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April 18 2014

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Young London Calling: Palmer//Harding

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London is a hotbed of young talent in fashion, and the city is known for supporting the young, the wild, and the penniless like few other fashion capitals. Just in time for London fashion week, Style.com checked in with three of the city’s most exciting emerging designers. Today, meet Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding, the duo behind Palmer//Harding.

Considering London’s young designers are known for their conceptual, if not eccentric edge, it took a lot of guts for newcomers Levi Palmer, 30, and Matthew Harding, 26, to launch something as simple as a shirt line. But the savvy design duo, nominated for this year’s ANDAM Award, didn’t want to rush into things. “I think shirts are a neglected garment,” Harding tells Style.com. “We eventually want to do a full line, but this allows us to take it sensibly and slowly.”

For their debut at London fashion week, with the support of NEWGEN, the Central Saint Martins-trained designers pulled inspiration from the youthful naïveté found in Ingar Krauss’ photographs of juvenile delinquents for their 17 men’s shirts and 17 women’s shirts. “There was a loneliness in her photography that was really beautiful,” says Palmer. Harding adds, “We also looked at thirties couture references, so it’s kind of naïveté mixed with sophistication.”

As one might deduct from the designers’ influences, an ordinary shirt brand this is not. The gray, white, and dusty mint collection features a mix of organic spiral details as well as tight accordion pleats. Rubberized metal accents on pockets and cuffs and grosgrain detailing enhance the handcrafted feel of their wearable works. But the Egyptian cotton shirts aren’t too precious because, as Harding explains, “the shirts are special, quality pieces but we want them to be lived in as well.”

Photos: Lucy Carr-Ellison

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