First question, tea or coffee?
Stu & Ash – Both
Harry – Either
Onto the less important questions now, how did Northern Fells come about? What are your backgrounds?
Various reasons, mainly trust and friendship. Obviously Harry and Ash are brothers so they have blood ties. I’ve know them since we went to secondary school and sixth form with Ash. Ash and myself have lived in London working in various retail stores such as Jones (not the Bookmakers) and Duffer St George in Covent Garden and Savile Row. I’ve worked with Lyle & Scott for a few years and a number of names* for a few more. Ironically on the 1st Floor in the old Duffer of St George HQ on Shoreditch High Street which is where Ash worked as buyer/ manager of Present. Ash had enough of London and decided to move back up North. I’m still based in London looking after the wholesale showroom.
What’s the ethos behind Northern Fells?
We wanted to create a unisex lifestyle store. We buy what we
b/ would wear or have in our home
c/ can sell (Hopefully)
We are pretty democratic, Harry has the final say if Ash and I can’t agree.
I noticed that on the brand list, it’s not your everyday brands you see in most shops, how come you decided to opt against the run of the mill ‘safe bets’?
It depends we’ve bought what we like and would wear. It’s difficult to say. The other reason is some stores look more like Argos than clothing retailers. I guess it’s about identity.
How hard was it to source these rare brands, such as Tilak, Schiesser etc.?
Ask Ash, He spends a lot of time surfing the net. The flip side is we travel a lot. Also through long standing relationships. Some people we deal with we’ve known for 20 years or are old colleagues.
Ash – it’s looking at really random stuff in magazines and books and remembering things I’ve seen on the street. I’ve got notebooks and notebooks full of stuff.
What are your plans for Northern Fells? Where do you see you guys going?
Expand the product categories on Apparel/ Home & Outdoors. Open a bricks and mortar store. Those are all along way away. essentially we’d like to be trading in a year.
What are your individual inspirations, clothing wise?
Harry – The Terraces & Old films like Scarface etc
Ash – Prepare for the oncoming flood.
Prince Charles the bearded years, JFK, The Duffer of St George, Vietnam War
Factory Records, The Odd Couple (Jack Lemmon & Walter Mattheu), Serpico, Popeye Doyle, Quint, James Coburn (Schnieder in the Cross of Iron), Apocolypse Now, Jack Nicholson, Football, Preppy, SEX, Japan, Americana, Casuals actually too many to mention.
One thing I noticed is how all the brands are affordable, something very rare these days, is this something you aimed for in particular?
Harry – No it just great it happened that way – It’s great we’re accessible.
Not really. We’ve been in the business long enough to realise it’s difficult to sell a £2,000 jacket online when you first start retailing. It’s one step at a time really. First and second season are always the most difficult.
Recently, I’ve noticed people wanting something different, sourcing something different to the regular brands you see in shops, is this something you’ve recently noticed?
We’ve been really fortunate to work in some very forward thinking retailers and companies with an eye for brilliant product and being the first to the table with new brands. We want the store to be a voyage of discovery for the clients and a platform for good product.
Is there plans for a bricks and mortar shop anytime soon?
Yes, we’d definitely want to open a store. It opens more doors. You’d be surprised the number of brands who only deal with bricks n’ mortar retailers.
If you had to pick just one item from the store, what would it be?
Ash – Tilak Odin Jacket, available here.
Harry – Nobis Heritage Jacket, available here.
Stu – Manastash Logger Down Jacket, available here. Or the Adsum Alpine Vest, available here.
Thanks again to the lads at Northern Fells for doing the interview, head over to their site for more products.