A look from Harris Reed's '...For Now, Unexplained' collectioninstagram/harris_reed

For many 2020 fashion graduates, an immediate launch into the public eye is the stuff of dreams. But for Harris Reed, who graduated from Central Saint Martins last summer, it was reality. Even before graduation, Reed had begun to make a name for himself as a designer for major celebrities and as a Gucci collaborator and model. At only 24, he has entered the fashion domain unabashedly confident and uniquely ethereal.

“It is neither wholly masculine nor wholly feminine, refusing to use naturally or immediately harmonious stimuli”

From 'Thriving In Our Outrage'instagram/harris_reed

An interview in Vogue to reveal a graduate collection is a sure-fire sign of a rising star, or a star already risen. The collection in question, Thriving In Our Outrage, epitomises just what Harris Reed, as both brand and creator, stands for. An amalgamation of crisp tailoring, floral flares, frothy blouses, cage skirts and Reed’s signature statement one-metre-brimmed hats, it is androgyny for the modern age, a refusal to be pigeon-holed into a singular category. The collection mixes bows and frills with 70s rock and Victorian crinolines which make Reed impossible to pin down with a single adjective. He has designed one collection since graduating, the six-look …For Now, Unexplained which assimilates ‘the anarchy of the punk movements’ with ‘the debutantes and their dressmakers who define Britain’s aristocratic past’. Juxtapositions such as these contribute to the fluidity of the brand. It is neither wholly masculine nor wholly feminine, refusing to use naturally or immediately harmonious stimuli; it instead gathers references from a broad range of spheres, resulting in revolutionary creations.

Harry Styles wearing Harris Reed for Vogueinstagram/harris_reed

Even those who have not heard of Harris Reed will have some awareness of his designs, as his work was worn in Vogue’s shoot of Harry Styles, seminal in itself as the magazine’s first solo male cover. Particularly noteworthy, however, were the gender-bending designs worn by Styles which elicited headline-worthy controversy. The designs in question included those created by Reed, who told The Observer that this was hardly a surprise to him: ‘the magazine came out in Trump’s America, you know?’, frustrated that a stylistic expression of flexible sexuality remains a cause of outrage. Reed’s professional relationship with Styles, arguably the catalyst to his success, stems from his time at Central Saint Martins. He was messaged by the singer’s stylist Harry Lambert with an elusive brief of Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix references. The client remained a mystery until a meeting backstage at a show, the very same day Reed was told by a teacher to drop out of college. The rest was history, with Reed going on to create several looks for the tour of Styles’ first album, catapulting him into public attention while still a student.

“Harris Reed as a brand becomes almost as much about the person as it is about the clothes”

Reed, as one of the first of Gen Z to break into the fashion industry, evidently has a keen awareness of how social media and technology can contribute to his brand’s success. On a basic level, the @harris_reed Instagram is just as much an exhibition of Harris Reed as an enthusiastic entrepreneur as it is of his brand; posts are often captioned with heartfelt confessions. Editorial photos and professional photo shoots jostle on the grid with touching iPhone photos of Reed clutching magazines he still cannot believe he is included in, or behind-the-scenes insights of half-finished creations on mannequins. More broadly, Reed is aware of adapting the traditions of fashion design for an increasingly digitalised age, admitting to Vogue how ‘the traditional fashion show is dead […] With TikTok and Instagram, people want to know what’s behind the curtain’.


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Harris Reedinstagram/harris_reed

By offering this distinctly personal lens through which to view the brand online, Harris Reed as a brand becomes almost as much about the person as it is about the clothes. It allows for a voice to be listened to as well as fashion to be aesthetically appreciated, and offers the opportunity to witness not just the growth of a brand, but also the growth of an individual. For a brand still in its relative infancy, to have gleaned this level of attention (Reed’s Instagram follower count, at time of writing, stands at an impressive 367k) is incredibly promising. Harris Reed establishing himself as a household name in the coming years does not seem like an unreasonable suggestion.