Harlow Collection

North East Fashion Brand Offering Bespoke Wardrobe Staples

There’s nothing more satisfying than spending some time with your brand-new diary (always a great Christmas present!) and putting pen to paper.

It’s that fresh start feeling we all look forward to. As we sit down and start to fill our diaries with exciting plans, special occasions and holidays for the year ahead, our thoughts can quickly turn to the dreaded ‘what will I wear?’.

The world of fashion is ever-changing and it can be hard to keep up with the latest trends.

That’s why I went in search of a fashion brand that aims to be timeless, classic and everlasting. A little bit of indulgence, but also an investment.

Harlow Collection launched back in January 2020, with a vision to reduce waste and build a capsule collection for women. The brand’s goal is for women to wear their pieces forever – providing wardrobe staples that can be pulled out season after season, styling with items you already own as well as other pieces from the brand.

Harlow Collection
Hannah Wilson, founder and creator of Harlow Collection

Hannah Wilson, the creative brains behind the brand, develops and makes each and every piece here in the North East.

From concept to the final packaging, everything is produced in-house on a made-to-order basis.

“I studied Fashion Design at Cleveland College of Art & Design in Hartlepool, and I never stopped making clothes once I graduated,” Hannah starts.

“I’ve always been interested in fashion and have had different retail and visual merchandising jobs over the years. I learnt a lot from my time at uni and then after that, I joined various classes and courses and watched countless YouTube videos.

“I love trying new things and experimenting with pattern cutting and design – I don’t think you ever really stop learning and I’m always open to finding out more.”

With a wealth of experience and a passion for fashion and design, when the opportunity presented itself, creating her very own clothing brand seemed like the obvious path for Hannah.

“I’ve always loved making clothes and after studying fashion at university, it just seemed a very natural thing for me to progress into. I didn’t really think too much into it, I just went ahead and did it. I’ve just always made clothes and designs that I know I would wear, and I think that’s why I enjoy it so much as it’s still always very personal to me,” she tells me.

“I’m really inspired by simple, classic designs. Chic and minimal. I love French, Parisian and Scandi styles. Of course, it’s important to keep up with trends and be inspired by what I see around, but I like to alter that a little to create something timeless.

“When it comes to fashion, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Lovisa Barkman and Felicia Akerstrom, to name a few, are all great inspirations. I think having a simple, classic style makes it so easy to get dressed and in turn makes you feel good – so I try to show that through my designs. I like to create very versatile pieces you find yourself reaching for time and time again. Pieces you can incorporate into your everyday wardrobe, not just for ‘best’.

“I tend to visualise a lot in my head and find a lot of inspiration from the likes of Instagram and Pinterest, items I already own or have owned in the past, or something I just can’t find and know will make a great piece.

“Strangely enough, I don’t often draw the design first, I just get stuck straight into pattern cutting. I use the same templates for most of my designs and just adapt as I go with the fit throughout the process. Each and every creation is bespoke and personal, they really are one-of-a-kind pieces.”

Hannah prides herself on creating everything by hand herself – something I imagine is very difficult when it comes to creating items of clothing for women of all shapes and sizes.

Designed to be timeless and classic, each piece has been carefully produced to emphasise the natural beauty of the female silhouette, and getting every single piece just right is something Hannah tells me can be tricky, but is one of the most important steps.

“Once I’ve sampled on myself, I see how the design fits other sizes and make alterations based on where a bigger bust size may be required. Sizing is always the trickiest part as our bodies are all totally different, in so  many ways. I don’t tend to keep stock as I make everything to order as I think it’s a lot more sustainable and creates less waste.

“I also love how special the piece then becomes for the customer, made especially for them. Once the order is made I package it up and post it out myself. I don’t have anyone working for me at the moment, it’s all done by me,” she explains.

Running her business in the North East and staying true to her northern roots is something Hannah is extremely passionate about, however, she is partial to jetting off to fashion capitals for inspiration and special one-off fabrics.

Harlow Collection

“I am based in Gateshead and have recently moved here after growing up in Washington. I am primarily online based and I have a studio set up at home where I make and distribute everything. I love to keep everything local where I can, from photographers and graphic designers to the fabrics used.

“I used to source a lot of fabrics at Dainty Supplies in Washington before it closed down a couple of years ago. 1st for Fabrics in Newcastle is another supplier I use all of the time and they’re so friendly there.

“There are some independent online stores I love to use too when I can’t get what I need locally and I like to have a browse where I can when I go away. I’ve been fabric shopping in Paris, London, Morocco and so on. It’s nice to get special, one-off fabrics to create limited edition pieces to add to my collection.

“My favourite piece from the collection is the Ada Knit bodysuit. It’s been the best-seller by far and it’s made me so happy seeing how many people have ordered it, wear it and love it. It’s something I made on a whim in the first lockdown and I don’t think I expected it to be so popular. I will never stop getting excited over an order coming in. It’s such a good feeling.”

Three years into business and with the online orders flooding in every day, next on the agenda for Harlow Collection is featuring in more pop-up shops and events throughout 2023.

“I have some exciting ideas lined up this year and I can’t wait to share more. Being primarily online, I know some customers like to see clothing in person, so I’d love to do more pop-up events throughout the course of the year and show off my collection and get to meet my lovely customers face-to-face,” Hannah says with a smile of joy, pride and excitement.

Watch this space.