Matthew Palmer used to pimp out his outfit while at school at Ricksmanworth over a decade ago, layering two shirts on top of his blazer while sporting the required uniform. Self admittedly, Matthews coyly says his classmates would leave him at the running butt of a joke as a result. Fast forward to today, where the Palmer Harding brand won the BFC Fashion Fund Vogue Award in April with £100,000 and mentoring from experts at Burberry and Google. With Michelle Obama sporting the brand at the summit for Partnership for America event earlier this month, it illustrates how times have changed.
The newly established powerhouse duo of Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding met each other in London during their schooling at the world renowned Central Saint Martins. Unlike most designers which offer a plethora of ranges of styles and collection, Palmer Harding has decided to focus and hone their craft to the mastery of one garment, the shirt-- as well as perfect it. Birthed in 2011, British label Palmer//Harding is celebrated in particular for its signature lines of directional shirt designs. Curiously striking in silhouette and crisply tailored, Palmer Harding clothing offers up a progressive rework of modern classics to execute a mature, tasteful, stylized and unique collection. Highly structural as well as stylized, Palmer Harding clothing illustrates potential in the mundane.
Superfluous functional detail as ornament has become a widespread idiom in womenswear—for example, sweaters with extra sleeves tied in pretty knots, shirts with upside-down extra collars, that type of thing—but what Palmer Harding do so well is add those details in ways that make them not just attractive but useful too. Key among this archetype include a black trench with unbuttonable sections allowing you to build your own lapel. A mishmash shirt in a blue and white Bengal stripe overlaid with a wider navy and ochre stripe featured a removable panel for meaningful baring of the shoulder blade, while a shirt-cloak hybrid in pink cotton Oxford—so very Brooks Brothers, but also totally not—was three garments in one depending on your mood and your handiness with the buttons. Attractive quirk that actually works? It’s a compelling combination.