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Image courtesy Henry Holland
Interview

Henry Holland

01.30.14

Henry Holland is a British fashion designer best known for his 80s-inspired, tongue-in-cheek tees that catapulted him to fame. Holland introduced the fashion world to phrases like “Cause me pain, Hedi Slimane,” when he launched his own line, House of Holland, in 2007. Since then Holland has designed a denim collection for Levi Strauss & Co. and released a womenswear line H! by Henry Holland through British retailer Debenhams. Most recently, Holland released his third eyewear collection with sunglasses company Le Specs.

Interview

What inspires your prints each season?

Each season has a different starting point depending on the overall references for the show. Last season for example, we focused on tattoo artworks and Hawaiian shirts, and this season our prints are all based around nostalgic interiors.

What is it about the ’80s and ’90s that continues to inspire your collections?

I think it’s the time that I first fell in love with fashion and what it represented for me personally. I also love the nostalgia and the personal approach that this era allows me to interpret through my work.

When did you start adding all the accessories? Is it usually the same customer purchasing them as the ready-to-wear?

We started with our hosiery line quite early on and so there was always an entry price point for our customer to buy into the brand and this is something we have always stayed focused on maintaining. I think our ready-to-wear customer is of a slightly older demographic than some of our accessories as the price points are less accessible, but I like to think that our accessories customers will stick with the brand and grow into out RTW customer.

Do you oversee ready-to-wear and accessories? How big is your team?

I’m a bit of a control freak and oversee pretty much everything. The team is made up of around 10 people at the moment across website, sales, RTW, accessories and accounting!

In which country do you have the strongest following?

I would say the UK and we are also getting a stinger presence in the Far East and Southeast Asia also. I opened our first store in Bangkok in October and we have plans for more next year.

What’s your process like when you collaborate with other designers?

I often collaborate with other brands but rarely another designer in the same vein as myself, but I’m very easy to work with – I think so anyway! It’s important to respect the brand that you are partnering with and their heritage and DNA as much as you want your own to be respected and protected.

What quality about you would our readers be the most surprised to know?

I’m pretty competitive and very driven. Some people think I don’t do much work, but that isn’t the case. I’m always striving to be better and work harder. If I could arm wrestle myself then I would do it all day long just so I could win at something!

In what way does this influence who you are as a designer?

I think it drives me to make my collections better and work hard to improve my skills both as a designer and a businessman, all while trying to build an international brand.

Who are some of your favorite emerging designers coming out of the UK right now?

I love Christopher Shannon – menswear, I buy a lot of his stuff and he’s a great designer. Simone Rocha and Ashley Williams would be my two favourite emerging womenswear designers at the moment.

Can you tell us what type of art you like? Ever think of hitting the canvas?

I’m a big fan of modern art but not very well read on the topic – I just know what I like when I see it. I visit galleries all the time and like to buy photography for my home. I love looking at photographs.

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