Harris Tapper co-founders Sarah Harris Gould and Lauren Tapper on trusting their intuition and adapting to change

23 May 2024
By Fashion Quarterly

Designers and co-founders of locally-loved label Harris Tapper share the highs and lows of their business — and everything they've learned along the way.

Sarah (left) wears: Harris Tapper ‘Tilmens’ blazer, $799, and ‘Abel’ trousers, $699. Meadowlark ‘Lava Heart’ ring, $585. Her own shoes. Lauren (right) wears: Harris Tapper ‘Agatha’ bomber, $649, and ‘Hana’ skirt, $899. Her own shoes.

Sarah Harris Gould:

The vulnerability that comes from publishing your own work is intimidating but freeing. It feels like a long time ago, but I guess we felt ready. A lot of preparation and hard work for months and months goes on before the launch date. During Covid we felt so disconnected from international wholesale, so we pulled back to focus purely on markets that felt more in our control — New Zealand and Australia. That risk has paid off beyond our expectations. It’s taught us to trust our intuition. 

It’s very easy to take all the advice you receive on board but the noise just ended up diluting our own point of view. We’ve learned to trust ourselves first. 

We truly value each other’s point of view, so working together and protecting our relationship has helped us grow through the hardest times. All relationships, whether professional or personal, are like living organisms that need to be nurtured. I’m never without a pair of ‘Irving’ trousers in my work wardrobe. Having two small children, versatility and durability are important to me right now and these trousers look chic but are also child-proof.

Lauren Tapper:

I loved fashion from an early age. I studied fashion design at university and worked in various parts of the industry, such as public relations and merchandising, before meeting Sarah and starting Harris Tapper. I’ve always loved design, which I think has inspired me and driven our point of view with our work. The secret to our success is that we’ve learned to stay true to our own point of view. 

Our intention is to make beautiful, well-proportioned, considered products that serve women rather than dictate to them in their individual lives. 

I think we both have so much respect for each other, it has helped keep us focussed and aligned even in incredibly stressful moments. The best piece of advice wasn’t given to me, but Margiela once said about his own collection, “It’s for a tiny group of women and not everyone will like it. It’s important to do what you want, and there will always be some people who agree.” We’re excited for our pre-fall collection that will be launching in May — a beautiful range of coats, jackets, knitwear and suiting. My advice for anyone wanting to get in the industry is that gaining experience in the industry is so important. It will allow you to understand your chosen industry better and expose you to areas you previously didn’t know existed.

Words as told to: Sarah Murray
Photography: Stephen Tilley
Styling: Amberley Colby
Hair & Make-up: Chanelle Aldridge

This article originally appeared in Fashion Quarterly‘s ‘Ambition’ issue. 

In the ever-evolving world of entrepreneurship, a wave of power players are seizing the spotlight — women who are not just navigating, but conquering the uncharted territory in their chosen fields. In this series, we get to know nine of them. We ask how they got to where they are, and what challenges, career highlights and sacrifices they faced along the way. From startups to empires, we tell the stories of women who are not just entrepreneurs — they are trailblazers, thinkers, disruptors and dreamers.

Learn more in Fashion Quarterly‘s autumn 2024 ‘Ambition’ issue. 


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