Everything Harry Styles wears becomes news fodder. Whether he’s rocking a dress or a Halloween costume, his fearless sartorial statements only make him more lovable in the eyes of his ever-growing fan base. You could argue his style is what he’s become known for in recent years—pre-Don’t Worry Darling press tour, at least—but OG followers are aware that Styles’ penchant for fashion began much earlier than that.
In the early days of One Direction, where Styles got his start, Tumblr was the social platform where so-called “Directioners” found a community and were collectively obsessed over the British boy band. Even I had a Tumblr dedicated to the junction of 1D and fashion. (Look at me now!) This particular crossroad of interest was not uncommon. Every article of clothing worn by the boys would be singled out, documented, critiqued, and restyled by countless lovestruck teenagers on blogs and fan accounts alike.
To put it plainly, fashion wasn’t always Styles’ thing. His initial uniform of khakis, plain white tees, and blazers morphed into ultra-skinny jeans, graphic T-shirts, and hats as the band and its fans aged. From its inception in 2010 to its (devastating) demise in 2016, each of 1D’s members underwent their own fashion evolution. Styles’ sartorial journey since going solo? It can’t be ignored.
“If we’re talking about Harry Styles, we have to talk about Harry Lambert,” says the designer Ed Lee, referencing the celebrity stylist famous for dressing the Grammy-winning artist. Lee worked with “The Harrys” back in 2014, when Lambert first started styling the singer. He had just graduated from London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins when Lambert reached out to use the young designer’s pieces for editorial shoots. “I was freaking out,” Lee remembers. “For a second, I thought, Was that a spam e-mail?” Soon after, Lambert started working with Styles—and he didn’t stop coming to Lee.
When One Direction performed on Saturday Night Live in December 2014, Lambert pulled one of Lee’s shirts for Styles to wear, and Tumblr ate it up. “That was like the biggest news for me that year. It was epic for me.”
Lee humbly says he “guesses” Styles was “pretty happy” with the shirt, because after that, Lambert asked him to design an entire closet of options for the star. Lee dug into his expansive collection of discarded, recycled and upcycled textiles to do so.
When it comes to design, Lee values fluidity and open-minded thinking. A lack of rigidity, he says, is a foundational part of his approach. “I believe the textiles speak to me,” he shares. His process begins with the fabric. Before he thinks about sketching, draping, or cutting, the material is paramount. “I believe you need to feel comfortable. That’s the first thing for me in designing. Then, on top of that,