At The Square with Caroline Fuss of HARARE NY

The latest interview in our collaborative story series with The Style Line features Caroline Fuss of HARARE NY.

Her commitment to quality craftsmanship, her ethical outlook, and her sincere passion has resonated deeply with us. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to discover more from Caroline herself and learn more about what the Brand Assembly community has contributed to HARARE as whole. Read on to learn more about Caroline and check out an additional part of this interview on The Style Line. 

Please introduce yourself!

I’m a pretty standard Aussie girl. I love animals and nature. Basically I feel most myself when by the beach with a labrador by my side, a vast contrast to my usual NYC life! I value time above all things in this universe; the older I become the more I realize how precious and powerful time is and I become more aware of how I’m spending mine and how to stay present and grounded in this life.

Talk to us a bit about HARARE’s inception? What inspired the name and the passion for an ethical approach to building the brand?

Harare was born on the back end of a trip through Mexico and Guatemala that was meant to only be for seven days and ended up lasting four months! 

I found the most glorious place in Guatemala named Lago Aitlan- an amazing lake in the highlands circled by three epic volcanoes. I parked myself there for three and a half months and learned the art of back-strap weaving and Spanish. While there, I fell in love with the people and the culture. It was difficult to see the textile industry there possibly face extinction due to the lack of financial support to continue these amazing crafts. The story of these people really touched me so much and has now been a personal mission of mine since.

We love your humanized approach to business. With this in mind what role does community play in your life and how has being able to connect with other designers in the Brand Assembly community influenced your approach to design?

Thank you! I’m intrinsically a very open person and I definitely feel that in this world there is enough for everyone and together there is always more power than alone. The most amazing thing about Brand Assembly is not only do they encourage us, but in a sense the space enforces people to interact and share contacts, stories and ideas with one another. Traditionally competitiveness and sometimes catty behavior runs rampant in fashion, however at Brand Assembly people are relaxed, respectful of one another's work and most surprisingly of all encouraging of other people's successes. It's so great to be part of a larger community where we can all relate yet support and ultimately grow as one together. It's a sales space that is human and we are so delighted to be a part of it.

What do you assemble daily?

Textiles. My background is textiles and it has always been my passion. The more I travel and the more culture I see, I become so inspired and I want to indulge in exploring these techniques further. The creative process is so amazing and for me when I find something that gets me going I want to keep reworking it until I evolve it to a point where I’ve exhausted it.

What is one question you think more designers should be asking when it comes to designing artisan-made or sustainable goods? 

"Who made this?" Sustainable is such a broad term and has lately become such a buzz word. It is interesting when you actually dig for the information [and] how many designers don’t know who actually consists of their supply chain and why they call their work sustainable.

In terms of your actual design and aesthetic, what has been the most exciting evolution you've seen in your collections since HARARE's inception?

I think it's the realization that you do not have to reinvent the wheel time and time again. That it's better to take a good idea and refine it until it's perfect and have this piece become your staple and what you're known for. Eventually if you can build enough staples and rework them in slight ways, you will create a loyal customer and a clear point of view. 

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