandemic times, his final presentation became the ultimate global introduction to the world of Harris Reed.
“Do we express ourselves because we are angry? Does outrage breed the outrageous? Without outrage for change, where does one find their strength to make a
push towards difference?”
Half-American, half-British Harris Reed designs to create conversation. Underlining the importance of gender fluidity and inclusivity, Harris redefined personal expression via the transformative power of clothing. The way he has worked towards the final presentation of his Central Saint Martin graduation collection was nothing less than the unconventional.
A suit that fits Harris well.
“I was only able to make this work together with the help of 12 other individual creatives in total. Young people, fellow students, still unknown, willing to work together virtually – creating an escapism in crazy times.”
For Reed, fashion is truly revolutionary, playing a huge role in pushing the world to a more expressive and accepting place. His choice of digital presentation, allows him to share his personal visionary values, to help those seeking acceptance and self-love.
Fashion over art
Reed’s collection explores the idea of performance, opulence and self-expression as a daily ritual of our modern lives. Growing up with parents focused on education, Harris calls his collection’s reference to history accidental. “I feel inspired researching the evolution of masculinity and what it looked like back then. Frills, bows, and opulent decadence, without becoming a costume. These days we’ve flipped to fashion and identity revolving around what is called streetwear. With times changing and the definite need for change the way we approach each other, there’s a beauty and history thread to pull to today.”
Times are changing. Existing in an era of debate pushed Harris to think ahead, designing for the person of tomorrow. It seems people have grown to re-appreciate the originality and preciousness of it.
“The psychology of fashion, through what you put on your back is about making a statement, whether you know it or not, we live our everyday lives in it.
When going to an exhibition you are prepared for what you’re going to see. There is safety in this. Fashion is something more unprepared. When I’m selling my clothing it’s something one of a kind you can feel fabulous in.”
Talking about his inspiration and thoughts behind this collection we asked Harris how materials, specifically leather, influenced the final design and realization.
“I’m a very instinctive person. When creating the ultimate statement, I feel attracted to anything that has dimension and depth to it. For this collection I felt inspired by ECCO Leather’s youthful take on colours and textures, in search of forward thinking companies to work with. Going through the leathers, the metallics and subtle 70ies inspired shine, I could only imagine the possibilities, thinking this leather is so what it needs to be right now. There was no-one else out there that was able to do this. It felt very aligned with the collection. Making it of the now.”
Working with leather means allowing a design to be shaped up by its material. Because of the leather’s specific character, the slope of the booth had to be rethought to get the right feeling. The boots are a major collage of material, influenced by the interaction between design and leather.
“For example, there is some much dimension going on in your marbled leather. I really want to explore what leather would look like in headwear. If there’s a way to make leather that would just stay in shape.”
Reliable and everlasting
Taking into account a political and social point of view, we’ve asked Harris about his opinions regarding leather being a controversial material to some. The early connection to leather and the brand ecco was already established by Harris’ father being a fan of the brand. Furthermore, his awareness was pointed out once more to ECCO Leather because of
and her leather selection for her intricate tops. “The second I saw these colours, I felt the connection again. My dad only wore ecco shoes for its high quality and great performance. It’s this thing we always made fun of and in return he’d always made fun of him wearing anything else.”
His future endeavors are naturally influenced by the ongoing change that has accelerated over the past months. Establishing a 2020 fashion brand is different from what it used to be. To top this off, Harris’ signature is to be recognized by his hand made collections. Quantities are low and made to measure, bringing back the art of signature pieces that last a long time together and are worthy of carrying over within friends or family.
Every new day will help define what the future will look like. Fashion became commercialized, eager to feed people’s desire to be part of a group. Naturally, brands and people started to look alike.
Harris’ designs relate to the need to change the way we behave in general with the desire to push for fashion to become an authentic way of expressing yourself. The role of future materials as part of this development is key and will be visible through Harris’ future plans to upscale the amount of leather experimentation in his work.
“I will continue to partner up with people and creatives with shared brand ethos. People are very nervous about the state of the total industry. I think we all recognize the need to tone down, make conscious investments and loose the overruling focus by commercial only gain. I still feel blown away by what I have been able to accomplish with very little. And I firmly believe this is the future.”
HARRIS REED WEBSITE
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