Drawing from various inspirations, this designer kicks butt at creating sick looks
Author: Kaitlynn Nordal
Since she was a child, Rea Harbus has always had a passion for fashion and design.
Being involved in dance and skating since she was an adolescent, there was always a costume that needed to be designed and sewn together.
“I liked coming up with the idea of the costume and then having to figure out how to make it. It wasn’t until high school that I knew fashion was a career I wanted to pursue,” Harbus says.
Studying Fashion and Design at the Yvonne Yuen School of Design and The Blanche MacDonald Institute in Vancouver, she learned one very important life lesson that “the more you put into it, the more you can get out of it. Always be positive!” That has helped her be as successful as she has been since starting Amaranth Designs in 2000.
Being influenced by the busy working woman and classic designers, such as (Christian) Dior, Valentino (Garavani), (Coco) Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent – who are her fashion idols — Harbus’ designs would be best described as modern and classic.
When asked what is one piece of clothing or jewelry that she would recommend people having in their closet for this season, she agrees that bright neon colours are a must have.
“I would recommend having a bright print in one’s closet; a dress, a top, or a skirt,” states Harbus.
Just like most designers, Duchess Kate Middleton would be a dream person for Harbus to design for.
Harbus says, “If I could design an outfit for Kate (Catherine) Middleton, that would be my ultimate privilege and honour.”
Having such a variety in her look books since spring 2014, Harbus has a hard time picking a favorite, but the Watercolour Belted Dress – one of my personal favorites – won in the end.
Harbus says, “For spring/summer my favourite design is the Watercolour Belted Dress. I fell in love with the fabric. The pattern and feel of the fabric is what drew me in. I chose a simpler design to allow the pattern in the fabric to take centre stage. It is a great garment that can be easily dressed up or down. It works day into evening.”
When asked what influenced one of my personal favorites from her 2014 fall/winter look book, Rea Harbus said she has had the design in her head for a long time, stating, “I’ve had a picture of a cheongsam dress that I tore out of a magazine years ago, and I patiently waited for the right fabric. I found the Blossom fabric and I thought it could work. The finished design is my take on a cheongsam dress. I wanted to design a long gown that was modern and had clean lines, but I did not want it to be ‘too formal.’”
Last but not least, if Harbus could give advice to any designer or someone who wants to be involved in the fashion industry, she believes that putting in volunteer hours and taking criticism to make yourself better is the key to any career.
“Take it all in,” Harbus says. “Get involved. Volunteer whenever the opportunity arises. Learn from experienced designers. Ask a lot of questions. Ask for feedback; learn and grow from it.”
To look at Harbus’ designs visit www.amaranthdesigns.ca,like her on Facebook at Amaranth-Designs,or follow her on Twitter at@reaharbus.