Currently a Senior Print Designer for one of the world’s largest clothing brands, Kelly Harrington has spent the last 14 years at H&M designing and working on pieces that have most likely infiltrated your wardrobe at some point in time. We were lucky enough to catch up with her and find out a bit more about her role, witnessing firsthand H&M evolve into the clothing giant that it is today and whether or not she’d fight 100 duck sized horses.
What’s your ideal Friday night out?
I’d prefer a night in with a long bath and a candle, or dinner at a favourite restaurant.
If you could wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Double denim of course!
What’s the most precious/sentimental thing in your wardrobe?
My vintage Levi’s jacket that I got when I was 18, just because it’s got sentimental value. It was bought by my parents as a birthday present. I’m generally quite sentimental about my clothing because I like that my wardrobe tells a story about me and the places that I’ve been.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Never give up, because dreams can come true!
You’re a designer, and from the looks of your Instagram, you love blue and denim – why is that?
I love denim because it’s timeless. Trends have come and gone, but denim is a lifelong wardrobe staple; it’s familiar and nostalgic. Denim never really goes out of style. I love how blue denim fabric gets better with age, it becomes unique and personal when worn. I am constantly searching for the ‘new trend’, so I choose to wear clothes that are timeless.
Why do you write everything in all caps on your Instagram?
I promise I’m not shouting! I just like capitals more than lower case as I think it looks aesthetically pleasing.
Can you briefly talk us through the process of designing something at a major brand like H&M?
My role at H&M has many aspects, but splits into three. First, I am a Senior Print Designer. I create, design and draw the prints that go on garments and articles for all different departments. As a print designer, my job is creative. I’m always seeking inspiration to design my next print. When you buy a garment with a pattern, most people don’t realise the amount of thought that has gone into making it. Someone has had to design it, paint it and draw it. The patterns I design have to be repeatable to be printed on meters and meters of fabric and sent to production for testing. Secondly, I am part of the in-house trend and forecast team, where I create a seasonal Women’s key item analysis. I attend trade shows, analyse street style and visit exhibitions. Thirdly, I work with the H&M in-house vintage archive in Stockholm. Designing for a global brand like H&M is very challenging, but very rewarding.
What’s the best think about your job as a designer?
The best thing about my job is that I have a very creative role, and every day is different. I’m lucky enough to travel the world for work and I love exploring and finding new inspiration in the most unlikely places.
What’s the hardest thing about being a designer?
Learning to compromise.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into fashion/fashion design?
My advice to young designers of today would be to never give up! Make yourself stand out from the crowd, be passionate about what you do and believe in yourself. Be nice, above all else!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate…in particular, Fry’s Turkish delight!
If you could be successful in another profession, what would it be?
I’ve always wanted to be a cartoon voice over!
Tell us the most surprising thing that people may not know about you:
I like Britney Spears…and I sound like Minnie Mouse!
Have you always had an interest in fashion?
Fashion is something I’ve always been passionate about since a really young age. I would spend my Saturdays shopping, reading fashion magazines or drawing for fun in my sketchbook. I like to think my creative skills were passed down to me as my dad was a window dresser in the 70s and my grandad was a hat maker.
What are your aims and goals for 2016?
That would be telling…I will keep you posted! However, I hope I will be travelling the world a little more and visiting some places I haven’t ever been to. I’d like to return to Korea soon.
Describe your style in three words:
Classic, original and quirky!
What’s your favourite type of jean?
Tough question…a boyfriend or skinny.
What emoji are you?
The blue heart.
Who, dead or alive, would you most like to have dinner with?
David Hockney, one of my favourite artists.
What interests you most about fashion?
It was a lifelong dream to work in the fashion industry. I like its creativity and I love seeing people on the streets wearing my designs/clothes.
Who’s your favourite designer, and if you could have any designer piece, what would your dream piece be?
Oh that’s a tough question! I’m not sure I just have one favourite, but I’ve always liked Balenciaga. My dream designer piece would probably be a denim Chanel bag! I also love Marques Almeida, and I love the Levi’s brand for its history.
Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses, or one horse sized duck?
One horse sized duck.
Would you rather walk around fashion week in a black bin liner and have everyone think you’re serious, or delete your Instagram?
I wouldn’t do either!
What’s the staple item in your wardrobe right now?
A man style shirt.