Chicago trend designer Robin Harris location regular in partnerships with females athletes

There is success to be located in a nicely-timed immediate information on social media.

Just ask Model Atelier founder and CEO Robin Harris.

‘‘When I begun as a designer, I necessary to determine out how to get my styles to tall girls,’’ Harris mentioned. ‘‘I slid into a [WNBA] player’s DMs and reported: ‘Hey, I appreciate your appear. I consider you will seem astounding in our brand name. Can I do a picture shoot with you?’ ’’

That player was Cheyenne Parker, whom the Sky experienced picked fifth overall in the 2015 WNBA Draft. (She now performs for the Aspiration.)

The romantic relationship Harris fostered with Parker, who responded to her DM with a resounding ‘‘yes,’’ led to an official partnership with the Sky in 2016 and the Women’s Nationwide Basketball Players Association in 2018. Both partnerships place Design Atelier on the map, Harris claimed, and helped her to create interactions with her focus on audience: women’s athletes.

Because then, Harris has built a shopper listing that incorporates not only Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike but a lengthy listing of coaches and agents in women’s sporting activities. Harris’ layouts have been worn on purple carpets, which include these 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 Product Atelier, speaks with crew member Christina Edwards within the firm’s Hyde Park studio.

Now she’s having her Chicago-centered manufacturer to new heights and is carrying out it by developing an unprecedented partnership with the WNBA’s budding stars. Harris’ intention is to present athletes with a services that opens a doorway to new organization possibilities.

‘‘These gamers have an chance to establish their brand names through vogue,’’ Harris claimed. ‘‘I come to feel like it is a skipped chance there when they aren’t highlighted in this sort of a way.’’

At the WNBA Draft this month, Harris teamed up with her 2nd team of draftees to present a whole-scale vogue knowledge. She calls it ‘‘the style suite.’’

The suite contains custom appears, as well as complete hair and make-up. But prior to the athletes even enter the suite, which was stationed at the draftees’ lodge, Harris had to do her legwork.

It started off with setting up her 2023 draft roster, which showcased six gamers, 5 of whom were major-10 draft picks. Very last yr, Harris labored with Desire guard Rhyne Howard, the No. 1 in general pick and 2022 WNBA Rookie of the 12 months.

One component of the women’s video game that has prevented athletes from capitalizing on worthwhile endorsement chances just before draft night is timing. There is about a 7 days that separates the NCAA women’s championship match from the WNBA Draft, when compared to the practically three months in between the NCAA men’s title recreation and the NBA Draft.

For the adult men, that time translates to valuable partnership promotions just before draft night. For instance, Johnny Davis, who was picked with the 10th general choose by the Wizards in 2022, was showcased in a Taco Bell advertisement that ran for additional than a thirty day period foremost up to the draft.

Title, picture and likeness agreements have closed that gap by permitting athletes to sign with agents and obtain economical compensation without the need of penalty, but brands still need to present WNBA athletes with the similar draft-night time prospects they are supplying their NBA counterparts.

‘‘You’ll see countless posts of satisfies from the NBA Draft,’’ reported Rheann Engelke, the senior director of expertise marketing at Stoked Management Group. ‘‘Not only are they having that personalized go well with provided for them, [but] they have a paycheck coming with it. There is no fashion associate that is stepping up to do that on the women’s side.’’

Harris is altering that.

Next general choose Diamond Miller, 3rd total decide on Maddy Siegrist, fourth all round pick Stephanie Soares and 24th all round pick Brea Beal had been putting on tailor made seems to be from Model Atelier for the WNBA Draft. Harris also styled fifth overall pick Lou Lopez Senechal and sixth over-all decide Haley Jones in looks from Barbaton Atelier and Sergio Hudson, respectively.

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

Robin Harris seems to be out the window of her Hyde Park studio.

Once Harris had her roster established, she created person temper boards for every player that in-depth their look, which include hair and make-up inspiration, cloth swatches, shoes and accessories. It took Harris two months to discuss with each and every player individually about their draft-evening eyesight, get measurements, source elements and convey every thing alongside one another in the fashion suite.

Harris was intentional about performing with a group of Black artists to convey each athlete’s eyesight to daily life. Tinika Blackmon was in demand of operations, Crystal B. King and Egypt Bucks had been the hairstylists, Dominique Bones-Lark was the on-internet site tailor, and Kim Roxie and Nordia Gordon had been the makeup artists.

By the finish of draft night time, social media was ablaze with commentary about the distinctive seems to be built and styled by Harris and her workforce.

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

Harris’ vogue vocation commenced as a product. Immediately after traveling the environment with Ford Designs, Harris — who graduated from Proviso East and lives in Hyde Park — knowledgeable firsthand what it was like to don clothes tailor-made to in good shape her 6-1 frame effectively. The self-assurance she felt in outfits that permitted her to embrace her peak was a experience she wanted to supply to other ladies.

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

‘‘I took that exact same electrical power after I was ready to be accomplished with modeling and said, ‘I’m heading to do this for the tall women who are remaining out,’ ’’ Harris said. ‘‘No 1 is building prolonged pants for a 6-6 man or woman. Stephanie Soares, for case in point, Model Atelier designed a suit to in shape all of her, and she’s by no means had that right before.’’

Model Atelier is running out of a studio house in The Penthouse in Hyde Park. Harris’ vision includes a brick-and-mortar style house in Chicago, with the storefront, design and style area and operations all below one particular roof.

Far more essential to Harris than any social-media excitement she observed following the draft, however, was the appear on the 6 athletes’ faces as they glanced in the mirror at their eyesight brought to lifetime. As she viewed each athlete wander throughout the stage, exuding the self confidence she dreamed of encouraging deliver ‘‘vertically blessed’’ ladies when she launched Product Atelier, she was defeat with emotion.

‘‘It suggests a large amount to know I am carrying out some thing that is setting the bar definitely higher and opening doors,’’ Harris claimed. ‘‘I invite other luxury models to give accessibility to these players, as well.’’

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

Robin Harris is at perform in Design 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 Product Atelier, who designed Brea Beal’s outfit on WNBA’s Draft evening, poses with Beal’s outfit in Model Atelier’s studio at The Penthouse Hyde Park in the Hyde Park community.


Robin Harris, founder of Model Atelier, who created and styled six gamers picked in the 2023 WNBA draft shows the athletes’ remaining looks from draft evening.


Robin Harris released Model Atelier in 2015 with the demands of “vertically blessed” women in mind.