We caught up with our friends from Harputs after their Paris A/W 2015 presentation to pick their brains on versatile design, influences and the newest, smallest member of the Harputs family, baby Frankie.
Tell us about how you started the concept behind Harputs Own. It's been going a few years strong!
We love designing and constructing thoughtful clothing that people live in. We wanted to make original, smart designs where one piece addresses multiple wardrobe needs, but we also create lots of simple, foundational clothing that is worn one way.
You have quite the gifted team. What are everyone's roles behind the brand?
Everyone does almost everything. We're a team of single-tasking, multi-talented people that can pick up each other's jobs and finish them off. Between us the team remains quite small and efficient.
Versatility seems to be a huge concept behind your brand. You've even come up with instructional videos! Is it difficult coming up with a product that can be worn in so many ways?
We like the conceptual idea of the end-user deciding at the moment how to decide to wear that piece--either in a more practical or a more aesthetically driven way. Small details like pocket placement, the addition of snaps, or the size of the armhole changes the shape or functionality of each piece.
What influences you and Harputs as a design house?
Our past pieces often influence us the most--we often use them as foundation for future projects, whether it's a different combination of fabrics, how we construct them, or knowing what doesn't work that we wouldn't do again. We're open to a lot, which is why our range and style is so wide. We are sometimes commissioned by private clients to make a piece we normally would not but that upon completion becomes us, or we become it.
You also do a lot of in-house, custom tailoring at your studio space. What is the craziest project that a customer has had you work on?
It's a tie between the Bichon Frise dog shirt complete with faux fur and the binding/blinding/gagging harness for a regular customer to use on her husband. We are working on learning to say no.
Gus and Robin, you recently had a son, Frankie. How has parenting changed Harputs design and brand?
Frankie came to work with us for the first 8 months of his life. We had to narrow our focus and work a lot smarter, since we were completely and happily distracted in a whole new way. He's shaped our long-term perspective and given us a more promising future.
How has living and working in the Bay Area influenced how you create things?
It's hard to determine how it could be any other way, since we've always been creating things here. San Francisco isn't the obvious choice to start a fashion business, but our network and understanding of the city is one of our best assets. Even though this is not an apparel manufacturing city, all the materials we need to make everything we make can be found amongst our local suppliers. We will see San Francisco become more of a fashion city in the coming years, thanks in no small part to the influx of new money. We are already seeing it happen downtown, finally, with the arrival of cooler brands like Margiela and Marni. We look forward to seeing more great independent boutiques open here, and that always shapes a fashion culture of a particular place.
We are excited to here that you showed Harputs at Paris! Are there other new developments happening with Harputs?
Paris was pure inspiration--the apex of contemporary fashion, with flawless street style, heavyweight designers, and of course perfect croissants. We love how Paris Fashion Week offered the chance to present a collection, a collaboration, and a party, all in unison. We like how that turned out, and are thrilled to bring that experience home. Our Autumn/Winter 2015 presentation at our home studio is a great opportunity to see what we do, learn more about upcoming collaborations, and share a drink with friends.
See their new Autumn/Winter 2015 presentation at their studio May 13, 6-9pm.