Six years after putting the luxury fashion brand on hold, Charles Harbison resurrected Harbison Studio in 2022. And it’s already evident that he’s doing things differently this time. Charles Harbison Challenges Fashion Establishment, ‘It’s Bringing About Negative Outcomes’.
“I’m building a brand with more authenticity,” Harbison remarked in the most recent episode of the Glossy Podcast. “I’ve tried to do it before like everyone said I should. And it just was not for me.” Charles Harbison Challenges Fashion Establishment, ‘It’s Bringing About Negative Outcomes’.
Harbison found himself in charge of a fashion company in 2013, when he created Harbison Studio as a result of an unforeseen chain of events while between jobs: To avoid gaps in his portfolio, he designed and photographed a little fashion collection after working for names such as Michael Kors and Billy Reid for 7-8 years. He presented them to two advisors, who then showed them to Vogue editors, resulting in a feature in Vogue’s September edition and an order from Ikram, Chicago’s influential boutique.
“In some ways, the cart was before the horse,” Harbison stated. “I hate to say that because, in my perfect world, talent, craft, and a love of fashion is the horse. But in our world now, with fashion, money’s always the horse. And that is what I quickly learned over those two years of making clothes I love but not building a business.”
Harbison eventually opted to leave the company, which had already acquired followers such as Michelle Obama and Beyoncé. “I moved to L.A. to regroup and center my wellness, but the thing that never left me was that women love what I do,” he says. And there are so many people in the world who relate to it. [I knew that] one day, I’d return and resume my conversation with them through clothes.”
In early October, shortly after New York Fashion Week, Harbison met with Glossy to discuss his return to fashion. He advocated an active friends and family funding round and hinted at a new Bergdorf Goodman partnership. He intends to utilize the capital to grow his team and the brand’s product categories, which have lately expanded into jewelry and handbags, with shoes following.
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