Chris Harris is an award winning Atlanta-based designer and milliner. After several years designing costumes for theatrical, film and entertainment productions in Hollywood, she turned her attention to creating one-of-a-kind hats and women's fashion accessories in a custom line, That Garrison Girl.
She grew up as Chris Garrison in a small north Georgia town, the daughter of a father who enjoyed making wooden toys and a resourceful mother who sewed clothes and made dolls. When Chris began stylizing designs of her own and people in town would ask, "Who made that?", the answer would usually be, "That Garrison Girl."
Her fine couture millinery has been featured in exclusive specialty shops and boutiques throughout the southeast, southwest, midwest, California, New England and mid-Atlantic states, and her flair for original design is represented in each of her hats. She creates hand-sculpted cloches, glamorous wide-brimmed braided straw Derby Hats and frothy wedding creations, but also makes soft travel and summer hats that have the comfortable elegance of a rumpled linen suit. Her style is nostalgic and romantic, but always wearable. Florals, feathers, antique and designer buttons, lace, netting or beaded appliqués distinguish each creation. And, like snowflakes, no two That Garrison Girl hats are exactly the same. Each design ensures the wearer a singular look that won't be duplicated.
"After graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Graphic Arts, I began designing costumes for theatrical productions in Atlanta, collecting hats and vintage clothing as a hobby. I always loved wearing hats. A few years later, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and got a job working at Warner Bros. in Burbank as a "temp". Everyday I'd wear a different hat that I made to another department on the studio lot. People began stopping me when the hat I was wearing caught their eye, and I started selling them off my head to actresses and studio employees. I quickly became known on the lot as the "Hat Lady". When I would audition for theatrical roles or commercials, I sometimes wore a hat to my casting calls - even when I didn't get the part, I often sold the hat!"
"My first excursions into millinery were hats that I built on my own head and on kitchen pots! They had a very 1920's period ambience - each completely original. I hand-dyed them and often shaped flowers directly into the fabric. Trims were made separately, with the ribbons, bands and florals all interchangeable."
"Since my hats have no front or back, by simply turning the hat and changing the adornments (ribbons, bands, florals or pins), you can have a different look able to match any outfit. I want my clients to feel special when wearing a That Garrison Girl hat, so I add little accoutréments and appliqués to make each hat special unto itself. My hats are colorful, elegant and dramatic, no two alike, all hand-shaped, each an original statement - each a hat with a personality all its own!"