With the release of Harris Tapper AW23 just around the corner, we sat down with co-founders, Sarah Harris Gould and Lauren Tapper, to discuss the upcoming collection, their design process, and what this journey has meant to them.
Having backgrounds in buying, brand management, design and PR, this dynamic duo, teamed up to fill a void in the market for the working women of today. Taking a refined approach to the work wardrobe, Sarah and Lauren work together evolving their collections season on season, to deliver a modern take on workwear staples. They are meticulous in their tailoring and refining process, ensuring that every piece that is put out, is worthy of its place.
The Harris Tapper sensibility has always been understated, tailored and elegant. Each offering intends to balance consistency and sophistication with imagination and luxury, connecting the aspirational and the everyday.
Some of our references include film, art and architecture but we find the most inspiration from the women who wear our clothes and how they interpret our work in their daily lives.
Q: How would you describe your creative style?
Considered and intentional.
Q: How did you start your career? Was this always the dream?
Lauren: I am from a rural area in New Zealand. I loved fashion from a very early age. I studied Fashion Design at university and worked in various parts of the industry, such as Public Relations and Merchandising, before meeting Sarah and creating Harris Tapper. I have always loved beautiful design, which I think has driven my point of view and direction with our work. Our intention is to make beautiful, well proportioned, luxurious pieces that serves rather than dictates to women in their individual lives.
Sarah: I grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and studied design in Wellington then moved to London for several years working as a Buyer. I grew up in a family dynamic where the roles of both parents in the home and workplace were equal, this experience has shaped my perspective and informed what's at the core of Harris Tapper, championing women in their careers.
Q: What is your process, from concept to final product?
Lauren: It starts with a discussion on what we need from our wardrobes, and what we think the customer needs. Around this time references crop up - whether it be art, colour, films, architecture - feeding into our design process.
Sarah: Lauren leads the design from the concept stage and then we refine together. We go through previous styles from the past season and look at what needs to be re-worked. We then enter the sampling phase, which is a lot of back and forth with pattern makers and suppliers. We toile until the fit is perfect. Each piece that goes into the collection is meticulously curated and must earn its place. It has to offer a solution to the wearer and take the guesswork out of getting dressed in the morning.
Q: AW23, With a focus on the sense of touch and the emotive response we have - What can we expect? How do you want the intended wearer to feel?
This is subject to each person but we recognise there's a feeling when you come across a really well designed piece - it creates a physiological change, behaviour adapts, and hopefully the wearer feels more confident, more like themselves and stands tall.
Q: AW23, Do you have a favourite piece? Why?
Lauren: I love the Maurice Blazer. It has oversized proportions which work so well thrown over the most simple of outfits. It's made from a bonded suiting so has a great structure and durability to it.
Sarah: I love the Morning Shirt and Irving Trouser combo in Cedar Suiting. It's a much more relaxed alternative to a suit but still feels polished and refined.
Q: Are there particular tones you're gravitating towards for the next season?
Pale peach - it offsets really nicely with black - which is most of our wardrobe.
Q: What would be your dream piece to design? No limitations.
Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learnt so far in this career?
To trust your intuition, to only make pieces we ourselves want to wear.
Q: What's one thing about you that few people know?
Lauren: I practice yoga almost every day. I had a head injury a few years ago and I find it helps me to relax my mind, as well as ground my body. If I don't do it or take a few days off in a row, I feel so out of sorts.
Sarah: I am a quick decision maker, no matter how big or small.