Harris Reed has the kind of energy you wish you could bottle up and save for a rainy day. After just a few minutes of discussing Zoom, there is already a remarkable sense of familiarity – as if I’ve known the designer for years. The 25-year-old is both interesting and interested, speaking with contagious confidence and enthusiasm – their red hair and numerous jewels parading across the screen as they gesture. It comes as no surprise that Reed is adorned with jewelry, given that they’ve just stepped into the jewelry world for the very first time.
“I love jewelry the same way I love makeup,” Harris tells me. “In a second, I can take it all off, put it in my bag, then put it all back. Jewelry has this transformative power.
Much like everything the designer turns to, a new collaboration with fashion-favorite jewelry brand Missoma has sprung up in the most organic way, as have Reed’s previous partnerships with artists such as Harry Styles and Solange.
“I was at a dinner party one night and the CEO and founder of Missoma was there [Marisa Hordern] and we talked for several hours about our love [for] and the obsession with jewelry and beauty, ”Reed tells me. “We almost closed the deal on the spot. She asked me: ‘Do you want to make jewelry together?’ And I said, ‘Fuck yeah.’ ”
One thing that made the partnership a no-brainer for Reed was Missoma’s reputation. “I obviously knew Missoma because she is an essential element in people’s lives; everyone has a Missoma channel so I knew the quality was there, ”they explain. “Marisa really understands what I want to do.”
Reed’s love for jewelry dates back to learning to walk and speak. “I have always been obsessed with the idea of being decked out with second-hand finds, as well as jewelry from my grandmother and my mother. I could barely crush my fingers on the sewing machine that I wore so many rings.
In fact, it is these very pieces that inspired this new collection. “I’ve been wearing this ring on my finger since I was four,” they tell me, giving a show-and-tell style presentation of their jewelry. “This is from a flea market in Paris, it is sort of falling apart and has parts missing, but throughout my designs I refer to intricacy, detail and stone. labradorite. It happened unconsciously, I didn’t even realize it.
“I always wear that thin bracelet from my grandmother,” they say, shaking seriously stacked wrists. “I’ve moved 30 times, left America and came to the UK to really start something on my own. This is why I love jewelry, because you can always have these ornate and beautiful pieces with you forever, wherever you go.
Reed’s design aesthetic is best described as fluid romance with a modern twist. And, when it comes to jewelry, there isn’t too much; layering is highly encouraged and all pieces are designed to be mixed and matched. This is maximalism at its best.
“Jewelry is great for experimenting and is the best way to showcase your identity. You can have fun with it and see what is comfortable for you. If you are in a situation where you feel too much you can easily take a piece of the tube out and put it back on when you get to wherever you are going, ”they laugh. “It’s a really easy and fluid way to play with your identity, the way you want to express yourself and present yourself to the world. “
This is the message behind everything Reed does: It doesn’t matter who you are or what your style is, as long as you are your most authentic self. “I believe you have to dress for yourself first and then other people will notice it,” they tell me. “There is nothing better than dressing up and feeling great and then going out and making everyone smile. They appreciate that you are the most authentic with yourself. If we dress for other people, we are probably looking for approval or looking for something.
And don’t even mention the idea of following any kind of fashion rulebook. “I’ve always stacked jewelry because it looked like me, but if it doesn’t look like you, that’s okay.” Layer it your way or wear one piece as a statement; it’s really “do it for you”. If you are feeling good then you are doing it right no matter what anyone else says.
Of course, get dressed exactly how you want (no matter how daring that can be), can be a daunting prospect. Getting out of your home without hesitating to step out of your comfort zone is much easier said than done, so how can you express complete confidence when you feel the opposite?
“My favorite thing to do is dress with friends right at home having dinner and having a cocktail,” Reed laughs. “Make sure you do it in a safe space where you feel comfortable. You will be making a lot of “mistakes” in terms of things going wrong and that’s okay. It’s a lot to step out of your comfort zone, so doing it with friends helps.
But even those who are as flamboyant as Reed sometimes feel the need to tone it down. The designer spent confinement dressing in clothes bought at flea markets and taking Polaroids of themselves at home, while going out in head-to-toe sequins didn’t quite seem like it appropriate. “Even for me as the person who dresses me all the time, it was too much, so it was a very comfortable way for me to walk around doing housework, dripping my grandmother’s pearls and wearing an oversized faux fur coat, ”they laugh. . “It’s important to feel comfortable in an intimate environment with friends or alone – it makes jumping on the metro, going to Tescos, or having a fabulous night much less intimidating.”
As was the case with many, the pandemic allowed Reed to slow down and reflect, the results of which are evident in the care taken with the Missoma collection. Harris designed and created the line while on lockdown, which means there has been a welcome change of pace. “I had so much time when normally things were rushed, so I had more time for the collection to breathe and to consider things like packaging and intricate details,” they explain. “I hope people keep this attention and look at what they’re buying instead of clicking on everything. Before the pandemic, everything was fast-paced, crazy, trend-driven and [everyone was] dress like everyone else. It’s been a big reset.
So what change does Reed want to see in consumers and industry, as a result of the events of the past 18 months? “We need to focus on buying less and investing in what is right for you rather than feeling pressured to be someone else. People are more authentic to themselves because they have time to achieve what they want.
They stop. “For me personally, it’s about not giving a damn about what people say and not caring about what people think about me and my body. We’ve been stuck at home reflecting and getting into who we are, so I think that keeps moving forward. After nearly two years of the pandemic, we all crave a little decadence and inspiration.
“I live my truth, walking the streets on my jeweled platforms, knowing that I am making change and a safer space for everyone to come out and be who they want to be.”
The Harris Reed x Missoma collection is available now here.