Harper grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, as one of three “Harper Triplets.” She found her love of fashion early, stealing copies of Essence and Vogue magazines from her father’s dental office and memorizing the names of designers for her own personal catalog. At 6 years old, Harper declared to her parents that she wanted to be a fashion designer, so they drove her to Jo-Anne Fabrics the next day for her first summer sewing class. “I bought the Shake It Up patterns, so I could remake Zendaya’s clothes,” Harper tells Teen Vogue.
Fifteen years later, their daughter would start her own business and launch her first collection, Sweats By Sam, during the COVID-19 pandemic. She designed, detailed, and packaged each piece from the loungewear line in the comfort of her home. She recalls long, tedious days of dyeing. While she sent off marketing emails and brand partnerships to influencers, she was also making calls to a military patch maker in Wisconsin who shipped the supplies for the custom name tags that embellished her pieces. “I was so tired, and I would take 12 trips back and forth between home and the postal service,” Harper says. “I did not see the sun. I was in Zoom class, dyeing 1,000 things and trying to look at the monitor.”
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