Runways around the world are getting a dose of Warren County.
Harrison Johnson, 24, from Scandia, lives in Brooklyn and works as an assistant designer for Ralph Lauren men's blue Label cut and sew knits. His path into the world of fashion was unconventional as he studied chemical engineering for a year at Drexel University in Philadelphia before switching to fashion design with a minor in video production.
In 2011, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in fashion design. While in school, he interned with Tumi Outerwear in New York, Ada Zanditon in London and Simon Spurr also in New York.
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Harrison Johnson is shown at his Drexel Senior Collection Fashion Show.
"I'm not entirely sure why I chose fashion, but it probably has something to do with the fact that my mother, Melinda, now works for Blair," Harrison said.
A revelation came when Harrison was in his junior year of high school and thinking about everything he wanted to wear snowboarding but it didn't exist. After those first thoughts about design, he started to dress differently and got into styling.
Harrison said after seeing how slow and unexpressive engineering can be, he decided to take up fashion as a career. He said clothing's expression of cultural values interests him the most.
"New trends emerge that rebel against the ideas of the current and established norms," Harrison said. "A designer's ability to be a part of this world and even effect change is the most exciting aspect to me."
Themes of minimalism and futurism dominate Harrison's work. Eschewing frilly and ornamental clothing, everything he does has a reason.
For his senior thesis, Harrison designed three men's and three women's looks. They have been featured in the book "Emerging Fashion Designers 3," including the cover.
After watching "Beyond the Fold" about origami, Harrison said he drew inspiration for his thesis. The documentary discusses how the discipline is used in more than crafts with applications in folding solar sails on satellites and determining how proteins fold into genes.
Many Drexel students before him and in his class had been featured in the book. When Harrison learned he had made the cover, he said he was ecstatic.
On his family's dairy farm, Harrison grew up with an appreciation for nature. It taught him about birth and life and he said he tries to bring balance to his work and use sustainable materials and processes when possible.
"Warren County is most certainly not a fashion mecca, but I feel that it gave me a unique perspective that has shaped who I am as a designer," Harrison said.