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…
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.
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.
We will continue fund raising to support the women in our supply chain from the rural communities of India. During each month of December we will donate a portion of our profits to charities we wish to support at the time.
Women in Fashion
Wherever possible we are working with female lead factories and suppliers who are committed to the learning and development of their predominantly female teams, both in London and India.
We pledge to pay our staff the London Living Wage and seek London based factories who also pay this wage
We will continue to discourage throwaway fashion culture and educate and our customers to learn how to sew. We believe that sewing your own clothes is an empowering tool and vital for a sustainable future within fashion.
OUR SUPPLY CHAIN
Creating a piece of clothing from start to finish impacts many more resources and livelihoods than you might initially think. From natural resources such as land, soil and water to the communities with skills in farming, spinning, weaving and sewing, every piece of clothing has passed through hundreds of pairs of hands before it lands in your wardrobe.
Responsible sourcing is integral to our business ethos. This encompasses decisions and commitments focussed on ethical employment, the environment, and women’s empowerment. As a small, independent brand our journey is constantly evolving but our ethos remains unchanging.
It starts with soil…
From seed to wardrobe our garments start life needing 3 basic things: soil, water and sunlight.
– Organic (GOTS Certified)
– ORGANIC (UNCERTIFIED BUT TRACEABLE)
– INDIGENOUS COTTON VARIETY (KALA)
– BCI STANDARD (BETTER COTTON INITIATIVE)
We work with 100% natural fibres in our clothing.
Not only are the fibres natural, they must also have been farmed or produced in a responsible and environmentally friendly way. Each fabric we choose must adhere to our standards by meeting at least one of the criteria listed above.
Using natural fibres not only results in garments that are breathable and comfortable against the skin, but they are also biodegradable and recyclable.
Plant Based Dyes
Where possible we opt for naturally dyed or un-dyed fabrics which makes up for roughly 40% of the collection. Our naturally dyed fabrics from India are made using pigments from roots, flowers and minerals.
Our un-dyed fabrics showcase the best of the natural shades of cotton, from ecru to brown and even green…!
Our naturally dyed pieces must be washed gently. Head to our Care Tips for more info.
A Human Touch
Time consuming and energy free. A far cry from mass produced synthetics.
The majority of our fabrics are woven in India on traditional wooden handlooms. This age-old technique requires a high level of skill and runs entirely on the expertise and hand-power of the weaver, requiring no electricity throughout the process.
This lengthy process results in beautiful fabrics with wholesome textures and a human touch. A far cry from the mass produced synthetics of the high street.
Some of our fabrics are woven by electric powered machines. These are the suppliers located closer to home, either in the UK or on mainland Europe. The suppliers we work with are small producers, either family run or young enterprises setting out to make a positive difference to the weaving and textiles industry.
Having initially produced only very locally, we now produce in both London and Bangalore.
Our manufacturing hubs are split into two categories based on the origin of the fabrics. And we’re proud to say that both of our factories are headed up by young, ambitious women!
bangolore | india
We have teamed up with a small tailoring unit in Bangalore, headed up by Shivangi. Her 12-strong team specialises in high quality, low volume sewing and she seeks to employ women wherever possible. Her team works from an airy, room on the first floor of a building block which backs on to a quiet residential area.
Our India-made fabrics travel from local weaving units to Bangalore be made into clothing before being shipped to the UK.
london | uk
Our London factories are based in Bethnal Green and Tottenham. Our factories are run by a young, ambitious couple and a fourth generation factory owner. They both produce with exceptional quality and we’ve benefitted so much from the local working relationships. Our British made fabrics are all stitched into clothing in London.