- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
Tottenham-born fashion designer Ricky Wesley Harriott has been hailed as one to watch amongst Britain’s emerging talent, for his namesake label ‘Wesley Harriott’ and he returned to London Fashion Week today, February 18, to showcase his autumn/winter 2019 collection ‘Sixth Rank’.
Harriott, who has become known for championing feminine androgynous silhouettes within his deconstructed multifunctional designs, launched his womenswear label in 2016, and has since gone onto win the Asos Fashion Discovery Prize last year, as well as dress a host of celebrities including SZA, Lady Gaga, Jorja Smith and Kylie Jenner.
For autumn/winter 2019, the British emerging designer has been inspired by what he calls the “captivating” story of the Empress, Dowager Cixi, where he has interpreted her beauty and sexuality, as well as her duty as a leader within the black and white pieces featuring strong silhouettes where decadent shoulder padding has been used to announce a presence of importance alongside the contradicting, boxy shapes.
Harriott’s tailoring is the focus of this collection with masculine suiting fabrics defined with draping and structure, while the trousers unzip and drawstring to allow a “self-styled approach” and the shirts were decadent and oversized with statement cuffs and utilitarian detailing.
The concept of multifunctional continues for autumn/winter with a number of pieces offering multiple forms and utility such as the padded belts and the kilts that have detachable sleeves, which the brand states “captures the arms of the wearer who wishes to keep her stance poised amidst her girlish guise”.
Five Minutes With…Ricky Wesley Harriott of brand Wesley Harriott at London Fashion Week
Following Ricky Wesley Harriott’s autumn/winter 2019 presentation during London Fashion Week, FashionUnited caught up with him to find out about the inspiration behind the collection, what to expect from the label in the next 12-months, as well as his top tip for future fashion designers stating out.
What’s the inspiration for your autumn/winter 2019 collection?
Ricky Wesley Harriott: “I think with this collection you see my aesthetic very clearly. I have been really militant in following my instinct and only that, which sounds like something that should be a given, but it’s so easy to become diluted by what you feel is expected of you.
“This collection is so whole heartedly me and I’m really excited about that. I read a lot during the making of this collection. I came across the story of the Empress Dowager Cixi. Her story was incredibly compelling and dynamic and her juxtaposition within being a powerful figure and a women was a narrative I often address when I design. This season, led down that path with her in mind as a starting point.”
What’s so special about showing during London Fashion Week?
“I am a London boy, it’s my home so I feel passionate about representing myself where I feel at home. I think London is one of the greatest if not the greatest city in the world. I am so proud to be able to showcase my work here.”
If not London, then where would you rather be?
“If I was to leave London I would want to be in Tokyo. I love it there and have always really loved exploring Japanese culture.”
Can you describe who the ‘Wesley Harriott’ customer is?
“My target customer is whoever enjoys what I do. The women/person I design for hasn’t a particular physicality, it’s more a feeling. I don’t like the idea of seeing only a certain person in my garments, as that can be limiting.”
What are the goals for your label in the next 12-months?
“I want to be present in more stores. For me at this point in my career, having my garments out there is my number one priority.”
One piece of advice you’d give a student fashion designer starting out?
“Before you start be certain in who you are and what you have to offer a very crowded room.”
If you wasn’t a fashion designer - what would you be?
“I always have liked the idea of being a writer, I find writing very freeing.”
Who are you looking forward to seeing this fashion month?
“I really like Asai. His work is brilliant, super excited to see what that brand does next!”
Ricky Wesley Harriott portrait courtesy of the brand / Presentation images: by Danielle Wightman-Stone, FashionUnited