KRIS' NEW YORK STATE OF GRIND
Storytelling by Roda Griffin
Every year lots of young artists move to New York City with the hopes to achieve ambitious success. Many of those young artists are forced to humble their goals as the years go on. Very seldom does one come to the big apple and surpass their wildest dreams.
Kris Harrington graduated from Loyola University in Maryland with a business degree. She faced her first rejection in the harsh industry soon after. Harrington’s first attempt at an internship was crushed by a young white woman who told her, she wasn’t going to “fit in” the industry. Turned off by that experience, Harrington took a job at Time magazine in consumer management.
Harrington utilized her business degree to work in the corporate world after moving to Brooklyn, New York but, after three years, Harrington took a leap of faith and decided to quit her job to travel the world and work on her fashion blog. The fashion blog was a success with many followers catering mostly to the LGBTQIA community.
Harrington’s desire to dive back into the fashion world continually intensified and she decided to move back to New York City and start completely over.
She took an entry level job as a sales representative at Macy's. There she learned about body types, fabrics, and how people psychologically responded to selling techniques. She spent her spare time taking on odd gigs and interning for free through Craigslist ads. After a while, she got her first paying gig assisting Andre Austin, stylist for Gayle King, on film and television sets.
After having various experiences assisting others, Harrington decided she would like to learn more about designing her own clothes. She had her heart set on evening wear. Not quite gowns and not quite tuxes but, finding gender-neutral alternative options.
The first step was to learn how to sew. Although she came from a family who sewed, regretfully she refused to take a home economics class in high school. She felt it was too “girly” and took wood shop instead. So, she humbly enrolled in a sewing class at a local business in Bedstuy, Brooklyn. She also applied to the Fashion Institute of Technology’s women program but was rejected. Never giving up, she reapplied the following year to the men’s program and was admitted.
Harrington committed all her time developing her skills as a designer. After the men’s program, she went on to work for several luxury brands like Armani Exchange, DKNY, Zegna, and many more.
But Harrington’s first big break didn’t come until her childhood friend, Shay Sellars, challenged her to design her wedding attire. Nervously she obliged. Her design was later featured in New York Magazine in 2016.
With the new gain confidence, experience, and skills Harrington was able to launch her own business making alterations and custom designs. Now, it was time for her to put her own collection out.
In 2017, DapperQ publication was putting together their annual fashion show at the Brooklyn Museum where over a 1,000 people were projected to show up. Unfortunately, their roster was full and they were not accepting any more designers to join the show. Harrington was still inspired to showcase her work and decided to put together her own fashion show in Bedstuy and feature the neighborhood she loves so much during New York Fashion Week.
With help from the crowdfunding platform Ifundwomen, local donations, and support from her Bedstuy community, Harrington was able to put on a successful runway show.
Amazingly, DapperQ called with a slot opening to join their show. She was prepared and it was also a great opportunity for all those who volunteered their time to also get a chance to shine on a larger scale. Harrington received lots of media coverage from places like Huffington Post, teen vogue, and vanity fair.
To take it to the next step Harrington is now a part of FIT’s design accelerator program. It involves 25 designers that are all competing to win $100,000. Harrington is the youngest brand on board. Currently, she is working on her business plan and completing her new collection.
Harrington is proof that with humility, hard work, and dedication New York can still be a place where are our dreams come true.
You can learn more about Kris Harrington here.
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