Harbison – From Research to Fashion

The fashion world has always been looking for new talents, but the desire for the new seems to be even more urgent today. While this offers numerous opportunities for upcoming designers – be it through awards, apprenticeships, or endorsements – it also gives them less time to build their own voice before being pulled into complex dynamics of commercial viability and production. It is obvious, thus, that this results in a frenzied fashion climate which, in the long run, risks of harming the creative aspects of design process. Shouldn’t spending time working independently be preserved and regarded as the true moment of development in fashion? For young talents, figuring who they want to be as designers, is central to how the fashion world will be shaped in the coming decades.

One brand that has embraced its research process successfully and found its own expression is the Brooklyn based label, Harbison. In just a few years Charles Elliott Harbison, the founder and Creative Director of the brand has created a design aesthetic that feels at the forefront of all that is interesting and cool. After studying fine arts, painting, and textiles at North Carolina State University, fashion at Parsons School of Design and holding internships at Michael Kors and Jack Spade, he started his own brand in 2013. During his studies, Harbison become particularly interested in the modern movement, a frame of reference that still holds a great impact on his design. In his A/W 2015 collection, colour contrasts have played an important role, both in more graphic patterns and in combinations of materials. Perhaps mindful of the Modernist maxim ”form follows function”, his silhouettes are clean, feminine and with a strong urban feeling. Taking time to understand who he is as a designer, has resulted in work that is clear in its conception and true in its references – as should any design product be before it reaches the final fashion judges – the consumers.

Hanna Cronsjö