In Conversation | Folk x Harry Duley collaboration
Harry Duley is a base-layers designer based in Dorset. Working exclusively in jersey, she knows the fabric like a second skin. With a focus on timeless styles that prioritise quality over quantity, she either hand-makes her pieces or works with Eco-factories in the UK for larger production runs. Harry is a returning guest designer to Folk, having worked on a collaboration with her in 2021 and now launching a new range for Winter 23. We were lucky enough to be able to catch up with her to talk through her ethos, sustainability, and the brilliance of beautiful, big pants.
How did you get into making base layers?
I originally started my business because I couldn't find a simple black T-shirt in a good quality fabric with no logos that wasn't just a boxy shape: so, I made one. I've always worked with jersey and I've made different collections over the years but my pieces are generally very simple and pretty monochrome because that's what I love. Over lockdown, I had the space to think about what I really wanted to make and it turned out to be big pants and base-layers. A bit like the black T-shirt, I couldn’t find ones that I wanted to wear myself. They either didn't have any stretch to them or were too big or frumpy so I thought: ‘hang on then, go and make some yourself’.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love hearing people’s feedback. I get so many emails from women saying how much they love wearing my pieces. I want to be able to make something that becomes a permanent collection in people’s lives; the kind of product that because you’ve found something you love and that works, you can keep coming back for it.
Why do you think Folk and your brand work so well together?
I think that from all that I've just said about all my work, we’re really similar. Folk’s pieces are so considered and simple. Simplicity can look like it's easy but it's probably one of the hardest things to do. I think that we run on the same kind of ethos of good quality, functional clothing. It's really hard to do but I think Folk get things right and I feel really privileged to work with them and be a part of their label.
Likewise! And what do you think are the advantages of local production?
I love the fact that I've got it all here in my studio, all my resources, so I have the freedom to make what I want. I don't have to go to a factory and say ‘Can you make this?’ and wait and then tweak it. I do all of that here myself and when it's right for me, then I'm good to go. Small production is all about sustainability really, it’s a way of not wasting anything. The downside is that it's time-consuming but as long as my customers know that it won’t come the next day then I'm happy because I'm not putting things on sale and trying to get rid of dead stock. Everything is much simpler because if it's all local you have access to each stage of the design process. You can really be part of it all.
So, talking about this idea of sustainability and comfort, why is it so important to you that those two things can intersect in your garments?
I honestly think it wasn't like I had this business plan or thought this is how it was going to be. They're just natural beliefs that I have. Things shouldn’t damage the earth and women should be comfortable. There was no question that I was going to make any other way. I think a lot of it is down to the fact that I have the skill to do it myself. I just can't bear clothes costing so little. Because I've sat at a machine, I know it's a lot of work. It’s a real skill being able to put a garment together. We should be flipping the question, not thinking why is everything so expensive, but rather why is everything so cheap? And why don't we value those first layers? They should be the best ones, the softest the most comfortable.
Completely! Can you talk a bit about the thought process behind your new arrivals? And what’s coming up for you?
Yes so, they’re not necessarily new styles at the moment but I’m offering my core collection in new colours. I'll see which colours are the best sellers and some will stay. I’ve also been putting together little gift bag sets in the run-up to Christmas. I think it’s a simple, thoughtful gift to buy and the bag I’ve made for them to come in is great for re-using so there’s no waste. Who knows what I might want to want to wear next spring. When I know, I'll make it.
The new Folk X Harry Duley capsule range is available now, including twin set tops and knickers in a no waste jersey bag. Click through to find more.
Words- Elsa Pearl, Pictures- Jethro Marshall