artandculture beauty

Local Spotlight: Haired By Harris

Friday, September 30, 2016 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE

The rise of the queen in modern culture has been an amazing thing to watch. I can recall my during my youth, in the 90s, when I first was inspired by the Queen herself: Rupaul. From Rupaul's uber popular single "Supermodel: You Better Work" to the amazing variety show Rupaul had on VH1, I just couldn't get enough of the flamboyant personality and the fashion - oh gosh the glamorous, bright and spellbinding fashion. My future career in the fashion industry was all but solidified.

Images Courtesy of HairedbyHarris shot by Laura Lopez of Pickapose Photography


Here we are 2 decades later and Rupaul continues to set the bar for fashion, flare and drag quality on LOGO Network. Rupaul's Drag Race has created a cult following and shone light on the beauty that is drag culture. What is even more beautiful is the fact that these shows go beyond the superficial. They highlight the real human spirit that is within each of these performers. In an interview with The Guardian, Rupaul explains:  We’re dealing with people who have been shunned by society and have made a life regardless of what anyone else thinks of them have decided," Rupaul continues to explain that the experiences highlighted on Rupaul's Drag Race “shows the tenacity of the human spirit, which each of us watching relates to. And we root for them. I think that’s what’s so captivating about it, seeing how these beautiful creatures have managed to prevail.”



Two years ago the Redline Project released a feature that put Chicago Drag Queens on the map. A younger generation of ambitious and stylish performers have continued to establish themselves as fixtures of the local drag scene in Boystown. The creativity, style and thought that goes into establishing a personality takes a vision and sometimes a team of people. One entrepreneur who is knee deep in the industry and is often the mastermind behind the hair we see on many a drag performer here in Chicago is Christopher Harris. Known for his fresh and imaginative take on wigs and hairstyling in general, the HairedbyHarris brand has become a not-so-secret trade secret among the drag crowd in Chicago. I wanted to hear more about Christopher's journey and what it has been like launching HairedbyHarris and he was kind enough to share! Keep reading for the full interview:


Chris, can you share a bit about yourself, your background/career and what led you to pursuing a career in the beauty industry?


My name is Christopher Harris and I am the Founder and CEO of Haired by Harris. We are a newly launched online wig company that specializes in stage and high end performance synthetic wigs. I always had a passion for hair design and entertainment. After working in a few starter salons I came to realize that my creative narrative wasn’t being used to its full potential. So I went about a way to bridges the toy two passions into one. 

Can you touch on your brand, Haired by Harris? The vision driving, your customer base and how you are pursuing innovation?


At Haired by Harris we make wigs for clients that want the wig to speak before they even utter a word. We find that to achieve this we have to strive to out do what is being offered at this moment. We are consistently incorporating new trends and styles into our collections, which release every three months.

Where do you draw your inspiration for the work you create – how do you go about exploring new and different techniques in your field?

As cliche as it sounds I really view my career path the same as a traditional artist. The only difference is that my tools are hair and teasing combs. Each collection at Haired by Harris starts with an idea or vibe that I want to showcase. Our first collection, which launched August 1st, focused on my family with each wig being named and styled based on my view of certain relatives. At this moment I’m obsessed with the glam of the 70’s so our second and upcoming collection will focus on young, free-loving spirits. Which will showcase braids, texture, and huge volume.

What led you to launching your brand, what are you hoping to do in the next 5 years in terms of growth and outreach?

My purpose and main reason behind launching Haired by Harris was to be able to bring my creative narrative to life and legitimize my idea on wig making and sales. Social media and clever marketing tactics have allowed us to reach masses that we never envisioned within our first month. In 5 years we at Haired by Harris are planning to see vast growth, a conquered domestic market, and to be a leading name within the wig community.

What has been your proudest moment on this journey so far?


Waking up on August 1st, 2016 had to be the proudest moment on this journey so far. Something about waking up and owning a legal tax paying company that I created and started on my own is hard to top. Everyday that followed allowed for that feeling to magnify my passion for what I created. 


Have you faced obstacles on this journey and if so, how did you overcome?

As a new online startup every first is an obstacle. Staying calm and remembering the end goal seems to be the best form of attack. If you don’t allow the stress and pressure to out weigh the positive anything can be overcome.

What kind of hair/beauty trends are you seeing that you think our readers should be playing with and keeping in mind when trying to up their beauty game?

We are entering the best time of the year for fashion..Fall! When styling remember to go for a sophisticated chill vibe. School room glam. Top knots, a dark lip, and a warm eyelid always gets A’s across the board.

What kind of advice would you give a person who is interested in pursuing a career in the beauty industry or in launching their own brand?


You have to ask yourself why the beauty industry? Is it because you love the transformation, the potential profit, or XYZ? The beauty industry is an amazing industry but it is one of the hardest to be a part of. It’s opinionated and loud at times. So before you decide to enter, think of what you want to bring to it and why it’s important. Then stick to your guns and make your path.

Are there any mentors that have had a huge impact on you and your career?
Ms. Linda, my cosmetology instructor, was my first mentor in this field. She taught me that I could be a success by doing two things. Stay humble and work harder then everyone else. I’ve taken that advice and applied it to all aspects of my life and it has paid off and then some. My second mentor is Julio Hernandez, owner of J. Antonio Salon here in Chicago. He took me under his wing right out of hair school and taught me the crucial tools and skills that are needed to be a contender in this industry. Finding a mentor is important to any new artist. It helps the process and allows you to grow in leaps and bounds.

Finally, where can we learn more about you and your brand?

Haired by Harris' current collection of wigs and apparel can be found online at www.hairedbyharris.com. All custom request can be emailed directly to chris@hairedbyharris.com. And of course we can be found on social media at the following:

Facebook:facebook.com/HairedByHarris

Instagram:@HairedbyHarris

Twitter:@HairedbyHarris

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