Greenville woman follows lifelong dream of becoming fashion designer

Local News

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – A childhood dream of becoming a clothing designer came true when a longtime Greenville resident, Kathy Harris, decided to follow her passion for fashion.

It takes a lot of vision to take a piece of fabric and make it designer clothing.

Harris had that vision from an early age.

“I was making Barbie doll clothes at seven years old. I have the original Barbie doll,” said Harris from her studio in the Village of West Greenville.

Stored in shoe boxes in her work space, Harris keeps the tiny clothes she sewed for her Barbie dolls as a young girl growing up in Columbia, S.C.

Harris is still making clothing only now it’s not for dolls.

Now it’s the real deal in the form of her own fashion brand called kottkomm.

“As my tag line goes: classic mod mix. I love menswear classic fabrics. I just don’t think you can ever go wrong. They never go away,” she explained.

Harris knows a lot about things that never go away.

While plugging away at a successful career in real estate, Harris said the idea of following her passion for fashion design was always in the back of her mind.

That is until she got tired of thinking about it and decided to put that dream into action.

“I just went for it,” Harris said.

The catalyst came in 2018 when she entered the “Emerging Designer” competition at Greenville Fashion Week and won.

It was the “kick in the seat to really get busy,” she explained.

Putting a college degree in textile design to use and her vast knowledge of the Greenville real estate market, Harris bought an old building on Pendleton Street in the Village of West Greenville and got to work designing for what she calls the “kottkomm woman.”

Her inspiration comes from combining a love for the mod silhouette with a nod to classic men’s shirting patterns.

Harris now looks back on the moment she took that leap of faith and acted on that little idea in the back of her mind.

“I would encourage anybody that whatever that passion is, don’t let life get in the way. I did let life get in the way but it’s not too late. I’m still here,” she said.

Harris’ ability to see the beauty in things extends beyond fashion and design.

She was one of the first to see the potential in the Village of West Greenville.

When it was still a blighted area, Harris invested early on by purchasing what’s called “The Triangle Building” and opened several artist studios.

Since then she has watched as the area has grown into a now thriving, revitalized area of boutiques, restaurants, and other local businesses.

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