Designer Carly Harris and her cat. Image supplied.
Designer Carly Harris has been making clothing for her eponymous womenswear brand for twenty one years this year with the label expanding down to Wellington where the brand’s current boutique is. Carly runs the business in partnership with her mother Christine Harris who runs the Wellington store while making artwork in her spare time that is also sold in the store. Carly designs every piece of clothing from her workroom in Auckland and is proud that her designs are 100% New Zealand made.
We caught up with Carly to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
We have never really worked with collections as such, more like an ongoing range – from the start I’ve had designs that become popular and customers come back for more than one of the same dress/design but in a different print or colour. As time has gone by we have dropped designs for a while due to demand of other styles , then return them a few years on..
What made you become a designer?
My height . I’m 5 foot and when I started there was never any clothing that suited my frame. My first creation was a two piece – a bias cut cowl neck dress and pj style pants with a drawstring waistline. Both were made from vintage saris. This for me was flattering on my figure and very comfortable, I had so many compliments that I decided to make a rack of these two designs and sell at the Grey Lynn festival – this was in November 1998! Before making my first range to sell at the Grey Lynn festival I had completed a six month pattern making and garment assembly course at AUT.
Designs by Carly Harris.
What inspires you?
At present I’m inspired by my past designs. For example – my Belladonna wrap slip was first designed in 2002. About 5 years ago I felt it was time to revisit this dress, I changed the pattern a little and tweaked it to work with the current fabrics we were purchasing. All my designs available now are have evolved from earlier prototypes reflecting my signature style.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
COMFORT! Everything I design and make must be comfortable. I love to layer, I love ease around the body and colour – lots of it!
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
Good walking shoes.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
I haven’t a style rule. I personally dress for comfort, work, the weather and my body shape.
Designs by Carly Harris.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Being self employed and raising my two sons (Riley, 14 and Miles, 6)
What can’t you live without?
My fur family. We have 4 cats (3 Maine Coons) and a chihuahua.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
I never say never… but probably crocs.