The global fashion stage has its spotlight firmly fixed on London Fashion Week, which kicked off on September 15 and promises to dazzle until September 19. Some of the most renowned names in the industry, like Molly Goddard, Harris Reed, and Christopher Kane, are strutting their stuff on the runway, showcasing jaw-dropping creations. But, amidst these luminaries, there is a designer who is making waves all the way from Kerala, India. Meet Harikrishnan Keezhathil Surendran Pillai, professionally known as Harri. He is a trailblazing designer who is rewriting the fashion rulebook. This is not Harri's first rodeo; he made his debut at LFW last year. A BFC Newgen recipient, this time around he caused a sensation, yet again, with his signature piece – the classic balloon design in a riot of colours and shapes. What sets Harri's creations apart are the latex material, snug bodices, and those puffed-up bottoms. His models sashayed down the runway in black, white, neon, and beige, leaving fashion enthusiasts worldwide utterly captivated.
Harri rose to fame with his unique inflated latex pants. Even English singer and songwriter Sam Smith sported Harri's latex creations at the Brit Awards, catapulting Harri into the limelight. While the look is definitely standout, Harri's craftsmanship is what got him all the attention in the fashion world. On his website, he mentions blending traditional Indian woodturning, high-quality latex from Sri Lanka, and the finest Scottish wool in the creation of his pieces. Harri believes in stitching together different aspects of human culture, craft, and community as a starting point for a united world without borders.
Harri's journey began with an unusual muse – his dog's perspective. Imagining the world through his furry friend's eyes sparked a flurry of creative possibilities, many of which defied anatomical reality. This whimsical exploration led Harri on a quest to find a material that could bring those imaginative shapes to life, ultimately leading him to the world of latex.
Harri graduated from the Menswear MA program at the London College of Fashion in 2020. His graduation collection, titled 'Let's Put Him in a Vase,' instantly went viral and the rest, as they say, is history.
During the same year, Harri's talent was acknowledged with the PRACTICAL INTELLIGENT GENIUS FOUNDATION prize, a commendable initiative by Danish designer Henrik Vibskov. This award serves as a vital support system for nurturing creative talents and providing them with the financial means to further their artistic endeavours.
Amazed at his own achievements Harri said in an interview with Vogue, “I just find it very odd and sometimes funny that I come from a small village in South Kerala with no exposure to fashion. However, my dad used to do artwork for local commercials, which inspired me to sketch and visualise things from a very young age. In 2012 I enrolled at NIFT Bangalore as I wanted to get as far away as I could from my village. Right after graduation, I started assisting International Woolmark Prize winner Suket Dhir in New Delhi, which opened up many possibilities and learnings. A year later I accidentally got into the London College of Fashion while accompanying my best friend for her interviews. Fast forward, and now I make balloon pants for a living!”
Harri's journey is an inspiring one that honours Indian fashion traditions, textiles and craftsmanship.Comments