The Banana Republic x Charles Harbison Collection Is Finally Here, and It's Jaw-Dropping!
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Harlem's Fashion Row, an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for BIPOC designers, has partnered with Banana Republic to launch a sustainable design competition, and this year's winner is architect turned fashion designer Charles Harbison. For the New York-based artist, it's a very momentous announcement. Having worked in the fashion industry for years, Harbison told Yahoo, he had sworn off competitions and vying for money and significance in those platforms. "I had really grown quite disillusioned. I felt that I was overlooked a few times for things that we were quite set up to win. Judges would even come to me to tell me that, and to inform me about politics that were outside of my knowledge that we're determining a lot of those decisions," Harbison said. Fast forward to present day, and this win feels like a full-circle moment as Harbison previously worked at the national retailer for three years.
Enter Banana Republic x Harbison, a limited-edition, sustainable collection that makes use of organic materials, natural dyes, and limited water production. The guiding principle of Harbison as a designer is inclusivity. As he told POPSUGAR, "I'm not just looking to work for men, or work for women, or work for nonbinary people. I'm also seeking for my apparel to work for short people, to work for curvier people, to work for really tall people. And so there's a space of dressing that is so democratic and inclusive and it's also an age-old sentiment . . . Harbison is there to give you a product that reflects that."
Inspired by the idea of the modern heirloom, the collection presents an array of colorful pieces that integrate Harbison's themes of community, mentorship, legacy, and interpersonal connection. This partnership is a concrete example of how major industry players can champion BIPOC designers while being conscious of the planet. Scroll on for our favorite pieces from the collection.