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Who’s Harry?

A crowdfunding project has resulted in the launch of Harry, a new organic fashion and lifestyle brand that invites consumers to take part in spreading its life lesson: Find Your Tune. A white tank top is among the first available products and embodies Harry the musician. 

By Cassandra Pizzey / 21-11-2013

Harry plays the leading role in the modern fairytale: Find Your Tune. He saw life as an empty score, waiting to be filled with the music notes of life, and was best known for his white tank top which he wore while writing music and performing on stage. 

Let’s call Harry a brand for now, one that invites consumers to take part in spreading it’s life lesson. It was started by Annouk Post of YOI and entrepreneurs Marieke Vinck en Charlotte Van Waes of Charlie+Mary. Together, these three creatives want to make consumers more aware of sustainable clothing by sending a positive message. Annouk Post explains: “We are seeing an increase of sustainable brands at the moment but most of them remain in the niche market.” 

“Many consumers don’t pay much attention to where there clothing is coming from until they are confronted by a tragedy such as Bangladesh.” In April of 2013 a clothing factory in Bangladesh collapsed after being declared unsafe, thousands were killed and injured. Much of the clothing made in this factory was intended for large high-street fashion brands. Post continues: “Unfortunately such news is quickly forgotten, but there is a small group of pioneers who are fighting the cliché and taking responsibility for their own actions. The question is, how do we appeal to a large group of consumers?”

Heading the ‘Harry revolution’ is a simple white vest (fair trade and organic) and an illustrated book featuring Harry’s tale. “The vest makes the message tangible and wearable, its a symbolic means of communication,” says Post. Another large component is asking people what makes them happy and translating this into their own tune – a message on a blackboard. On social media, fans are asked to photograph themselves with their personal tune (#shareyourtune). “We ask our producers too, resulting in a positive chain reaction that not only shows the tunes, but also the story behind the clothing.”

So who are the people that should be making a difference?

Post: “Our primary target is the so-called generation Y. On the one hand they are unhappy because of their high expectations, an attitude which makes them self absorbed and less bothered about tomorrow’s world. On the other hand, the early adapters of this generation are extremely conscious and engage in sustainable initiatives and labels.”

Harry can definitely identify with the second group and chose crowdfunding to kick start the label. Although not entirely successful (Harry earned a respectable €4.940 of its €15.000 goal), the brand organized special, money-raising events together with existing brands to raise money for the cause and now a number of Harry products can be pre-ordered in the Charlie+Mary webshop. 

As mentioned before, the white tank top is symbollic as is has both protective qualities as a nostalgic properties. “You may remember your granddad wearing a white vest underneath his shirt, or maybe your mum used to dress you in one when you were a child. Nowadays a white vest can be a stylish item of clothing, a means to show your own identity. We call it the essence of fashion: ‘true fashion’.”

The vest will be available from April of next year but Harry is already working together with other partners to spread their message. A cheese platter by Stegman is also part of the collection and was specially made for a whiskey-tasting event. The bottom of the wooden board features a blackboard or empty score, somewhere to write your tune. 

Photography: Dim Balsem

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