7.30.2012

Getting to Know: Designer Mitchell Harris and an AVEN Clothing Giveaway

Admirable local fashion design isn't easy to come by in my opinion, but it does exist.   While there is a growing territory of fashion-forward stylists, designers and consumers in Utah, happening upon an artist I admire and whose work I appreciate is still a rarity.  

Getting to know Mitchell Harris during recent weeks has been one of those rare and pleasant surprises.   He is the designer behind AVEN Clothing (a successful children's line launched just this year with partner and photographer Angie Monson) and has his own menswear and women's lines on the horizon.   Mitch took a sit with me recently to talk about AVEN, his background, and the inspiration for his work.

As is tradition with artist profiles, I will be hosting TWO giveaways (one here on SceneSister.com and the other--for the first time!-- on Instagram) courtesy of AVEN Clothing.   I hope you will check out their incredible clothes and submit for the giveaway at the end of this post.  

PART I

Mitch was always an artist at heart, obsessing over drawing or sculpting the human form during his high school years.  And although he had a defined interest and consciousness about fashion, it didn't seem like a tangible career direction at the time.   He attended UVU on an art scholarship and worked as an apprentice with an uncle who is a professional sculptor-- these environments seemed a natural fit for Mitch, until he returned home from a two-year mission with a complete loss of appetite for what he had been doing before he left.   After attempting to rekindle a creative fire, Mitch finally decided to change his direction and opted to head into Exercise Science and Personal Training (which really doesn't seem like too much of a departure) but always hoped the desire to create art would resurface in his life.  



Within a few years Mitch started drawing again.  An associate of his was interested in starting a clothing line, and knowing Mitch could draw, prompted him to create some early sketches.   While Mitch was trying to re-train his hands to create what he knew he used to be able to do, he was also confronted by the challenge of a new aspect of art within the fashion industry.  But even still, his friend took note of his skill and encouraged Mitch to apply to fashion schools-- going so far as to research schools in California (where they were working at the time) and setting up appointments for Mitch to meet with the advisors.   It wasn't until they were taking a tour at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, when Mitch's skepticism took a back seat and he felt drawn into the industry's art and atmosphere.  While walking through a hall of alumni sketches, Mitch was intrigued by the depth of artistic impact:

"...I never thought until that moment that fashion was incredibly artistic.  It struck me then there was more to fashion than a shirt and a pair of pants--The same principles of design used in drawing or sculpting were still applicable to creating clothing." 

With a new understanding under his belt, Mitch applied to FIDM and moved to LA to attend the school in 2009.   After a rigorous year and a half, Mitch graduated from FIDM and debated making a transition to Europe or New York City, but felt a stronger inclination to return to Utah.  Not a likely decision for a future in fashion, but surprisingly, a good move for Mitch.   Once back in the Beehive State his brother helped Mitch build a connection with photographer Angie Monson, who for years had been wanting to start an edgier and hip children's clothing line.   After some delays and working through developing their partnership roles (as all new and small businesses must experience), Angie and Mitch partnered up and AVEN Clothing debuted their first line in the spring of 2012.   (See more photos of the AVEN products below)



PART II

While Mitchell Harris' developing story is interesting and from what I can tell, fate-driven, what I find most intriguing is the way his mind works.  

Mitch sees much of the world in Black and White.  It's not the kind of black and white we first think of, which creates divisions and distinct barriers, but rather a spectrum within those fields opening up shades and depths.  Blacks and Whites fill Mitch's perception of spirituality, music, and art-- providing a course to an often-uncharted level of depth within each context.  

With this foundation in mind, Mitch's designs are inspired by war-era industrialism, founded by an inspiring timelessness and significance.   After talking more about this, it became obvious his grandfather (a WWII Veteran) has had a heavy impact on Mitch's designs and what the clothing emulates: a sense of military purpose and historical nobility, not a far-cry from Mitchell Harris himself.  

(Mitch's Grandfather, photos used with permission)

























It seemed fitting to shoot Mitch wearing his own designs, on black and white film-- 

(this particular Polaroid portrait was taken by Alisha Stamper at the Salt Lake Farmer's Market.  Once I heard about the impact of Mitch's grandfather in his life, I thought it would be wonderful to show their two profiles in as similar mediums as possible.  Thank you, Alisha!)





