OFF THE PRESS!
WE TALK SHOP AND WHAT INSPIRES HIM MOST WITH H&L’S MAIN MAN, PAUL LEWIS.
What inspired you to start Harper & Lewis?
It all started from years of retail experience… our first baby being the Oasis market in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre. Covering 5 floors and over 40 independent fashion/lifestyle shops, it became a cultural landmark and rite of passage for most local teenagers.
Years later when beginning the H&L journey, we knew we needed to reignite this same spirit. Establishing a cool vibe in all our stores was essential to creating a cultural hangout, something different to the usual high street stores. Teamed with cool product, well ahead of the main stream, we knew we are on to something special.
Originally selling vintage clothing, we were then propelled to make new authentic garments from our beloved 90s subcultures. By keeping a select range of key pieces, we have the perfect back catalogue to inspire the products we make today and beyond. All we needed was a fresh identity that reflected our vision and customer base.
Where does the brand draw inspiration from?
Pure 90s swag. Being at the peak of my clubbing days back then, it was all about the music and more importantly the clothes. I’m lucky enough to have lived through such an iconic decade, the style was huge. Full of independent brands, way before the internet, it created the best tangible melting pot for fashion. The scene just exploded.
How has the brand evolved since its beginning?
Obviously the internet has played a pivotal role in our brand’s exposure and growing audience. Our products are still very much individual, and our heart is still very much in having fun whilst designing great clothing. The business of selling the products is a bit more grown up, but on the whole we love what we do.
What do you love most about your customers?
Definitely the reaction we get when we’re fortunate enough to meet our customers, and see their response to the product. It always reassures my belief that we are on the right track, the customer feedback is what drives us most. We want them to feel they have just discovered their favourite forever shop, and found the brand that get’s them the most. I love the way that they are often free-living individuals, who know exactly who they are. So we try to make clothes that help them express this bold ethos and vibe.
What does the future hold for Harper & Lewis?
The brand is now well on its way to screaming louder about its product range, we are so excited for what the future holds, and the potential career paths it will take our indispensable team on. Growing the business will be one hell of a ride, and we can’t wait to share our clothing with the rest of Europe and beyond. Our product range and team will grow, yet we are still a family-oriented business. And it’s also imperative that all our customers feel part of that family too.