“I’m very impulsive and that’s where most everything starts,” commented downtown (self—and rather cheekily—described) “bitch” Judson Harmon. The San Diego native—6’3 and pushing with a “stark appearance”—is talking about the origins of his darkly androgynous Lower East Side boutique and clothing brand—“an amoeba” he dreamed up at just 19 after moving to New York to study theater, dropping out of school, and “spending about six months figuring out what [he] wanted.”
“It started out as an online store and six months later I started looking for real estate,” recalled Harmon. “In the midst of it all, ‘I just had my idea: ‘ eh, I might as well start my own brand.’”
The result is ØDD, a gothy, near genderless (very Haider Ackermann) ode to otherworldly, post-apocalyptic aesthetics stocked with an outré curated mix of Kris Van Assche jacquered hoodies, Gareth Pugh “shoe” bags, and pieces culled from more emergent, up-and-coming labels—including Harmon’s own.
Harmon, who also models (and some rather big jobs at that), is currently working on the brand’s F/W 2014 collection. “I’m using some really bizarre materials mixed with some classic materials that are more of an homage to the past,” he exclaimed. “As a designer and as a total nerd, all of my collections have a scientific undertone—[for this one], I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from the moon.”
ØDD the label is very much in line with its founder’s broader philosophy. “For me it’s not so much about the clothes; it’s just about the concept of abandoning gender as a whole,” said Harmon—a man who “never used to leave the house without a skirt” who know prefers a “lazier” personal aesthetic. “If it looks good, it looks good. We have women who come in and just buy menswear. That’s my whole concept. Not following so many rules and taking risks with [apparel.] I’m not a 100% go-getter for androgyny. But more so for going for what you want.”
No one will deny that Harmon is unafraid to do just that. “The new collection is definitely our best collection to date,” he asserted. “It’s my first collection without a co-designer. For once I don’t have to argue. Compromise is one thing – but I put my heart and sole into everything I do, so I prefer not to have to settle.”
But time is ticking. “I turn 22 next month,” quipped Harmon, “so it’s not going to be as cool anymore.”