Chat: In the East end of London, near Old Street, resides the studio of fashion designers Matthew Harding and Levi Palmer of Palmer//Harding, aka The Shirt Boys. A merging of creative minds from Dallas and London, this innovative duo—alumni from Central Saint Martins, have finely-tuned their skills in the form of wearable, everyday styles in shirts.
Levi returned home to Texas this past December to visit his family for the holidays, along with Matthew, his British business and life partner. With a pit stop in Dallas to visit the newly opened Forty Five Ten where their line is carried, I joined them for lunch at the store’s restaurant Mirador for a chat.
Launched in 2012, Palmer//Harding has previously received awards from NewGen by the British Fashion Council and TopShop, and a nomination for the prestigious Andam Fashion Award in Paris. Last month the Brit-American team was shortlisted by the British Fashion Council with six other labels (Shrimps, Sophie Hulme, Mother of Pearl, Osman, Huishan Zhang and Toogood) to compete for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund 2017, to win £200,000 with mentoring and support—the winner will be announced April 4.
Prior to London Fashion Week, where they just showcased their latest autumn/winter 2017 collection, Levi and Matthew shared a few thoughts for 2017…
Can you share any details on what we can expect to see for A/W17?
MH: We are looking at Levi’s past, it’s a bit more dark and romantic.
Tell me about your recent visit to Levi’s hometown over the holidays. What did you think of Texas, any favorite moments?
MH: Actually Dallas was my favourite part of the visit, but Belton was nice, going on walks in nature and eating a lot of BBQ.
What did you think of the new store Forty Five Ten? What part did you like the most?
LP: Well I obviously loved our clothes the best, but honestly the store is just so concise and chic. It’s probably one of the most sophisticated stores in the world, there’s not one corner that hasn’t been considered, and every turn is a visual feast.
Tell me about the key styles from SS17, what are your favorite looks and why?
MH: I love the graphic striped fabrics and also the poet shirt, which evolves a little each season. It’s becoming an iconic piece of our collection.
Why was the John Lewis collaboration important to you, what did you gain from the experience?
LP: John Lewis is a British establishment and trusted for quality, so to work with them was a real seal of approval from the British industry. They were so great to work with and it gave our profile a great boost, especially when the prime minister wore one of our shirts.
What’s the most exciting moment you’re looking forward to this year?
LP: It’s actually just getting past fashion week, but in all seriousness, we are hiring two new people in the summer, and that will allow us to be more efficient and productive.
What are you currently, reading, listening to and inspired by?
MH//LP: Music such as Cocteau Twins, Mazzy Star, Clan of Xymox, The Glove, and Fat White Family.
Palmer // Harding is available in Dallas at Forty Five Ten and online at matchesfashion and farfetch.