• Fashion

Harris Reed’s Gender Fluid Fashion Sparks Dialogue

At 27, American-British designer Harris Reed keeps exploring the beauty of fluidity by producing conversational design pieces. For the creator, known for his flamboyant personal dress style and make-up, fashion is a truly innovative process and plays a determining role in creating a more gender fluid expressive world. Reed desires his work to start conversations and challenge traditional norms and ideas of masculinity. Through his platforms, he aims to benefit those seeking approval and self-esteem.

The child of British Oscar-winning documentary maker Nick Reed and Lynette Reed, a former American model, he grew up in the United States before moving to London seven years ago. His ability to quickly grasp the transformational power of clothing and its experimentation with identity and liberation quickly caught the attention of the fashion world.

In September 2022, Parisian fashion house Nina Ricci named Reed its new creative director, only two years after he graduated from the prestigious London Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, alma mater of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. Reed’s unique design choices feed inspiration from current social-political topics and builds his work around the discriminations that are happening within our society today, while staying true to the brand’s philosophy that strives for a vision of gender fluidity and inclusivity.

His sculpturesque shapes and extravagant creations have been seen on Beyoncé, Lil Nas X, Emma Watson, Miley Cyrus, Emma Corrin, Selena Gomez, Sam Smith and Olly Alexander. In less than a week, he created the much talked about and controversial outfit for Harry Styles, a custom-made Gucci tuxedo jacket with a lace ballgown, featured on the cover of the December 2020 issue of Vogue Magazine.

Grammy winning singer Adele took to the stage at “Weekends with Adele” in Las Vegas wearing his first look for Nina Ricci. A custom-made gown in black velvet, with circle sleeves in black tulle, bedecked with Swarovski’s.

 “I wouldn’t necessarily say this when I’m dressing Adele or Beyoncé,” Reed explained in Elle UK, “but I think the truth is a lot of my clothing is powered by the shame that queer individuals feel. I walk a fine line sometimes when I put a piece on a cisgender, straight woman. But, at the same time, I think it starts a conversation. A lot of my textures, colors and silhouettes are things that queer people would not feel comfortable wearing outside. I want to own the fact that I feel safe, so I have an obligation to push those levels of “extreme” because realistically I know it’s not gonna come back and punch me in the face. So, I’m going to make use of that safety to the best of my advantage.”

Also mentioning that he decided to keep his creative studio after he was offered the top job at Nina Ricci. “It’s raw, it’s messy, it’s f*cked up, it’s impulsive. I don’t report to anybody. It’s my dime, it’s my time, it’s my thing. It’s never more than 12 looks, really – all made-to-measure, all demi-couture. Nina is kind of similar. It’s a gritty, beautiful, fabulous kind of process, but what’s really amazing is that I now get to learn how you make ready-to-wear work for global consumers, and how you still translate morals and values that are important to you in that market.”