“My first client was my friend,” says Kris Harrington, CEO and Creative Director of androgynous fashion company Kris Harring Apparel Group, LLC. This friend was getting married and could not find a tuxedo that looked right, so Harrington decided to make her one. The results were spectacular and pictures from the wedding appeared in The New York Times and DapperQ. Soon others asked Harrington to customize their wedding and formal wear. “That was the catalyst of like, all right, I think that it’s time for me to produce or introduce my idea of what gender neutral formal wear could look like,” she says. “I already had the design ideas. I already knew what I wanted to do.”
Her Capsule collection, which made its debut at 2017’s New York Fashion Week, is inspired by Harrington’s personal style. Formal wear can be tricky if you don’t fit into the gendered clothes mainstream fashion has to offer. “I’m not necessarily always wanting to wear a suit…but I’m also not really comfortable wearing a gown either, so what does formal wear for someone like me look like and feel like? It’s definitely my personal aesthetic; it’s answering a question I have for my own wardrobe, my own closet.”
Harrington wants anyone, regardless of their gender presentation to feel both comfortable and stylish. As the line and brand develops, she wants to take it further and be at the forefront of genderless fashion. “I think that’s a big conversation right now and people are starting to see that it’s not a fad. It’s really a valid market in the industry. It’s valid period,” she says. “I don’t think that people should be or want to be restricted by how they identify.”
In the future, Harrington wants the company to add wearable technology, jewelry, and shoes to their repertoire.
This holiday season she will be partnering with a jewelry designer to make cufflinks, tiepins, and other accessories to accompany the tuxedo shirts coming out soon. Pre-order sales of select styles from her Capsule line and some custom made items will be available in November.
For the holidays season though, she advises a clean and simple outfit with a pop of color for the holiday parties. “One of my favorite things to wear is a black, clean suit or a navy and then punching it up with an accessory,” she says. A day to evening transition is easy here when the bit of color or sparkle is added after leaving the office.