If Dapper Dan “is the original auteur of gangster chic” then Edward Harris is the nouvelle vague (new wave) producer of luxury streetwear. Born and raised in Harlem, NY, Edward Harris (known by Royal), a prodigy of the legendary Harlem’s Dapper Dan, has amassed a serious following of those devoted to Royal Vision, providing one-of-a-kind luxury infused designs along with a ready-to-wear apparel line. A master of the cut and sew, Royal can take any item that has fabric and recreate a masterpiece that pairs his unique designs with designer label fabrics. Merging sustainability and luxury, Royal frequently up-cycles lavish fabrics, designer monogrammed fabrics, and matured garments to create his Royal Vision.
Sashana Maitland: How did you become a fashion designer?
Royal: I always had a creative edge to me. I gravitated toward fashion in junior high-school through art; mainly by drawing cartoon characters. A strong desire to stand out among my classmates eventually led to me designing my first few pieces. This especially helped at times when my family was unable to purchase the latest clothing from expensive boutiques.
Who were some of your early inspirations?
My grandmother first comes to mind. She was the first person to help me with sewing, and gave me life through direction when it came to what I wanted to do. Dapper Dan has also inspired me, being that I’m from Harlem. My uncle had a couple of Dapper Dan pieces that I remember vividly from then till today.
Who was and still is your mentor?
Dapper Dan eventually became my mentor (remember, we’re both from Harlem). He gave me encouragement, has visited my fashion shows, and talks about my brand to people. It keeps me motivated knowing that my work is respected. I’m grateful that I can contact him anytime if I ever need help; he’s a local living legend!
Describe Royal Vision’s design aesthetic and target customer.
There are two parts to Royal Vision where we do both custom work and supply an apparel line. The customizations that we do are based off of the what the customer wants along with my own freestyling of fashion design. On the other hand, the apparel line dips into the trends of today blended with ideas and themes that I’ve been working on. A wide spectrum of customers shop both parts of Royal Vision ranging from kids to the elderly.
Explain the significance of incorporating already existing brands in your designs.
It’s a custom creation as if I were to design for their fashion house. People get to see an alternative perspective of high-fashion brands which is very popular among fashion enthusiasts.
What's your one line pitch for what makes your designs unique from other cut and sew designers or even the high-fashion labels themselves?
Maintaining a unique fashion identity is in high-demand and here to stay. I feel like many high-fashion brands lack the desire to delve deeper into being truly different.
Which piece that you’ve created, are you most proud of? And what about it made a lasting impression on you?
I would say the COOGI sneakers and Timberlands because those two pieces got me in the COOGI office where I was able to talk with the founder. A lot people are into COOGI sweaters and are cutting them up like myself to use as fabric.
What currently motivates you?
Pushing to do what I love to do full-time. Right now, I’m doing fashion design part-time, but my goal is to do it full-time through Royale Vision.
What can fans expect from Royal Vision this SS19?
We strive to be more innovative through the modern fashion perspective, and develop a bigger presence in the industry through collaborations with websites like Men Of Thrift, and other fashion brands.
Since you’re here…
…we have a small favor to ask. Men Of Thrift's independent, fashion journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $1, you can support Men Of Thrift – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.
I write and teach what I love: literacy, multiculturalism, and pop culture. Follow me on Instagram @thegraceofmystyle