1. Tell me a little bit about yourself. What was the first piece you made?My name is Nikki Harris. I was born and raised in Baltimore. I discovered fashion by accident. I have always been creative and good with my hands. I taught myself to crochet with the book Crocheting For Dummies. HGE Designs was started shortley after my son was diagnosed with autism. Being a middle income family, we made too much for any assistance and not enough to afford repsite and other forms of therapy.I started selling hats and scarves and soon realized my creativity could take me further..The first piece I ever made was a Granny square.
2.How has your designs evolved since your first piece? How would you describe the process of coming up with a new item?I have evolved tremendously. I make a constant effort to learn new techniques in order to master my craft. I still take crochet classes and constantly buy new books. I’ve learned the best techniques from some older ladies in Joanne Fabrics. I started with basic hats and scarves. Since I’ve moved on to dramatic accessories, dresses, sweaters, swim wear as well as portraits and Icon Camo Jackets. The Icon Camo Jackets are an amazing collaboration with The Dollhouse Boutique’s owner and designer Ms. Natalie Karyl. It is one of her amazing camo jackets adorned with a crochet portrait on the back. My inspirations come from current fashion and anything Prince related like ruffles and purple. I love anything deconstructed with rips and fringe.
3. When you aren’t coming up with a new item for your line, what do you like to do?
I love to cook and eat new foods. I am almost always crocheting. Wether I’m home watching tv or at my full time job with the Baltimore City Fire Department. I try to make an effort to put the hooks down and engage with my family. Having a child with autism really limits personal time for couples. My son wakes up almost everyday at 3:00 a.m., so those moments my huband and I can just enjoy dinner out are great!
4. How would you describe the Baltimore fashion scene? What is something you like to see improved in the Baltimore fashion scene? What are your fave boutiques in Baltimore and why?
I have been blessed to work with some amazing people. Unfortunatley due to raising a child wih autism, I don’t get to be apart of the scene much. Many people know my work but not necessarily the face behind it. I definately would like to see more collaborations between artists. Baltimore ha so many talented artist that could stand toe to toe with the big names in fashion. I always feel like if you can make it here, you really can make it anywhere. My favorite boutiques include The Dollhouse Boutique, Katwalk Boutique and The Zone. I love them because they carry unique pieces. Fashion is your personal art. I remember standing in front of The Dollhouse promising myself one day I was going to buy myself something from there. Now they carry unique pieces that I made by hand.
5.What are your plans for your brand in 2016? What is your top three fave new items for 2016 and why?In 2016 I would like to establish my non profit organization and become self employed full time. My fashions have been a blessing to my son and I would love to use my talent to bless other children and adults living with autism. We have done fashion shows in the past and raised money for a playground and to purchase iPads for non-verbal students. I see fashion as my craft that I can use to make a difference in the lives of other families. I would tell them to pay close attention to the seasons, color trends(or just trends in general) and always study your craft. If you like fashion, follow the best stylist you can find. Same thing for hair, makeup and nails. Don’t be afraid to ask for a mentor, you would be surprised how many people would help you.