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Fashion Designer Charles Harbison on the Books that Influence Him

Sep 6, 2021 | Fashion Blog

by Yahdon Israel

I am talking about the artists who came and continue to come to New York City hoping to not only find truth in their work but to create it. I am talking about the immigrants who left and are still leaving their home countries because they realized, some time ago, home has to be made elsewhere. I am talking about a romanticism born of desperation, how these forces conspire to turn multiple bodies into one. Many artists, like many immigrants, come to this city alone. Few have ever survived this way. Fewer want to. This, to me, is the promise of Smith’s epigraph: if you’re devoted to the truth of your body and the work it produces, you don’t have to do it alone. There is help beyond the horizon. The pursuit of this promise has taken fashion designer Charles Harbison over many horizons—painting, sculpture, visual arts. The first however, was books. I met up with Charles at Little Skips, a café in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn to talk about the books that have informed his aesthetic as a fashion designer, how he brings his readings of these books to the body, and why the clothes he creates for men and women—but mainly women—ultimately sing of God.

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