A British couture fragrance house that reinterprets the true Londoner’s London, Miller Harris’ gender-neutral offerings encapsulate the essence of the city in a bouquet of scents that are oh-so achingly beautiful. They pride themselves on being the exact obverse of mass-produced cookie-cutter fragrances that can be bought off the shelves and that, more often than not, smell similar to one another. Instead, they choose to march to their own beat by framing precious botanicals in complex and unconventional ways. Think scents that have translated the less obvious, unassuming aspects of the London life in unexpected ways.
In order words, expect fragrances that are not of basic sensibilities. After spending the better half of an afternoon indulging in the brand’s luxurious bespoke scents, we can vouch for that. Plus, it also lasts for the whole day on the skin – tried and tested. Ahead, a recap of our conversation with the reigning brain behind Miller Harris, Sarah Rotheram.
What constitutes as a niche fragrance today?
Sarah Rotheram (SR): “People ask me this all the time. Now, I think it means something different because there are lots of niche brands who are just niche because they’re small. But to me, being niche really lies in the juice in the bottle – the commitment to the creativity and the quality of it. You can be a niche brand while still being global and big, but it’s about what goes into the juice and the creative process that the perfumer took to create the product. There are many so-called “niche” brands out there that are just small, copycats or are not doing anything that’s extraordinary. Niche perfumery is always about the discovery of perfumes as an art form and challenging the norm or behaving differently to mass brands. Maybe a new term needs to evolve, like ‘indie’ or ‘artisan’, because there’s really a whole collection of us as brands that have the same commitment to that creative process.”
What do you think is the appeal of niche fragrances today?
SR: “It’s a number of influences that drive the appeal of niche, but I think this comes back to people getting more educated and people being more individualistic. They no longer want to be sold to. People are getting braver in their experimentation of perfumes, and we’ve actually seen less global variation than we used to see. I think because people are experimenting and exploring perfume more, as opposed to (buying in on) the marketing that used to exist. People want to smell like nobody else. They want to have a perfume that reflects their personality. There’s also an increasing genuine appreciation for the artisan and that craftsmanship with the way that people connect socially today. Since we all engage online, there’s a level of transparency around how things are made and (a brand’s) values. This all sits very well with the niche category.”
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