(The AVEN Denim Blazer)

(The AVEN Grey Corduroys












(Shirt + Suspenders + Denim's-- all Mitch's design)


(Black Buttons.  No need for a tie)

(Jacket-- Mitch's design)

I love the gratification of instant photos, so I brought my Fuji Instax along on our shoot to get a few shots to take home.  Here are a few blog-worthy photos--

(Fuji Instax)

(Fuji Instax.  Love these shoes.)

I hope you enjoy the photos, his clothes, and Mitch as much as I have.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.  Congrats to Carolee Beckham and Raquel Callis for winning! And thank you to everyone else for their entries here and on Instagram! 

Want to see some of those happening AVEN clothes on your kids?  There will be TWO $50 Giftcard Giveaways!  Here are the deets: 
  •  BLOG GIVEAWAY-- 
    1. "LIKE" the Scene Sister Facebook page
    2. "LIKE" the AVEN Clothing Facebook page
    3. Visit www.AVENClothing.com and pick a product you like
    4. Leave a comment on this post about which product you love the best and who you would love to see it on! 
  • INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY--
    1. Visit www.AVENClothing.com from your smart phone
    2. Take a screen shot of a product you love
    3. Post it to Instagram, using the hashtag #AVENCLOTHING, and a comment about who you would like to see it on  (and if you tag @SceneSister that would be great, too!)  ENTER AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WISH! 
  • EXTRA ENTRIES--
    • Share an AVEN Clothing photo, a link to this post, on Twitter or Facebook-- just be sure to tag the Scene Sister facebook or Twitter page so I know you have shared it! 
  • WINNERS-- will be announced on Monday, August 6th.  You may enter through 12PM on that day! 
Good luck!  Thank you for entering and thank you for supporting local art and commerce! 

(Photo courtesy of AVEN Clothing)



24 comments:

  1. His clothes rock! And he likes Station 22 Food so he must be AWESOME!

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  2. It's SOOOO refreshing to see well designed boys clothing! I've searched high and low- trust me! I'm super excited about Aven Clothing! I love the brown chinos the best. Preschool shopping here I come!

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    1. Tell me about it! So happy you love it! Thanks for entering :)

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  3. I love the chinos and the raglan striped T (obviously). And while I realize it isn't possible for them to fit me, I still wish it. That being said, I probably will hold onto them to dress my future babes in.

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    1. I don't know...I bet that T would fit you just fine!

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  4. I would love the gray corduroys! And who would rock them? Emers of course! :) http://www.avenclothing.com/product/grey-skinny-cords

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    1. My favorite baby in my favorite pants! Here's hoping! Thank for entering here and on Instagam!

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  5. I am sooo obsessed with all of these clothes!
    Link NEEDS that cropped vest, and that hoodie pullover, and those grey cords... I could keep going...

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    1. Thanks for entering, Julie! I couldn't picture any child of yours in anthing less ;)

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  6. I love the gray cords and the striped T! my 2 year old Boston would look amazing in these clothes!

    ali.holt(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  7. I posted a picture to my facebook (n.c. baby blog, my fan page)

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=409365755788022&set=a.222143681176898.54358.147805585277375&type=1&theater

    ali.holt(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thanks or al the entries, Ali!

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  8. I <3 your photos

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    1. Thanks,Suz! Some of my favorites on this post!

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  9. Britt M8/05/2012

    Love, love, love the hooded pullover! It would be awesome for my 4-y.o.!

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  10. we LOVE the olive gray chinos, but our absolute favorite is the suspenders. As a mom of two boys, I'm always on the lookout for awesome boy fashion!

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  11. I LOVE the hooded pull over an the suspenders,there so adorable...my 6 yr old would look great starting 1st grade this year!!

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  12. I shared the giveaway on Facebook!!

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  13. i love the gray hoodie. my little guy would love it!

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  14. Jessica V8/06/2012

    We love the hooded pullover it's perfect for my little Oliver! Boys need more black
    -liked scene sister & aven clothing on facebook
    -shared link on Facebook

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  15. Silvia Padilla8/06/2012

    The stripe raglan t-shirt need to be in my boys closet. Love the designs and story, great clothing.

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  16. I love the denim blazer and the blue corduroys for my little boy, Ezra. who am i kidding? i LOVE it ALL and the photo shoot is breathtakingly beautiful!

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    Replies
    1. Racquel! You are the winner from the blogpost comments! Can you inbox me your email addy on Facebook?

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