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Fierce LDN: H By Harris

On the fourth day of Planet Notion’s look into accessories and their importance within the fashion industry we talk to menswear accessory and bag designer H by Harris. Creating his own laptop satchel in 2007 from spare leather, causing a joyous stir among fashion colleagues and clients, Harris Elliot went on to form H by Harris in 2009.

A stylist and creative director, Harris has a unique perspective on design, with the innate ability to absorb, criticise and observe all around him, Harris can create in an extremely appealing and aware manner. With clean lines, colours and signature leather quilt, H by Harris is desired by everyone man or woman.

PlanetNotion: Accessories are important in the completion of an outfit and allow for a lot of personal self-expression. Can you describe your aesthetic or design ethos?

Harris Elliot: The H by Harris ethos is luxury fatigues that are military inspired luggage, tactile, functional, simple understated luxe.

PN: What inspired you to become an accessory designer rather than apparel?

HE: I eventually want an easy life and designing apparel collections is a mammoth task – not that accessories are easy, no! But I wanted to work on something that became like creating new product designs – think of classic furniture by Vitra, Eileen Gray or Mies Van der Rohe, created yesteryear but still relevant today. With accessories the opportunity to have longevity with your designs is way easier than with apparel.

PN: There is a timeless quality to accessory design that other clothing items don’t share. Is that an element included in your design and construction process?

HE: Deffo, the world has changed and will continue to do so at an alarming rate. The notion of always buying and selling seasonally is antiquated because most people don’t live like that. If you can create collections and designs that out last the season then that means in two years time someone can buy your work and that it’s not reached it’s sell by date before time.

PN: Detail is very important in accessory design and its beauty – is that something you enjoy in your design creation?

HE: My details are simple. My friend Mr. Hare called his first collection Purest Form, which I think is a brilliant name for a collection, ultimately that’s what I aspire to create, pure forms with integral details.

PN: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

HE: Currently I’m working on some furniture with a friend of mine Sean Cochrane and it’s to be launched next year. It’s military infused as you would expect, but this time combining vintage frames with a contemporary aesthetic, revisiting some design classics with a twist.

PN: What kind of men do you ideally see wearing your designs?

HE: The ideal H by Harris male is a Michael Fassbender or a Pharrell – two types of cool.

PN: What is your favourite piece from your current collection and can you explain why?

HE: My current fave is the iPad case that I created for GQ – simple, stylish and not a zip in sight.

PN: What part do differing types of materials play in your design evolution? Do you experiment with various kinds of leather and fabrics?

HE: Until now 98% of the brand has been leather. I created some neoprene and leather samples for SS11 and whenever I wear one of those samples someone always comments. I’m looking to experiment with various new materials for the coming seasons. I would love to spend more time creating new fabrics or the development thereof.

PN: How important are accessories in your own style?

HE: Footwear is probably top of the list. My favourite shoes nearly every season is a pair of B store shoes, although currently I can’t live without my cherry red DM cappers and a pair of Bottega two tone brogues.

PN: What gives you your initial ideas and inspiration every season? How do you translate your vision into realised items?

HE: My inspiration gathering starts in July at various military fairs and this provides the framework for thought for the year. I’m always watching what people are wearing or what they are lacking. I then design for that need, so it is something that will click into place once I’ve finished people watching.

- Kathryn Duncan

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