We speak to the Jill and Steve Henry, Co-Founders our new Scottish sustainable clothing brand Meander Apparel, about launching in East London, creating clothing for everyday adventures and the importance of making a positive impact on the planet.
Tell us a little about Meander?
We create versatile performance clothing crafted from sustainable fabrics that’s designed to be comfortable for enjoying the outdoors and for everyday wear.
We make garments that work for an outdoors lifestyle, that are functional and versatile for wearing in all weather conditions. Meander is not about making gear for cycling or running as fast as you can, but it is about creating versatile, performance clothing that’s perfect for a casual cycle, climbing a munro, traveling or commuting to the office without feeling you need to change on arrival.
As lovers of the outdoors we have put sustainability at the forefront of our brand values and we make everything in ethical European factories from mostly recycled or organic materials. We believe it’s not only our job to craft the most comfortable functional and versatile clothing for enjoying the outdoors, but our responsibility to make a positive impact on the world.
How did the business start?
The idea started with a charity bike ride from London to Paris (oddly to help raise money for a charity expedition to the North Pole, Steve was about to embark on a week later). We cobbled together a few friends, some bikes, some dodgy cycling gear and set off on an adventure none of us will forget. It wasn’t a race but the long meandering route along the old rail tracks via Mont Saint Michel.
We got lost, we cried, we laughed, we got lost again and we laughed at our dodgy outfits and at times we asked ourselves wtf are we wearing?! Are there no brands making clothes from performance fabrics that look good for everyday wear? The idea for Meander was born there and we came home and set about designing the kind of gear we wished we’d had on that trip.
Describe your average customer… is there one?
Our customers are quite varied, but they all share a passion for the outdoors and adventure. We’ve had a wide range of customers shopping with us from their 20’s to their 90’s with all sorts of eclectic interests, cycling, hill walking, wild swimming and rock climbing to name a few.
Why did you decide to open a store in Old Spitalfields Market?
We both lived in East London before moving up to Edinburgh and Spitalfields was always one of our favourite destinations, so when we were looking for a store in London, it was the obvious choice.
There’s always a great buzz around the place and we love the mix of shops and places to eat, drink and hang out.
What are your bestsellers in Old Spitalfields Market?
Our Adventure trousers have been a bit of a hit recently. They are a smart looking trouser with the comfort of your favourite sweat pants and they have a water resistant treatment, so they have been popular with folk getting outdoors and cycling over lockdowns as well as people just wanting to get comfy at home or at work.
Our Recycled Parka has also been selling pretty well recently which is no surprise as it’s completely waterproof and a good timeless style.
Have you discovered any food or drink spots or interesting shops or traders at OSM that you would recommend to your customers?
One of the best things about having a store in Spitalfields is having all the amazing food stalls right on our doorstep. There are so many great options, but if we had to pick a few favourites it would be the bao buns at Yum Bun or Shrimpster burger and fries from Shrimpy.
What’s your favourite thing about East London?
There is just so much diversity in the area, a real mix of bars and shops, old and new, high end and market stores all right next to each other, which makes for a really vibrant experience. As well as OSM we also really love Victoria Park and Broadway Market.
You’ll find Meander‘s showroom at 103 Commercial Street, open seven days a week.