You may not know Charles Harbison by name (yet) but you definitely know his designs. Remember that bold look Beyoncé wore to the Yeezy Season 1 show? Or how about the cleavage-baring look Queen Bey wore to the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight last May? That killer coat her sister Solange loved so much she didn’t care if she went full-on biter and wore it just a few weeks after Bey did? All created by Charles Harbison. The designer sat out New York Fashion Week this season (it was a “a really hard pill to swallow” he says), but he’s not slowing down. At all. I should know. Last month I caught up with the young designer in his Lower Manhattan studio to learn more about his story, his offbeat inspirations, and his reaction to being tapped to work with both Beyoncé and Michelle Obama in the same year. Tell us about Charles Harbison.I’m from a small town called Lincolnton, North Carolina. It’s like in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I grew up an intense, country boy who loved sports—my father played football in college and then played briefly professionally for the Buffalo Bills, and then went into coaching—so that was a big part of my life. But, I was also very artistic. I loved to color, I loved art—my creative self was where I experienced escape. I went to North Carolina State for undergrad and I initially studied architecture as a fusion between my intellectual and creative sides but then quickly found out that it was heavily skewed toward my intellectual self. I wasn’t able to be creative in those first few years of architecture, so I switched out and took on a fine arts and painting degree and a textile chemistry degree so I could have a B.A. and a B.S. to kind of satisfy my parents.
Discover fashion and accessories
from the Capsule 01 Collection
Want to hear about new and exclusive releases?
Sign up for our newsletter and stay informed.