Harris Tapper co-founders Sarah Harris Gould & Lauren Tapper on designing for the modern career woman
Meet our newest addition to the Public Figure community; co-founders of New Zealand brand Harris Tapper, Sarah Harris Gould and Lauren Tapper. Always forward-thinking, Sarah and Lauren champion the modern career woman's multi-faceted approach to life through considered fashion. Exuding a strong sense of self and a spirit of modern sensibility, Harris Tapper fuses soft feminine silhouettes with elegant tailoring. Here we discover the trials and tribulations of designing a new collection during lockdown, the hurdles in sustainable growth for small businesses and the importance of supporting local.
What is the inspiration and objective behind your latest 'Self Portrait' collection?
Self Portrait was designed during New Zealand’s nationwide lockdown, so naturally it was a very different process. We were separated and only able to talk over Zoom or phone which had its challenges because it's a very collaborative process. The collection really flowed from themes of isolation, self-reflection and surveillance. It was such a surreal time for everyone and the expected self-reflecting many people did during the lockdown is echoed in the way the collection is documented by model, photographer and cinematographer Veronica Crockford-Pound. Veronica is woman we admire with an established career and embodies the Harris Tapper woman which we felt was important in order carry the depth of the collection. She was shot whilst simultaneously photographing and filming herself on a Super 8 motion picture camera and 35mm film.
What is your favourite piece from the Harris Tapper x Public Figure edit?
The Wes Shirt. Our foundation is in shirting and we both feel it’s the cornerstone of a modern wardrobe. The Wes Shirt is a mix of satin twill and organza, so it has such a soft structure. It also comes with a waist tie so once it’s cinched in at the waist it looks so feminine and soft.
What qualities of the modern career woman do you aim to target in your design?
Overall, a strong sense of self. Modern women's lives are so busy and we are trying to offer pieces that champion her independence and support her decisions.
Describe the meaning and importance of your 360 approach to design.
We are designing considered wardrobes to serve our women’s multi-faceted approach to life. This includes work, but also home, evening, travel, being a parent - the list goes on. We are seeing these women integrate their personal and professional lives so much more. Having a 360 degree approach ensures we support her life fully, not just while she’s at work.
What is your favourite way to style a classic tailored shirt?
It’s one of the easiest pieces to work into any situation. We both prefer an oversized fit and love to push the cuffs up to our elbows. We both wear a shirt almost everyday with a great pair of pants making it easy to go from work to nearly any occasion without having to run home to change.
How do you incorporate sustainable practices in your work?
A portion of our pieces are made from end-of-line fabrics, meaning they have been discarded by other companies or mills, and would otherwise go into landfill. We also use a portion of natural fibres such as silk and cotton. To be completely transparent, one of the biggest hurdles in sustainable fabrics is minimum order quantities. We’re constantly working to find new suppliers and factories which support sustainable growth at the early stages of a business - we’re just under three years old. We have big goals to find a balance between environmentally friendly practices and sustainable business decisions.
With the unexpected events in 2020 what challenges and / or opportunities have you faced?
Working over Zoom on lockdown was a challenge as our work is very visual and tactile. We take our hats off to any working parents - it’s near impossible to parent and work simultaneously! With opportunity locally we are feeling a sense of optimism and support after coming out of two lockdowns.
What change do you want to see in our industry?
What can we expect to see from Harris Tapper in the future?
Growth! We have big goals. Stay tuned.