H by Harris
H by Harris, chosen by Paul Smith
Tell us about suddenly being recognised on the British scene, it’s been a very fast few months for you no doubt.
Well, my brand launched in July, then the collection went out in September and then there was London Fashion Week, and Dover Street Market and Browns have recently stocked my stuff – so it’s been a very busy time! Browns actually gave me their LFW window display earlier this year, which was a massive coup for a solo, essentially fledgling, designer.
What was it that first inspired you to move into accessory design from architecture and interiors?
While I was studying interior architecture, my work was much more fashion-orientated than everyone else’s – so it was kind of obvious that it was going to happen. I’ve always looked up to designers such as Philipe Starck, Zaha Hadid and Marc Newsome – the kind of designers who apply their creative vision to anything and everything. I like to think that I can adapt myself across the spectrum – accessory design came as a bit of a bolt from the blue, but people loved it, so I’m running with it!
Tell us about your work as a stylist, does it inform your design process?
It definitely has informed my creative process. I’m always out and about seeing designer’s new collections – and from that you form your own ideas about what works and what doesn’t. Although I mostly style for music and TV, it’s still very connected to fashion. My process is very fluid, everything informs and becomes the final product – I don’t start out with an end product in mind.
Who would you cite as your key fashion world influences?
People like Junya Watanabe and Neil Barrett – I love Neil’s style. Comme des Garcons is also a massive influence, as is the work of designers like Margiela and Raf Simmons. They both have a very unique aesthetic stamp – there’s a definite style that runs throughout their work and every single element is carefully considered, which is a quality I’d like to evoke.
Where does the inspiration for your pared down accessory stylings come from?
Camouflage and the military is a big thing for me. The military seems to influence everything I do - from colour to texture. Solidity, beauty and simplicity are my key criteria when it comes to designing my pieces. I’m interested in shape as opposed to adornment. Simple design and simple shapes along with tactile materials are hugely important. It’s all about longevity, not just creating glossy untouchable items.
How would you best describe the British fashion industry?
London is really exciting at the moment. There are a lot off good new things making their way through, like menswear day at London Fashion Week – for me that’s something that definitely needs to be pushed further. The bigger brands tend to dictate too much and I think designers really need to take a more grassroots approach. It seems that the recession, in that sense, has helped things along – no one’s been able to rest on their laurels, which definitely makes things more interesting.
Who would you cite as your biggest inter-industry advocates thus far?
Browns, as I mentioned earlier, have been fantastic. They’ve always been very supportive, both in my guise as a stylist and as a designer. The photographer Donald Christie has also been very supportive throughout my career along with people like Paul Smith, who has been a real advocate of my accessories. I should also say B-Store, who I designed a range of bags for earlier this year – they’ll be in stores from early 2010.