Interview with the Designer- Rea Harbus

By: Tracy Thompson

I took some time to interview Rea to see what really makes her tick!  I asked her all of my burning questions about her world of fashion.  It was super fun to learn more about the world of fashion here in Saskatchewan!  Thanks Rea for taking the time to chat!

Q: Why do you choose the fabrics you choose?

When I select my fabrics I envision the finished garment.  The fabric must suit the design because fabric is manufactured for a specific end use.  For example, a soft bamboo jersey is not suitable for leggings as it doesn’t have the durability to last with all the abuse pants go through in a day.  I also select fabrics by touch.  It’s all tactile.  I like to wear something that feels comfortable on my skin and I believe my customers also prefer comfort.

Q:Where do you get your inspiration for each line from?

I save ideas all year long.  I have files on my computer to which I add pictures, sketches, notes, etc…  I may spot a detail on a garment in a store or maybe a cute dress that is worn by a celebrity.  I have been known to take a picture of the TV screen to capture some detail I like.  I pull from these files when I settle down to design a collection.  I pay attention to the clothing people around me wear.  All these factors help me design a collection with the goal that women are going to want every one of my pieces in their closet

Q: Who is your designer role model?

I have always admired Valentino.  He has always stayed true to his design style.  His designs are beautiful and elegant; not fussy or overdone.  His simplistic style showcases the wearer and not just the garment.  His desire is to make his clients feel and look their best.

Q: What is your favourite piece you have designed?

As strange as this may sound, the last garment I designed is my favourite.  I put my all into my work but always aim for higher.  It’s a creative goal.

Q: What made you want to become a designer?

I have always been creative, thanks in part to the imaginative freedom I was given with some of my skating and ballet costumes.  At an early age I found it fascinating that both my grandmother and my mother were sewers and they did not always use or follow a pattern.  I began designing and sewing when I was in high school.  I wanted a career where I could ‘sew for a living’ and my guidance councillor in high school suggested fashion design.  The rest is history.

Q: Why did you choose the company name Amaranth?

My company name was chosen as a fitting match for the flower ‘Amaranthus’, a bloom that changes and rejuvenates every year.  It seemed the perfect choice of name for my business philosophy.

Q: What is your favourite colour?

I don’t really have a favourite colour, but if I had to choose I would say blue.  I like blue as you can wear it at any time of the year.  It comes in a wide variety of shades.  I prefer to use a dark blue or navy as a neutral rather than black or brown.  I have a tendency to sneak in a bit of blue into every collection.  I am drawn to it.

Q: What trend are you most excited for in 2017??

I don’t actually follow ‘the trends’.  I don’t believe in them.  I’m not sure if I’m supposed to admit to that or not, but it’s the truth.  I design based on what is practical, wearable and comfortable.  A lot of clothing that is trendy does not apply to ‘us’.  In Canada, the climate dictates what we wear.  Something that may be really trendy in Paris may not be all that practical here in Canada and certainly not on the prairies.  I design clothes that one can wear for years to come and trends don’t fit into my philosophy.

Q: If you could dress anyone in the world that would you like to design for?

I would love to design an outfit for the Duchess of Cambridge.  Kate Middleton is always on point.  She has a classic style and would look lovely in Amaranth Designs.

Q: What is your favorite part of your business?

That is a very easy question to answer.  I love the design process.  I love getting creative and pulling all my ideas together into a seasonal collection.  It takes a lot of time to ensure the collection has a cohesive look and that each piece is practical and wearable.  I enjoy seeing the joy on my clients’ faces when they feel comfortable, confident and stylish in an Amaranth Designs garment.