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Fashion can sometimes feel fluffy, artificial and unreal. Yet it’s something that we all wear in one form or another, every day. And fashion is rooted in art, creativity and inspiration that is a spark within those who decide what color and shape we all select at the store.

In this week’s episode of The World According to Craig, host Craig Greiwe sits down with designer Charles Harbison to talk about fashion and the creativity that drives the designer – and how he brings that creativity to the table for a consumer that may not think the same way.

Charles Harbison is a renowned designer for red carpets and celebrities with his own eponymous collection, but is now designing a collaboration for Banana Republic, a company that lives at the intersection of art and commerce.

Fashion is art, and art requires creativity, but what happens when creativity requires the compromise of a commerce-driven business? How does something so insular become something so mass consumer? It’s not a leap, because there are so many steps in between, says the podcast guest. “I’m living in the world just like my customers are,” explains Harbison.

From bucking fashion gender norms to drawing on church culture in his pieces, the designer is brimming with creativity.

“I start with my own inspiration, I go back to this kind of collection of images and ideas and stuff,” he furthers. “This Banana thing is easier for me because I think about all the customers I was never able to engage at the price point that Harbison was at before.”

The catalog of women he dresses is diverse, in fact, his clothes are intended for all genders and bodies, despite whatever section they may be found in.

“Designing for different body types is easy for me because that’s the image of beauty I saw first,” says Harbison, explaining his roots.

“When it comes to affirming different types of beauty … the goal for [the clothing that I make] has always been to give my customers the tools to present themselves in the world with more power, elegance and confidence,” encourages Harbison.

When we think about fashion, we often think about it in abstract terms, but there is a real process. There are rules, there are elements of work, and the artistry is how they are manipulated to the advantage of that art.

“There’s a craft there which I appreciate. There are the rules, and there is a craft. … In order to make [a design] fashion, it’s a matter of turning it on its head,” says Harbison.

Can art be compromised? Should it be? And how do you take everything that lives in your head, put it on a page, and make it available for mainstream America?  Tune in here to find out.

LA Weekly