Donwan Harrell, the designer behind the premium denim label PRPS has a respect for workmanship that is hard to come by, even in the ostensibly detail-oriented world of high fashion.
Born in North Carolina, the son of a naval ship builder and ancestor to a long line of loggers and hunters, Harrell did not have to dream hard to come up with the inspiration for his workwear line. The blue-collar inspired collection is a re-imagining of Harrell’s past brought to fruition with the care and precision of a talented artist.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
Currently, I’m finalizing the Prps Goods & Co. collection for Spring/Summer 2013. Sell-through rates on all Prps categories have been phenomenal this past season. Having one successful season prompts the challenge and stamina to surpass my accomplishments from prior collections. I constantly remind myself that I will only be as good as my last season. The fashion industry is not so forgiving if you experience a mediocre moment as a designer. It takes two phenomenal seasons to recuperate. I am my biggest competitor. I’m loyal to my characteristics as a brand and I do not allow trends to sway my vision. In a nutshell, my work never ends. It is an endless quest to produce the best quality garments season after season, while staying true to the legacy of my brand.
WHERE DO YOU SEE DENIM GOING NEXT?
Denim is universal. It has been my passion for 13 years. I’m at a point in my career where I have perfected the art of replicating authentic vintage washes and now I am trying out unconventional washes and treatments. Non-traditional yarns mixing with denim and creating a different exterior appearance of denim. Treating sulfur dyed twill, sage and canvas fabrications with a denim approach is my latest experiment.
WHAT CAN BE TAKEN FROM THE PAST?
I love to look at old world garment construction. When I find well-produced vintage pieces, I turn them inside out; I look at the unique construction and apply the details to modern pieces. Flea markets and antique stores are grounds for treasure finds. Additionally, I reflect on other pre-existing companies that have had success in the market.