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H by Harris Anniversary Film

The lux bag designer Harris Elliot celebrates his first year of business with Fixed, a bike inspired film made by Manny Bonett

A year ago, after styling musicians like Mark Ronson and Kelly Rowland, and having worked with major fashion players such as Nike and French Connection, stylist Elliot Harris decided to swap seats and to give something back himself, rather than just using other people's products. The result was H by Harris, a qualitative accessory label, focused on manufacturing luxury bags and luggage. Stocked in premier retail outlets such as DSM and Browns, Harris saw it fit to celebrate his first year of trading with a wee film. And here we are - filmed by Manny Bonett, Fixed is equally obsessed with bikes as H by Harris bags, but why choose when you can have both?

Dazed Digital: How did you get into styling rather design in the first place?
Harris Elliot: I always wanted to design interiors or stage sets, as I had studied Interior Architecture and design. I fell into styling, as I was exiting out of an initial desire to be a set designer. The legend that is Judy Blame gave me my first fashion break, commissioning me to make headdresses for a show he was styling. 

DD: And then why ‘moving sides’?
Harris Elliot: I wouldn't call it moving sides, more like extending my creative repertoire. It's a logical progression, I always want to learn more, designing a range is having another platform for your work. The styling is still very integral to the way that I work, so I haven't put that side of me to bed.

DD: It’s a bag line. Why the focus on that particular accessory?
Harris Elliot: Designing full garment collections would scare me. Through the design of bags, I'm creating items that will last longer than a season.

DD: You seem to love quilted and padded materials, is that homage to Chanel bags and other classic handbag makes?
Harris Elliot: There is a quality that Chanel and other luxury fashion houses have presented to us for decades. I like what those ateliers produce, I'm using my own handwriting on the bags I design. H bags are presenting classic processes such as quilting in a contemporary way. Good design should also work on more than one level, practical and tactile that's what quilt offers.

DD: Do you see it as a unisex brand? Do you prefer making things for men or women?
Harris Elliot: Yes, yes, yes it's a unisex brand, for me, the idea comes first then the gender comes second. I'm excited about spring summer 11, as it will be my first proper foray into designing a few specific pieces for the laydeez.

DD: Tell us about the film – how and why did it come about?
Harris Elliot: I have always been into film, a strong reference point for styling, film as a medium by it's nature has a longevity that a tear sheet can only dream about. The film features a gang of five sartorial clad riders all on a mission to find something.  The journey takes them to the top of a car park where they perform mad stunts enhanced by fire.  the director Manny Bonnet has a great vision, and his attention to detail is very clear.

DD: Why bikes?
Harris Elliot: Before the concept of the film came about, I knew that whatever the subject was going to be it had to have some form of movement in it. Movement as the indicator of travel.... deriving from luggage etc ... I met one of the riders James on a shoot, he and I clicked, from there the idea was born.

DD: Are films the way forward in terms of show casing a brand, especially one that focus on bags and accessories?
Harris Elliot: Print media is not able to do what moving image can, gone are the days that young people had to wait a month for their fix of cool from a style bible. Film and Art have to be the way forward, a lot of the big brands have worked this out ages ago. So as the label grows you can expect to see more films from the H studio. For me Adam Kimmel set the standard with his films, so the benchmark is quite high.

DD: What’s next for H by Harris? Clothes?
Harris Elliot: Well we launched with the H= Jacket, and there will definitely be some more outerwear pieces. At the moment thinking more structural than clothing, a few furniture ideas are buzzing around... lets see what films inspire me over the summer...