The ultimate collaborator, designer and consultant Kelly Harrington lends her eye for good jeans to many global brands.
Designer. Trend forecaster. Vintage archivist. Street style star. Stylist. Creative consultant. Instagram influencer. It’d be easier to come up with jobs London-based Kelly Harrington doesn’t do than to try to list off her many roles in the denim sector. With nearly two decades in the fashion business—the majority of which were spent as a print designer, trend forecaster and vintage archivist for Swedish fast-fashion empire H&M—Harrington’s myriad roles share one common thread: an unwavering passion for denim.
Collaborating with everyone from Carhartt and Amazon Fashion U.K. to Paige Denim and Viktor & Rolf, Harrington has made her mark, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera, on the industry. She’s taken over Denim Days festivals across the world, served as a jury member for the Global Denim Awards, and designed looks for Oslo Runway.
One of her most hyped collaborations of 2018 debuted at the end of summer: a highly personal, 15-piece capsule collection for Tom Wood, in which each men’s and women’s design was named after one of Harrington’s family members.
And that’s all without mentioning her powerful role as an Instagram influencer. With more than 45k followers, @kellouhar documents Harrington’s love for all things indigo, while spotlighting under-the-radar denim designers and her endless brand partnerships.
“I like teaming up with unknown designers or new brands that are coming about,” she said, noting her particular love for Japanese and Korean denim.
Harrington said her status as Instagram influencer has almost become a second full-time job, thanks to the expectation of continually posting fresh content and a desire to interact with her digital denim friends.
“The pressure can be quite intense,” she said. “Some people will email me and be like, ‘You haven’t posted in two days!’ Sometimes it feels like you just need an offline break.”
With more projects in the pipeline—many of them still under wraps, though Harrington did hint at collaborations with an unnamed Korean brand and bespoke designs for Copenhagen Fashion Week—it doesn’t look like a break is forthcoming in the near future. Especially if she follows through with her dream of one day designing her own line. “I feel like I’m at this time now where it would be good to do it,” she said, “and it would be a dream come true for me if I can.”
What is your first denim memory?
“I wanted my parents to buy me two denim jackets for my 17th birthday. They were Levi’s Truckers. I still have them, and I still wear them.”
What is your favorite pair of jeans?
“I still have my first pair of Levi’s that I’ve cut down to shorts and can just about get my bum into. I’m very sentimental about my clothing."