Q&A: Henri London

Glasshouse Salon is based in the thriving creative community of Hackney, and as a result we get to interact with a plethora of local, independent brands each doing something really special. Our most recent discovery, Henri London, is housed in a small, yet beautiful space on Hackney Road. Founded in 2016, Henri is a small collection of women’s shirts designed to be simultaneously comfortable and chic, and are all made from ethical and organic fabrics. With a core collection of just three classic white shirts, the minimalist designs balance form with function perfectly. We sat down with the founder, Henrietta, to find out more about the line.

What was the initial vision you had for Henri London?

The initial vision for Henri was to have a small range of perfectly refined shirts that were made with sustainability in mind. It has since grown to hold a deeper understanding of what ‘sustainability’ means to the brand but ultimately the original idea has stuck – timeless shirts and beautiful quality.

What is so classic about the white shirt that it could inspire a whole collection?

I think everything a women’s white shirt represents inspires me. Women in shirts is something I love, a seemingly simple fashion piece that was actually an outcome of social change and equality for women. There’s something powerful in that and also the timeless nature of the garment means it’s something that will be in people’s wardrobes for decades.

Ethical fashion is obviously an integral part of the brand, why is this so important to you?

I think starting as a new brand in this day and age you’ve simply got to be responsible with your sourcing. There are no excuses when you’re a small business, you’re a much more agile machine compared to the huge fashion businesses. Learning about the source of my materials has been a big part in my decision making. I think once you’re educated about the negative impact of conventional cotton and the problems with centralised manufacturing you surely have to run your business in a way that doesn’t support this way of producing.

Do you think the fashion industry can ever be truly sustainable?

This is a question people ask a lot and it’s such a huge topic. I think the future of sustainable fashion is intrinsically linked to the sustainable future of every industry on the planet. Fashion is up there with the most employed and most polluting industries in the world and for real change to happen in the fashion industry I believe it needs to happen in every other sector as well. I don’t think an industry as vast as fashion can stand alone as truly sustainable, it has to also come from agriculture, energy and chemical industries as without all of those industries fashion doesn’t exist. The scale of change needed is huge but it’s something more and more people are working towards.

You speak about your hand-woven manufacturing as though it adds value to the end product, rather than just being something you do to be ‘sustainable’. What is it about this process that is so unique?

The process of hand-weaving doesn’t require energy, just the expertise of a highly skilled artisan. Therefore its environmental footprint is very minimal and it’s a much more sustainable option when it comes to fabric selection. However, when I visited many of the hand weaving units in India I felt that it was so much more than just a ‘green fabric’. It is deeply embedded in the history and culture of the weaving villages and a strong Ganhian ethos drives the organisations I work with. The shared passion for working with this ethos was really quite a special thing to witness and it’s really quite unique to India. Aside from the positive social impact the hand woven fabrics are incredibly beautiful and add so much to the overall identity of a Henri shirt.

As a small brand, you don’t necessarily release collections in sync with the fashion calendar. How do you plan the launch of new pieces? How long does it take to produce a shirt from the original idea to the final product?

I don’t have a rigid critical path I work with, I’m very fluid in how I run the business. The planning and launching of new pieces happens in quite a natural way. Because I produce quite locally I can react quite quickly to demand (the big thing being the weather!) and I recently had a style that went from being a sketch to and item the shop rails in 3 weeks.

The idea is that every shirt is timeless and something you should still want to wear in 10 years. The majority of the collection is also something you should be able to wear all year round and I like the idea of being seasonless but you have to offer some alternatives for the hot and cold weather.

Is there a ‘Henri Woman’ that you think of when designing new pieces?

The nice thing about opening my shop recently is that I’ve been regularly meeting my customers which I absolutely LOVE. They are natural, confident, friendly women who wear their clothes with relaxed elegance. I design for them and for myself and how I like to feel in what I’m wearing each day.

Shop the Henri shirt collection online here or in store at 247 Hackney Road.

Images: Henri London

Words: Phoebe Grace Ede

Share this:

More From The Journal

  1. A Sustainable Department Store: Workshops

    ​From making your own natural facial masque to a still life drawing session, join us at one of our events taking place next week at A Sustainable Department Store.

