Our intention is to build a business centered around women with a strong sense of self. Designing a considered wardrobe, to serve their multifaceted lives.” When Sarah Harris and Lauren Tapper met at their former employer, they didn’t think of starting their own brand at all. Years later, their friendship grew, and so did their need to do things differently. It resulted in Harris Tapper – a fashion label championing women in their careers.
Cover image: courtesy of Harris Tapper
Harris Tapper – how it all started
Quiet tailoring and thoughtful sophistication are at the core of Harris Tapper – a young fashion label that designs for a multigenerational group of women; unwavering, forward-thinking and ambitious in celebration of their femininity. The brand emerged from a gap in the fashion industry, according to co-founders Sarah Harris and Lauren Tapper. Working as fashion professionals for years, they missed an approachable brand for the modern businesswoman on the go. Finding the right garments that would as effortlessly look great at dinner as at the office, seemed impossible. That is, until they started Harris Tapper. The former colleagues tell TTM everything about starting the label and what makes them really, really proud.
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You met when both working for a former employer. Did you always have the dream to start your own brand? And how did you decide to collaborate?
“Neither of us intended to start our own brand at all! Whilst working for a larger company we started noticing a gap in the market for directional shirting at an accessible mid-level price point and decided to start a brand dedicated to the perfect women’s shirt. What began as a conversation in the back of a taxi about the perfect shirt has expanded to a label and full collections four times a year with stockists in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK.”
“Whilst working for a larger company we started noticing a gap in the market for directional shirting.”Harris and Tapper
Harris Tapper started to fill the gap of affordable women’s shirting – since then it’s grown into a full wardrobe brand. How do you make sure that the same sense of “modern sensibility” is still part of every collection?
“There’s an autobiographical sense to our collections. It’s natural when you’re designing to imagine yourself in the clothes, especially as we’re consumers of our own brand. We’ll always retain the same sensibility as the beginning because it’s our body of work, it carries our point of view.”
Strong sense of self
You focus on women with a strong sense of self. How do you incorporate this in the collections? How does it influence the design process?
“Every season we don’t aim to offer something drastically different but to build upon the last. We offer the women who wear our clothes a wardrobe to serve their busy, multifaceted lives, rather than dictating current trends to them. Easy elegance, subversive femininity, and minimalistic sophistication are at the core of every piece we design. Each garment needs to work with others in the collection, as well as pair it back to the wearer’s pre-existing wardrobe. It results in a collection of pieces that aren’t traditionally trend-driven, but part of a lasting wardrobe.”
“There’s an autobiographical sense to our collections.”Harris and Tapper
Are there particular strong women who inspire you both?
“We’re both inspired by women around us and those who wear our clothes – colleagues, clients, friends, and family members who live busy lives with responsibilities, work commitments, and children. Their composure and attitude in everyday life are exciting to design for.”
The collections are based on wardrobe cornerstones. What are your personal favorite must-haves?
Lauren: “I wear black tailored trousers with a white button-down or black t-shirt every day. A great pair of trousers tailored to fit your body is something worth investing in.” Sarah: “I love everything oversized but I also value the art of tailoring and love the feeling you get when you put on a piece that fits you perfectly.”
What are you most proud of?
“How well we understand each other and value the other’s point of view. We’ve had incredibly exciting times in the last three years alongside lots of challenges and we continue to move forward and achieve our goals with each year passing. We’re proud to be available in Harrods and excited for what’s to come.”