Harris Reed has showcased his eye-catching sense of style as the cover star of a special collector’s edition of Harper’s Bazaar UK.
The British-American fashion designer, 25, who says he’s proud to be ‘weird’, has dressed everyone from Harry Styles to Emma Watson and Florence Pugh. He is known for his gender fluid designs, which can be worn by men and women.
‘Who is your most authentic self? For me, this is what gender fluidity is all about,’ he tells Harper’s Bazaar. ‘It’s a space where you’re not abiding by any societal rules of being a set gender with pre-empted expectations of who you should be.
‘I came out when I was nine, living in Arizona, and I was beaten up for it. I remember one day I wore a pink polo-shirt and everyone just stopped and stared at me: they all had a very visceral reaction that was either immediately aggressive or confused – or happy.’
The limited edition issue of Harper’s Bazaar has been released in honour of the V&A’s new exhibition, ‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear’, which features one of Harris’ creations.
Harris Reed, 25, (pictured) who grew up in Arizona, appears on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar UK’s special collector’s edition for the V&A
Harris Reed (pictured) stuns in a black and pink outfit teamed with platform boots as he takes inspiration from the romantic era in one of his signature designs
He added: ‘Hopefully, this exhibition is going to really make people think and go: ‘F*** it. We’ve been through this pandemic, we don’t want to be boxed into our apartments or boxed into our bodies. We want to explode! We want to express and explore.’
The designer, who has won praise from Solange, Ezra Miller and Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele, was still a student at London’s Central St Martins when he dressed Harry Styles for the first time in 2017.
His Instagram following jumped 100,000 in about an hour and it made people sit up and take notice.
‘It made my teachers at the time shut up about there being no commerciality in fluidity, and it stopped everyone calling me a costume designer or saying I had unrealistic dreams,’ he recalls. ‘It was like, “You know what? People are ready for change”.’
Harris’s (pictured) pink moiré outfit, which he created while studying at Central Saint Martins, features in the V&A exhibition
He draws inspiration from the likes of Michele, who described the people in his creative universe as ‘weirdos’.
Harris continued: ‘He made the word a positive thing, to say: “Be weird, don’t be normal.” It gave me so much confidence to see the beauty in being different and individual.
‘Every single day is a fight when you’re the outlier, but it’s worth the fight. It’s hard to hear things like: ‘Ew, that’s gross, why is there a man in a dress?’, or to make some people realise that wearing a blouse doesn’t mean that you’re anything more than someone who just wants to have fun with fashion.’
Harris Reed has been designing for Harry Styles (pictured) since the singer wore one of his designs on stage in 2017
The outfit that will feature in the V&A exhibition is a pink moiré ensemble Reed wore while still a student after found he ‘couldn’t find anything to wear that really reflected who he was’.
‘So, I created this pink moiré outfit with a puffed-sleeve blouse, amazing flares and a big lace and black velvet cravat,’ he continued.
‘I made it while I was probably eating chicken nuggets on the floor in my halls, and it has a cigarette burn in one of the sleeves, left by someone at a party hosted by Donatella Versace that I snuck into when I was 19.’
Harris Reed (pictured) hopes the exhibition will encourage people to explore and be more expressive after being boxed in because of the pandemic
‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear’, in partnership with Gucci and with support from American Express, is at the V&A (www. vam.ac.uk), from 19 March to 6 November. harpersbazaar.com/uk