“Off the screen and into the real world”: Fashion interviews independent young designer, Harriet Feldman

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Sitting down with the designer, director, and founder of Harriet Rose (independent fashion brand specialising in all things
corsetry) Harriet Feldman, I had the privilege of a first-hand insight into being a young designer. The entrepreneur, exhibiting an evident passion for corset design, business, and fashion, talked about her new brand. The ups and downs, challenges, experiences and, above all, what it is about setting up her own business that makes her get up in the morning. In
her own words, “when I talk about what I love, there is a fire in my eyes.”

Harriet is currently a student at university in Bournemouth studying costume design. “I did fashion design for two years and then changed to costume design. Everyone in the department was focusing on fashion – what is trendy, what is current. I, on the other hand, was just going back in time. I never knew, though, that I would end up wanting to do costume design! My biggest inspiration now is corsetry, which I absolutely love.”

When discussing the process of establishing a new brand, she puts her driving motivation down to a strong desire to
build a future for herself in entrepreneurship. “I am a broke student, but I have a passion and strong drive, and I
want to be an entrepreneur. I studied business at school, and I have always known that I want to work for myself. I
have always been very artistic, and art was my thing at school. So, last summer, I didn’t really know what I was doing but I set up a studio in my garage with old boxes, sewing machines everywhere, and I just started to make corsets for people,
and they really liked them. I only made one design, but people seemed to really like it! I have always been doing this, without even realising I had a business. I just put a name to it. I can’t get bored of corsetry. In my creative opinion, there is so much you can do with a corset – different panels, different fabrics, they look fabulous on everyone, and can be a massive part of body positivity”.

She adds, “that’s when I started to make costing sheets, invoices, and I was just learning the whole time. Fast-forward to the third lockdown which gave me one last push. I am still learning ways to organise myself, but I want to be busy and I want my days to be filled with things. Skills-wise, I learnt in college how to make corsets. My mum is also business-minded, and she has always pushed me. I have always seen her working for herself. I have always had business talk around me. I wanted to put my passion and drive to earn a living together and make a future for myself”.

A day in the life of this young entrepreneur, then? As a new business, she spends much of her time doing a lot of
fabric sorting – “I like my fabrics to be vintage. You have to find the right fabrics.” Of course, she enjoys the business
and admin side too and is currently working on setting up a website for her brand. “I spend most of my days building
things up to hopefully one day become something special.” The daily battle she faces comes in the form of a lack of understanding surrounding the bespoke industry, amidst the contemporary obsession with fast fashion. “My items are bespoke and when it comes to comparing with fast fashion, my customers struggle to understand what this means. It is hard to find a happy medium and target audience. I hope more people will adapt to this more eco-friendly way of fashion – we’re all learning. I think that this will just take time. It’s about word of mouth. I am also planning to smash the Tiktok audience! My corsets are not the same – I want them to be items people pass down to their daughters, pieces that pass the test of time.”

“Simply just seeing people in what I make is what drives me. Clothes are your voice before you speak! So much love goes into making the corsets, and then when I see someone wearing it and it fits perfectly, it really is the cherry on top!”

And in terms of long-term goals? Harriet explains, “my future goal is to be a bespoke bridal designer. Corsetry is an element of bridal wear. I love making people feel beautiful. It’s a cliché, but I love a big princess dress. My biggest inspiration is probably the recent Vivienne Westwood collection. Her dresses are gorgeous – that is my style through and through. I love a bit of a punky style, like from the 80s, and I could talk about it for days! I’d love to have my own studio and have brides come in to create one-of-akind dresses.”

Hearing herself referred to as a young designer surprised Harriet. “That makes me feel extremely motivated! On the flipside, being called as such is difficult today. A lot of more experienced people in the industry don’t have much faith in us, since there are so many young designers. I would like to create my own community in design of wonderful people wearing beautiful clothes.”

“At the end of the day, nothing in this world is original. There is possibility and originality in looking elsewhere. I like history, books, old archives of costumes, locations. When looking for inspiration, get off the screen and into the world.”

Find out more about Harriet Rose and the world of corsets at:
Instagram: @harrietroselondon
Tiktok: @hazfeldz

Images: Harriet Feldman

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