HARRY FREEGARD FOR RE-EDITION
Text Dominic Cadogan
It’s absolutely a cliché – especially in the context of fashion – but, when Harry Freegard enters a room, you can’t help but notice him. Usually spotted swanning around central London with friend, partner-in-crime, and fellow fabulous Central Saint Martins graduate, Gui Rosa, Harry is typically wearing nothing more than a spaghetti-strap sequin gown, kitten heels, and tiny handbag whatever the weather – though, sub-zero temperatures require tights (usually fishnet).
“I love fashion and love being a spectacle. I always dressed up and did weird shit as a kid and it just never stopped,” he says delicately sipping on a soy latte, sprawled on a sofa in coffee shop by London’s Southbank. As above, Harry is wearing a strapless sequin dress, made (slightly) more weather-appropriate with a vintage lumberjack-esque plaid shirt. “I’m really into glamour interrupted with everyday tat; I’m really into this rip,” he explains, lifting the shirt to show a gash on one side that he’s repurposed as a pocket (there’s a satsuma and some scrunched up bits of paper inside). “Chipped nails too,” he adds, brandishing stubby fingers with silver-painted nails that are indeed chipped.
Today, Harry is wearing clashing eyeshadows on each lid, one eye dusty lilac and the other lime green, and gold lipstick that looks like it’s been applied in the dark, messily outlining his lips. Harry’s current beauty look is inspired by the 80s. “Those guidebooks that tell you how to be beautiful,” he explains. “I’m doing that at the moment.” Constantly reinventing himself, just like when he was a child, previous iterations of Harry’s varied beauty statements have included ‘rave glam’ (exclusively wearing clashing neon green and orange colour combos) and ‘goth glam’ (wearing so much £4 Superdrug blue highlighter to try and look dead). “I’m obsessed with Larry B and his make-up always looks so matte and dry,” he says on his next look, ‘dry glam’. “I just want to look dry all the time too.”
For the Wiltshire-born creative, despite not coming from somewhere not typically associated with fashion – “there’s a really famous roundabout called The Magic Roundabout in Swindon and that’s about it,” Harry says rolling his eyes – it’s been a career he’s been interested in pursuing from a young age. “It’s so cliché, but I was always dressing up my Barbies as a little kid,” he remembers. As for his – for lack of a better word – outlandish style, he thanks his mother Kristina. “She used to tell me stories about painting myself silver and she’d ask, ‘why did you do that?’, but there literally wasn’t a reason. It was just cool to me.”
He’s got looks, he’s got style, what does Harry actually do? Primarily, he’s a designer, but to just call him that would be far too limiting. “Jack of all trades,” he says wryly, very much a part of the ‘slash generation’ as a designer-slash-stylist-slash-model-slash-DJ-slash-writer. Or as his Instagram account – @harriebradshaw, which is an homage to Sex and City’s Carrie Bradshaw and not his actual name – succinctly puts it: “It girl and horrible boy”. If he’s not shooting for magazines, he’s walking in fellow designers’ shows, or just being a girl about town, so, he doesn’t have much time for design, only now releasing his second collection off-schedule, eight months after his debut. “It’s so strange because when I was at CSM I would always say: ‘I’m going to be a fucking huge fashion designer and that’s it’.”
Harry’s new collection picks up where he left off with his graduate collection, continuing to create clothing that is all at once campy, OTT, and, for the most part, unwearable. Held together with safety pins and a prayer, models sashayed (and in one case skipped) down the runway to the Pet Shop Boys’ Absolutely Fabulous deafeningly blasted from the speakers. Harry appeared too, racing down the catwalk on a gold-painted scooter dragging along a skeleton effigy of himself, wearing a newspaper headpiece that exclaimed ‘HARRY IS DEAD!’. Funeral paraphernalia like memorabilia plates (with Freegard’s face on it, hair blown out and tiara like Princess Diana) and an urn filled with biscuits that the model carrying casually threw into the audience also featured.
As for the clothes themselves, Harry’s approach to design is at the intersection of a pragmatic ‘make do and mend’ attitude and an insatiable hunger for glamour. In fact, he managed to blag his way into CSM’s prestigious BA show by turning up to his crit with a few piece of paper stapled to a Wellington boot he claimed was an opera glove. Elsewhere at the show, looks created out of shredded paper looked like Chanel’s signature tweed jackets, and tops made out of old sports socks that had been stitched together.