Thea Lovstad sat down with Henrietta on a sunny Sunday in her East London flat to chat about everything from slow living to her favourite weekend recipe.
T: Hi Henrietta, first and foremost, why did you decide on the name ‘Henri’ for your brand?
H: Henri is short for Henrietta. In coming up with the brand name I found that I could sort of sum up my aesthetic using my name. It’s feminine and comes from the traditional English name Henrietta but its a bit more to the point- a bit more simple and modern and tomboyish which is everything I am.
T: You’ve said you’re inspired by the environments you grew up in, where is home?
H: Home for me is quite a few different places! Where is feel most at home is Devon. I spent my childhood summers there and feel very nostalgic towards it- it’s where I spent my happiest days as a child. My parents have moved away from where I grew up but every time I go up to the Peak District I always have massive flashbacks of happy childhood memories. Having said that, home right now is the feeling I get coming back to London, on the bus from Waterloo where I get the view over the London skyline and the Thames. I breathe in a huge sigh of relief!
T: What does ‘slow living’ mean to you?
H: Not getting totally wrapped up in the stress of everyday life. Having your own business can make that quite tricky! For me, it’s taking time to do the nice things in life. I guess reading a book, switching your phone off, walking, yoga and meditation are all of the things that help me to live ‘slower’. It’s all about appreciating the simple but special things in life.
T: What would be your perfect ‘slow’ weekend in London?
H: I love to indulge in my Saturday mornings so that would probably involve endless cups of tea in bed with my book and then perhaps seeing some friends later on (hopefully with no public transport involved!) One of my favourite place to go at the moment is the Ladies Pond in Hampstead Heath. There is something really calming about the gentle hum and chatter. There are no judgements and it’s a lovely safe space with women from all different walks of life. I also love running around the Lea Valley and If I haven't been in a while I really miss it. I would have worked up an appetite by this point and find cooking a good way to slow down. One of my favourite recipes at the moment is a beetroot and orange salad (find the recipe below).
Beetroot and Orange Salad:
500g raw beetroot
1/2 bunch of coriander
Preheat the oven to 200°C
Scrub the beets and chop into wedges
Part-boil the beets for 5 minutes in salted water
Transfer the beets into a large roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. Roast for around 30 minutes or until they look sticky
Finely grate the orange zest and then cut the orange into segments after peeling
Roughly chop the coriander leaves
Let the roasted beets cool and then toss in the orange zest and segments
Drizzle with a healthy amount of olive oil and a little extra seasoning
Scatter over the coriander leaves and enjoy!
T: How would you describe your working self?
H: I’m quite chilled out in general but when it comes to work I am pretty focused and driven. I’m trying to make more of an effort to switch off and maintain a really healthy working balance as it can be difficult when you have your own business. I’d say I am a lot more comfortable and happy now with what Henri is as a brand and therefore am more decisive and less willing to compromise.
T: Where and when are you at your most creative?
H: I tend to have most of my lightbulb moments in the studio. However, they can also happen in random places which can be quite frustrating if I’m not in the right place to be able to act upon in straight away! I’d say my most creative space is in the studio, with my phone turned off as this allows me to really get fully absorbed in what I’m doing. The really intense moments don't hit that often so you have to make the most of them when they do!
T: What are you listening to in the studio at the moment?
H: I work in a shared studio but luckily we are all into similar things. Our playlists range from chilled electronic music to jazz and then some chilled pop. I’ve linked some of my current favourites below.
Eye Nyam- Ebo Taylor
You Win Again- Maverick
Bohemian Idol- Lord Echo
Kiss Me - Sixpence None the Richer
Spoiler - Baloji
T: And finally, what is your favourite Summer Henri shirt?
H: I wear the tie back a lot which is versatile and floaty. I like to wear it not tied back with the ties hanging down. Its so casual and comfortable and cool to wear in the heat either at the beach or in the city. I didn’t think it would be my favourite but there is just something about the transparent stripy fabric that makes me reach for it every time.