    More +
  2. Astrology with Daliah Roth: Gemini

    ​As part of a new Astrology themed series, Glasshouse friend Daliah Roth - The Highgate Astrologer - is bringing her expertise to the Journal for a guest edited post decoding this season’s sign; Gemeni.

    More +
  3. A Sustainable Department Store

    ​Bringing together consciously created goods by independent makers, A Sustainable Department Store is launching its first pop-up from 29th May - 4th June. We’ve spoken to four of the female founders behind the brands that will be joining Glasshouse in the Store.

    More +
  4. Masterclass: Fringe Matters

    ​Wondering whether a fringe is for you? Our latest masterclass tackles face shapes, styling and upkeep to help you make a decision once and for all.

    More +
  5. Glasshouse x Otiumberg

    ​We got together with photographer Thea Lovstad and jewellery brand Otiumberg to create a warm, summer inspired editorial featuring elegant gold jewellery and natural, glowing makeup.

    More +
  6. What Is Sustainable Fashion?

    ​As Fashion Revolution Week kicks off, we are exploring what it really means for fashion to be sustainable or ethical. With help from Sandra Capponi, co-founder of the Good on You app, we have put together a guide on how to made your wardrobe as planet, people and animal friendly as possible.

    More +
  7. Local Loves: Straw London

    Our newest East London neighbourhood shop is home to an enviable collection of vintage straw, wicker and crochet bags, sourced from far-flung corners of the world. Straw London has taken up a temporary home in London Fields - we catch up with brand founder Emily to learn more about all things Straw.

    More +
  8. Q&A: Holly Allenby of The Acey

    ​With a brand new business model that aims to tackle clothing waste in an innovative, stylish way, we catch up with Holly Allenby of The Acey. Proving that sustainability and style needn’t be separate entities, Holly tells us what she’s doing differently and how her latest collection is her most sustainable solution to date.

    More +
  9. The Plastic Problem

    Our ocean has a microplastics problem; these tiny pieces of plastic that will never quite disappear have been found on beaches across the planet, in the bellies of marine animals and even in our own food chain. The beauty and fashion industries have a big part to play in the plastic clean up and so we’ve dived into the issue to find out exactly how these particles are getting into the ocean and what we can do to help stop them.

    More +
  10. Beauty Trend: Coral

    Fresh, bright and full of optimism: coral is the springtime update your makeup bag is ready for. Inspired by Living Coral, Pantone’s colour of the year, we delve into coral’s many guises and recommend how you can introduce it your beauty routine.

    More +
  11. Reads: Body by Alexa Coe

    We chat with London based illustrator Alexa Coe about self-portraiture, our relationships with our body and her newly released photography and art book, Body.

    More +
  12. Hair Trend: Headbands

    Embracing the ongoing revival of 90s accessories, we’re now turning our attention to headbands. Spotted across the SS19 catwalks and striking a balance between playful and chic, the grown-up headband is a practical accessory that makes an unfussy statement.

    More +
  13. Adaptogens in Beauty

    With the ability to regulate the body’s reaction to stress and anxiety, adaptogens have been a key part of Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda for centuries, but also contain a plethora of benefits for the skin when applied topically. From turmeric to aloe vera, we’ve rounded up our top adaptogenic ingredients to look out for in your skincare routine.

    More +
  14. Q&A: G Binsky

    Taking the Instagram world by storm, G Binsky combines the worlds of ceramics and jewellery in a unique collection of London made, wearable art. We speak to the founder Gabriela Bins about the inspiration for the brand and the importance of handmade items.

    More +
  15. Beauty Forecast: CBD

    The skincare world is constantly abuzz with new ingredients and technology, but one ingredient in particular seems to have taken 2019 by storm. CBD is popping up in our facial oils and cleansing bars and here at Glasshouse we have cut through the buzz to find out what CBD is really all about - and how it can benefit our beauty routines.

    More +
  16. Q&A: Scarlet Crawley

    ​Having left her publishing job to launch contemporary bodywork studio MASAJ, Scarlet Crawley is redefining the concept of massage, using the power of touch to cleanse the body and mind whilst restoring anatomical balance and combating the negative effects of city living. We sat down with her to discuss the benefits of massage and how best to incorporate it into our modern lifestyle.

    More +
Load more posts