Is Harry Fisher mad for opening a clothing store in the middle of a pandemic? “It’s too late now,” he shrugs. The 29-year-old started buying Brit-fash labels like Martine Rose, Ahluwalia, Fashion East’s Saul Nash, and Mowalola for his Hoxton-based retail destination, aptly named htown, way before he – or anyone – could have predicted the magnitude of the past few months, lockdown and all.
But, whatever. It had been Fisher’s goal to open a store of his own ever since he worked on the shop floor of Topshop aged 16. He progressed to work alongside Stavros Karelis (co-founder of London’s emerging designer destination, MACHINE‑A) and after a number of years as a buyer, suddenly, he was able to fulfil his vision. It was at MACHINE‑A that he met many of the designers he’s now stocking, and learnt all about the boring, but crucial, business side of stuff. Namely, how to run a successful company which people actually shop at.
“I feel like I know what sells and how to sell it,” says Fisher, who, in the past, has been responsible for the buying of designers from Raf Simons to Caitlin Price. “I’ve learnt a lot from all aspects of retail – from high street to MACHINE‑A – learning about clients, how many units to buy, what styles and colours are going to be strong…”
Set in a small ex-studio space, htown will offer a limited amount of designs from each label. A jumper or two from Martine, a few trousers from Y/Project, a T‑shirt or three from Ahluwalia – that sort of thing. But it’s in his intention to keep it concise, rejecting the typical retail structure of buying more to sell more. For Fisher, it’s about keeping things manageable – and in the family.
“I want it to be very concise. I don’t want to buy things that I don’t believe in and don’t like – I hate going to a store and there being too much stuff,” he explains.
That mind-set goes hand-in-hand with Fisher’s dedication to sustainability. He collaborated with production designer Christopher Melgram to ensure every inch of the store is as environmentally-friendly as possible: the worktops are made using 100 per cent recycled material, while the wood – making up the majority of the store’s interiors – is certified by the Forestry Commissions as sustainable. That’s not forgetting the totally recyclable packaging.
Operating both as a physical store and an e‑store, htown will be open for business most of the time, but specifically for activations. The website, obviously, will be open all the time. So get shopping.