DSO: Can you tell us a bit about how Harris Tapper came to fruition?
LT: Sarah and I have both worked in the industry, while at uni and then after it - we’ve got nearly twenty years experience between us. I studied Fashion design at AUT University and paved my way at PR agency Showroom 22 before meeting Sarah when we were both working for the NZ arm of a global retail giant - I was in PR and she was the Brand Manager.
SHG: I studied graphic design and spent time as Brand Manager before moving to London and working as a Buyer for a big high street brand. Lauren and I met when I moved back to NZ. It wasn’t long before we started talking about launching our own label. From the outset, the conversation was always around creating pieces that transcended traditional boundaries between work and occasion-wear.
We both believed in the idea that clothes should last for more than one season and wanted to balance the idea of a wardrobe which was made well and served the busy, working women wearing it, rather than dictating down to her trends that only lasted a season. For us, it made sense to start small and build up, so we launched Harris Tapper focusing on only one item that we considered a fool-proof staple for any woman’s wardrobe: the shirt. Since then, Harris Tapper has organically grown to now offer full collections, that, while bigger, maintain the same philosophy we started with.
DSO: How would you describe your personal style, and how is this reflected in your designs?
LT: I think there’s a balance – I tend to feel that it’s necessary to look outside your own personal style when designing, you’re not just designing for yourself – but in saying that, you can’t help but have some autobiographical input into the collections, subconsciously or not. Personally, I tend to dress very minimalistic often gravitate towards pieces that work for many occasions, but have an interesting proportion or detail that’s interesting yet not obvious. This feels very complementary to Sarah’s aesthetic, I would describe her style as more eclectic yet meticulously edited, and sophisticated. We balance each other nicely – and I think it’s clear to see that influence in our collections.
DSO: What are 3 staples a ‘career-woman’ must have in her wardrobe?
LT: A really well-cut blazer, a matching trouser and a perfectly proportioned, yet slightly oversize shirt in a machine washable fabric. It is worth taking these core pieces to a tailor to ensure the fit is perfect. Harris Tapper is designed for women with a strong sense of self, and the women who wear our clothes are globally-minded, intelligent and career-driven, so we always take the parameters of the modern working environment into consideration when we sit down to design our collections.
SHG: Beyond that, we just really want women to feel like they can wear Harris Tapper and express their own self in a way that’s elegant and poised, yet with practicality and ease. It’s a reimagining of the professional wardrobe in a way that makes it more-or-less interchangeable with the personal one — which is something we see women wanting more and more.
DSO: If you could choose one hero piece from The Mode Edit, which would it be and how would you style it?
LT: Definitely the Tabi Blazer. I wear mine all the time.
SHG: The Sofie Skirt and Top is incredible easy to wear. The perfect combo to make a statement but can also be more understated under a blazer or jacket.