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Palmer Harding

Starting from spring 12, this design duo are on a mission to perfect the great white shirt.

Like the LBD, the white shirt is one of those staple fashion items that has stood the test of time. Since Audrey Hepburn’s oversized number in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the timeless classic has never been out of style, but is an item we are constantly striving to perfect.

The humble white shirt is often overshadowed by an eye-catching bold jacket or jazzy dress, so when champions of the shirt Palmer Harding caught our attention, we knew we were onto a good thing.

Spotted by Drapers at the London Showrooms, the British Fashion Council (BFC)-backed venture for new talent, design duo Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding are pioneers in shirt design.

“We wanted to expand and focus on a single garment,” says Harding. “The design has to stand out without the styling; it’s about taking [the design] above what a shirt is supposed to be.”

Spring 12 is the brand’s first season – Harding and Palmer both graduated from esteemed design school Central Saint Martins College and previously freelanced on projects including the Fred Perry menswear collaboration with Raf Simons.

Realising their keen work ethic and strong dynamic, the pair got together to start up Palmer Harding last year and acquired some financial support from the Centre for Fashion Enterprise (CFE) and the BFC.

The debut collection was inspired by photographer Ingar Krauss and 1930s couture detailing, with the designers wanting to capture ‘modern confidence with nostalgic undertones’.

The shirt range is split almost 50/50 men’s to women’s and the designers only work with Swiss cotton, which has a patented coiled yarn giving 100% cotton a 20% stretch, similar to the effect of elastane. The shirts wholesale for between £65 and £300.

In its first season, the label is in designer store Joyce in Hong Kong and has also been picked up by Erin Mullaney, former buying director at London indie Browns and now fashion director at soon-to-be-launched luxury website Avenue32.com. “That could potentially open up a lot of opportunities for us,” says Harding.

Eventually, the pair would like to turn Palmer Harding into a collection that encompasses other items, but it is the shirt that the duo want to define their work. One thing’s for sure: Palmer Harding has reignited our love affair with this classic wardrobe staple. 

Palmer Harding

 

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