Henry Holland: The boy next door

Henry Hollans

On a quest to find Charlotte from Geordie Shore, Henry Holland has all the charm of the boy next door in his guest interview with Laura Weir, fashion features editor from British Vogue at yesterday’s (May 14) Fashion Futures at The Baltic in the heart of Newcastle.

Starting his career as a journalist and hating it, Holland made T-shirts from his bedroom for extra money on the side by selling them via Myspace, so him, his friends and his buying audience could “feel part of a gang”. He then went on to be a stylist for Smash Hits and Bliss magazine to build up his CV.

What started out small, became his debut at London Fashion Week in 2006, but not having the house name, House of Holland, until 2008. His Fashion Groupies collection encompasses some of his instantly recognisable humour with slogans emblazoned across the front like “I’ll show you boss Kate Moss”, “get your freak on Giles Deacon” and “do me daily Christopher Bailey”. These, he says, are some of the less “sexually charged and offensive” ones.

Now nearly a decade on with 1,000 stores globally, Holland is set to make his first menswear collection showcasing at London Collection in just under a months time, something the fashion world has been desperate for him to do for a number of years.

Shot by Martin Parr in Holland’s hometown of Ramsbottom, just outside of Manchester, the collection and campaign imagery houses personal references, with sharp tailoring, overcoats and jackets. He says it’s the “two worlds working together…and now was the right time for the brand”. Holland told British Vogue that the House Of Holland man is a “strong confident person, fashion focused, with a playful sense of humour”, which is Henry down to a T.

The long-term goal for Holland is open a shop in central London, where he does not know yet. But with his intensely playful female line up and coming menswear, loony leather goods, barmy beauty products and soon-to-be fabulous footwear in AW16, the store will no doubt be the hive of House of Holland humour.

His advice for future interns or work experience people; make yourself indispensable and take notes, that way you are more aware and learning every aspect of the business from the creative side to financial and admin side.

From having to pitch his initial idea to his mum for £500 to kickstart his Fashion Groupie collective, and not having a business plan till six years in, the designer now has celebrities like Daisy Lowe, Kelly Osbourne and Alexa Chung all lining the front row of his shows. His most recent acquisitions being Miley Cyrus wearing a bomber jacket not due out until this autumn.

When asked to give the last decade of his life a chapter title, he responded in the only way he saw fit: “what the f**k just happened?”

His mum once told him that you have eight careers in your life, his current one is number three. What the others are he has no idea other than the end game, which he says he’d like to retire to LA and make bumbags. This ladies and gentlemen, is Henry Holland, fashion designer to the stars and only half way through his career according to his mum’s advice.

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