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As rising star Harris Reed continues to unfurl his bold vision, the designer delivered a standout London Fashion Week debut and continued to lead an important conversation around fluidity in fashion.
Reed’s six demi-couture looks launched on Instagram and were surrounded by bright lights — in hues such as burnt orange or deep purple. Over-the-top gowns and tailoring melded traditional menswear elements with fishtails or spray-painted tulle.
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“We really need to push this narrative in society of what gender expression is, and what breaking the mold looks like,” said Reed, who designed the dress Harry Styles wore on the cover of Vogue. He told WWD, “I’ve been fascinated by this idea of punk and rebelling. We’re in lockdown right now, everything is closed, so even getting a button requires jumping through hoops. It’s really been breeding this sense of rebelling inside of me.”
That rebellious spirit was also present in the updated H platform boots Harris created with Roker, the bespoke London shoe brand. (You might remember the boots from Miley Cyrus’ Rolling Stone cover story, where she posed topless in the crystal and patent-leather version. Cyrus was the first person to purchase the boots.)
Here, Alim Latif, founder and designer of Roker, talks about how the collaboration came about, the challenges of crafting bespoke shoes during a pandemic and the edgy update for this season.
How did you first start working with Harris?
“We were introduced by stylist Harry Lambert, who we worked with closely when we designed and made shoes for Harry Styles’ first tour. We specialize in gender neutral shoes, so Harry Lambert recognized the synergies between our work and Harris Reed. We worked with Harris for his graduate collection [at Central Saint Martins], and for a collection before that. So this is our third project together. Collaborating with designers like Harris allows us to push our practice further and in other directions. If you look at the boots, you will see the shape is based on our signature box toe boots and the lacing detail at the back is something we have done in other footwear we have designed and created.”
With an 8-inch block heel and 4-inch platform, how difficult was it to make these statement boots?
“We were already exploring the use of platforms in our Roker collections, but Harris insisted on a higher platform. The graduate collection was created last year during lockdown when everything was closed so we had to create everything by hand, with only one person in our atelier at a time. All the platforms and heel were made from what we had available in the atelier at that time.”
How did you evolve the boot for this season?
“We decided to explore different materials and hardware. For this season, we had time to get the platforms and heels made from specialized suppliers. We made six pairs and used black leather and hair on hide. Some of the boots had a mixture of studs, adding a certain edge to the collection. We employ a lot of hand-made shoemaking techniques, and these boots were no different. The studs were applied by hand and we lasted the shoes by hand. The boots took us two weeks to make because of the amount of work involved.”
— With contributions from Natalie Theodosi