Designing his future
Fashion started for Andrew Harris from an early age.
“I would say I grew up in a very fashionable home. My parents were always well put together, especially since they played a vital role in the body of Christ as ministers. Also, my early teens were spent modelling, so it was like one thing led to another.”
Andrew, born in Guyana, is formally trained in fashion, doing textile designs and fabric construction at the E.R. Burrowes School Of Arts, Guyana. With this he is able to make his fabric “original”.
“It may look all glamorous but it’s hard work and a whole lot of sacrifice,” says Andrew of the fashion industry.
“I decided to start my own line after realizing designers never really place much attention on the guys, fashion show are always overloaded with women’s wear while guys just fill in.
That is when I decided to dedicate a full line of clothing to men which embodies masculinity and that sharp sense of stylishness.
Andrew, who is busy cutting, stitching and tightening up his new line for this month’s Barbados Fashion Week extravaganza, gets his inspiration from so many things: “One time I was passing a construction site and that inspired my Man Power Collection. Of course celebrities, nature and so on [inspire me], but I try to keep always from the usual. I follow lots of international designers who have strong men lines.”
He likes to see men in well-tailored clothing and colours.
Andrew is a fabric shopaholic and likes cotton, linen and drill as his must-have choices. His workshop is never without fabric, as inspiration could hit anytime. He likes to produce quality clothing – “that’s why I try to use really good fabrics and pay close attention to my details and finish.”
It takes a couple of hours for Andrew to construct a garment “that my wearers feel exclusive in”.
Regionally, Andrew is a fan of Millhouse and Barbadian designer Rosca McDonald, while internationally, Kenneth Cole, Ralph Lauren and Paul Smith “are just my dudes”.
Andrew, who went to school in both Guyana and Barbados, moved here to live with his parents and relates that he honestly never really had a bad experience where his nationality was used against him, as he tries to maintain healthy relationships with people he works with.
Andrew won Young Designer Of The Year 2008 – Guyana, and Caribbean Fashion Award Most Promising Designer 2010. He says the most difficult aspect of running your own label is doing it without an investor.
A self-proclaimed magazine junkie, fashion-blog follower and Youtube viewer, Andrew says it is important as a designer to keep up with fashion trends “but I play it by my own rules as well”.
For a “seasoned” designer, Andrew confesses to “always being nervous” for every runway show he has done, “since I want everything to go as planned and executed to perfection; but all in all, it is a pleasing feeling to see my collections on show”.
What do you think about the size issue in fashion,
I asked. “I think girls need to find agencies who can represent them regardless of body type since there are designers like Kimora Lee Simmons who prefer a more curvy model.
“Full-figured models are also making a great impact, so there is hope for that woman who is not a size 0-2 as it relates to finding a job.”
If you could choose one colour to design with for the rest of your career, what would it be and why? Oh GOSH!! If that was the case I don’t know how I would deal with it, it would be so boring. One colour?? I would do something else”, he said, laughing.
For Andrew, he sees himself taking a bigger bite out of the fashion pie. “I’m about to expose my make-up artistry side. I’m also working with the Work The Runway committee for Toronto’s Summer Fashion Weekend 2012.