Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding lie in the intermediary space between creative vision and functionality, as their label palmer//harding epitomises a fusion of oppositions in both its ethos and craft.   

After meeting at Central Saint Martins, Levi and Matthew sought to innovate shirting – and the rest is history. From their first collection, featuring 17 white shirts,
they continue to push the limits of the classic shirt. Duality is their focus: in their coalescing of “left brain/right brain”, the label mixes draped fabrics with rigid structure and asymmetric lines, evoking a balance of the masculine and feminine.

But the dualities don’t stop with the clothing. At the core of the label’s ethos is striking a family and business balance – their 2015 office in fact briefly functioned as both a live and work space, which encouraged a family environment amidst the professionalism of the fashion industry.

What's the mantra you tell yourself first thing in the morning?
Levi: I’m thankful.
Matthew: My morning mantra is “hurry up and get ready so that you get to the gym when it opens and you can get the equipment you want first”.

How do you take your coffee?
L: Black.
M: In a cake with plenty of icing.

If you weren't doing what you're doing now, what would you be doing instead?
L: Ballet dancer.
M: Probably something like a data analyst. It sounds super boring to other people but I love the detective work involved and using creativity to solve mathematical problems. I’m very left and right brain.

If you could only keep one outfit in your wardrobe, which would it be? 
L: Issue Miyake Homme Plisse Track Suit and palmer//harding navy and white bengal stripe shirt comfy and smart at the same time.
M: My palmer//harding abstract print shirt and Dries “work shorts”, they’re both the perfect balance of special and practical.

Who's one person you'd love to have dinner with?
L: Allen Ginsberg – he combines my loves for both Beat literature and gay history.
M: Azzedine Alaia – he was such an incredible designer and person and he did things his way and that was always a huge inspiration for me.

What's the main thing you would like to achieve this year?
L: A clean and consistent triple pirouette.
M: More mindfulness. I tend to spend a lot of time with my mind in the future, planning and re-planning. Sometimes I end up not fully appreciating the present, which is so important to recognise all of the enjoyable and exciting things that happen everyday.

Who would you want to record your audio autobiography, voice-wise? 
L: John Cameron Mitchell in the voice of Hedwig.
M: Sir Ian McKellen - no brainer. 

Why did you end up doing what you do? 
L: Because I hated being given a dress code in other lines of work.
M: Because I love fashion for the quest for balancing extremes – the friction between something practical and wearable, yet desirable, exciting and new. It’s a creative output with clearly defined limits – the human body, but everything else is up for interpretation. The evolving challenge of design is something that I fell in love with from the start.

Shop palmer//harding: 

More 8Qs:

+ Tommy Ton: 
"Barefoot Contessa is the most calming and insightful person" 

+ Eudon Choi:
"I am a big fan of the Great British Bake Off"

+ Osman Yousefzada: 
"Elizabeth I of England was a ballsy woman"