December 1, 2023


Shopping, Clothing & Fashion

Chicago trend designer Robin Harris placing regular in partnerships with women of all ages athletes

There is good results to be observed in a very well-timed immediate information on social media.

Just question Product Atelier founder and CEO Robin Harris.

‘‘When I began as a designer, I required to figure out how to get my models to tall ladies,’’ Harris said. ‘‘I slid into a [WNBA] player’s DMs and reported: ‘Hey, I adore your glimpse. I believe you will look amazing in our manufacturer. Can I do a photo shoot with you?’ ’’

That participant was Cheyenne Parker, whom the Sky experienced picked fifth in general in the 2015 WNBA Draft. (She now performs for the Dream.)

The connection Harris fostered with Parker, who responded to her DM with a resounding ‘‘yes,’’ led to an formal partnership with the Sky in 2016 and the Women’s Nationwide Basketball Gamers Association in 2018. Both equally partnerships set Product Atelier on the map, Harris reported, and aided her to set up associations with her concentrate on audience: women’s athletes.

Considering that then, Harris has built a shopper list that features not only Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike but a long checklist of coaches and agents in women’s sporting activities. Harris’ styles have been worn on pink carpets, like those people of the ESPYs and the Oscars.

Robin Harris, founder of Model Atelier, speaks with team member Christina Edwards inside the firm’s Hyde Park studio.

Robin Harris, founder of Design Atelier, speaks with workforce member Christina Edwards inside the firm’s Hyde Park studio.

Now she’s taking her Chicago-dependent brand name to new heights and is accomplishing it by setting up an unprecedented partnership with the WNBA’s budding stars. Harris’ purpose is to present athletes with a company that opens a door to new small business opportunities.

‘‘These players have an possibility to produce their makes via manner,’’ Harris claimed. ‘‘I feel like it’s a skipped chance there when they aren’t highlighted in such a way.’’

At the WNBA Draft this month, Harris teamed up with her 2nd team of draftees to present a full-scale trend working experience. She phone calls it ‘‘the design suite.’’

The suite involves personalized appears, plus entire hair and make-up. But just before the athletes even enter the suite, which was stationed at the draftees’ hotel, Harris had to do her legwork.

It started with creating her 2023 draft roster, which featured six gamers, five of whom were being prime-10 draft picks. Final yr, Harris labored with Aspiration guard Rhyne Howard, the No. 1 over-all choose and 2022 WNBA Rookie of the Year.

Just one component of the women’s match that has prevented athletes from capitalizing on rewarding endorsement alternatives ahead of draft evening is timing. There is about a week that separates the NCAA women’s championship video game from the WNBA Draft, as opposed to the nearly a few months between the NCAA men’s title video game and the NBA Draft.

For the guys, that time interprets to valuable partnership specials right before draft evening. For illustration, Johnny Davis, who was chosen with the 10th in general decide by the Wizards in 2022, was showcased in a Taco Bell ad that ran for much more than a thirty day period major up to the draft.

Name, impression and likeness agreements have shut that hole by allowing for athletes to sign with brokers and acquire financial payment with no penalty, but brands however need to have to present WNBA athletes with the very same draft-evening chances they are supplying their NBA counterparts.

‘‘You’ll see countless posts of suits from the NBA Draft,’’ said Rheann Engelke, the senior director of talent promoting at Stoked Administration Team. ‘‘Not only are they having that custom accommodate furnished for them, [but] they have a paycheck coming with it. There is no fashion lover that is stepping up to do that on the women’s aspect.’’

Harris is shifting that.

Next over-all decide Diamond Miller, third overall choose Maddy Siegrist, fourth all round select Stephanie Soares and 24th all round choose Brea Beal were being sporting personalized looks from Product Atelier for the WNBA Draft. Harris also styled fifth all round select Lou Lopez Senechal and sixth over-all decide Haley Jones in seems from Barbaton Atelier and Sergio Hudson, respectively.

Robin Harris looks out the window of her Hyde Park studio.

Robin Harris looks out the window of her Hyde Park studio.

The moment Harris had her roster set, she created individual temper boards for every single participant that comprehensive their glance, like hair and makeup inspiration, fabric swatches, shoes and accessories. It took Harris two months to converse with every single player individually about their draft-evening eyesight, get measurements, source resources and provide anything with each other in the design suite.

Harris was intentional about working with a staff of Black artists to convey every athlete’s vision to life. Tinika Blackmon was in demand of operations, Crystal B. King and Egypt Bucks were being the hairstylists, Dominique Bones-Lark was the on-internet site tailor, and Kim Roxie and Nordia Gordon were the make-up artists.

By the close of draft evening, social media was ablaze with commentary about the exceptional seems to be intended and styled by Harris and her crew.

‘‘I felt like a superwoman with these shoulders and sneakers,’’ Jones informed Harris ahead of leaving the suite.

Harris’ fashion job commenced as a model. After touring the world with Ford Types, Harris — who graduated from Proviso East and lives in Hyde Park — seasoned firsthand what it was like to don garments personalized to healthy her 6-1 body effectively. The self esteem she felt in dresses that permitted her to embrace her top was a sensation she required to present to other gals.

Harris introduced Model Atelier in 2015 with that emotion in mind.

‘‘I took that exact strength at the time I was all set to be performed with modeling and reported, ‘I’m heading to do this for the tall ladies who are left out,’ ’’ Harris stated. ‘‘No 1 is building lengthy pants for a 6-6 person. Stephanie Soares, for example, Product Atelier developed a suit to suit all of her, and she’s in no way had that in advance of.’’

Model Atelier is running out of a studio space in The Penthouse in Hyde Park. Harris’ vision includes a brick-and-mortar manner household in Chicago, with the storefront, design space and operations all less than a person roof.

More critical to Harris than any social-media excitement she noticed immediately after the draft, nonetheless, was the glimpse on the 6 athletes’ faces as they glanced in the mirror at their eyesight brought to existence. As she watched just about every athlete wander throughout the phase, exuding the self confidence she dreamed of assisting provide ‘‘vertically blessed’’ girls when she launched Design Atelier, she was prevail over with emotion.

‘‘It means a whole lot to know I am carrying out one thing that is setting the bar really high and opening doors,’’ Harris said. ‘‘I invite other luxurious brand names to give obtain to these players, as effectively.’’

Robin Harris is at work in Model Atelier’s studio.

Robin Harris is at work in Model Atelier’s studio.

Robin Harris, founder of Model Atelier, who designed Brea Beal’s outfit on WNBA’s Draft night, poses with Beal’s outfit in Model Atelier’s studio at The Penthouse Hyde Park in the Hyde Park neighborhood.

Robin Harris, founder of Model Atelier, who designed Brea Beal’s outfit on WNBA’s Draft night time, poses with Beal’s outfit in Design Atelier’s studio at The Penthouse Hyde Park in the Hyde Park neighborhood.


Robin Harris, founder of Model Atelier, who developed and styled 6 gamers picked in the 2023 WNBA draft demonstrates the athletes’ final seems from draft evening.


Robin Harris introduced Model Atelier in 2015 with the desires of “vertically blessed” women of all ages in intellect.