Story & Manifesto

 

In the summer of 2015 I graduated from London College of Fashion from a degree in Fashion Design & Development. Having found a love for pattern cutting early on, I developed my skills through internships and later freelanced for various London based brands. My final collection at university was focussed on soft tailoring and simple billowing silhouettes and from this I made a paired down shirt to take away on a holiday through Europe. With breezy volume, a scooped hem, petite classic collar and short sleeves, looking back this shirt was the starting point of Henri.

Drawing on this first design and inspired by a love of technical details, I wanted to take the London tailoring heritage and reimagine it for a practical, modern woman. Channelling robust elegance with classic design, I developed five women’s shirts and made a small batch here in London. Shirts for women, made in London. I launched the business in September 2016 with those five designs which are still in regular rotation today.

Over the years we have steadily grown to include a wider range of garments but always adhering to the same ethos: a comfortable fit, timeless design, high quality and sustainably made. With pattern cutting being my original training, achieving a good cut is central to every product we release. Once a product is refined to its fullest, it remains in the collection as a classic. In this way we don't fit in with the usual fashion cycles, but rather customers can expect to see our range growing slowly and steadily with familiar favourite resurfacing throughout the year. We aim to design pieces to last and our range honours this. 

Four years after first launching, we have a permanent shop & studio side by side on the Hackney Road. From this base we sell our pieces, design and sample new ones as well as teaching women how to sew their own Henri cuts through our sewing workshops. Growing our community from this base (as well as further afield) has been an unexpected joy to running Henri. I hope that over the next few years we can continue to make women feel comfortable and confident in their everyday and maybe encourage a few to take up sewing as well...

Henrietta

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Henri Manifesto

(July 2020)
We are constantly trying to improve across all areas of our business. We want to ensure that Henri serves not only ourselves but is able to give back and provide opportunities for individuals and other businesses. Our manifesto sets out some specific areas we are committed to improving on as well as values we already work by.
Size Inclusivity
We will work to offer a more diverse range of sizes and re-addressing our existing designs to make size inclusive fit amendments.
Diversity & Opportunities
We will work harder to be more representative of different ethnicities with our choice of models and brand representation.
We will open up opportunities for young women of colour from schools and colleges in our local area of Hackney to assist on photoshoots for work experience.
Charity
Our Indian suppliers are not yet a generation away from the British occupation of India. This is a period of history we are educating ourselves on. We understand that as a business we have benefitted from the lasting effects of the British Empire, while our suppliers have been shaped in a different way. We will continue fund raising to support the women in our supply chain from the rural communities of India. We will also donate 5% of the profits on selected items of clothing to give back to initiatives where the items have been made.
Women in Fashion
Wherever possible we are working with female lead manufacturers and suppliers who are committed to the learning and development of their predominantly female teams, both in London and India. We respect and deeply value our female lead suppliers and we pledge to support them by working co-operatively and in harmony with them.
Wages
We pledge to pay our staff the London Living Wage and seek London based factories who also pay this wage
Sustainability
We will continue to discourage throwaway fashion culture and educate and our customers to learn how to sew. We believe sewing the clothes on your own back is an empowering tool and vital for a sustainable future within fashion.