Fresh out of LCC, Henry Holland designed some slogan t-shirts that rapidly blew up into so his own fashion line. Fast forward almost a decade later and House of Holland is now one of the most sought after tickets at London Fashion Week each season. Hollands's front rows are lined by close friends, who are, of course, some of London's hottest young celebrities, including Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe and Nick Grimshaw.
Following in the footsteps of Karl Lagerfeld and Zac Posen, Holland announced his collaboration back in March with ice cream brand Magnum - they threw a fabulous party, which we attended to watch the unveiling of the dress, drink a lot of champagne and obviously eat a lot of ice cream.
I'd been sitting waiting at my desk for an hour waiting for the phone to ring with Holland. An email landed in my inbox with a number to call Holland on because he'd been trying and failing to get through to me for an hour. A slip of one digit had left Holland ringing the wrong number - something that turned out to be totally my error! I rang Holland back straight away and expected to be received with a little annoyance, and rightly so for having wasted the designer's valuable time on a Friday afternoon, but if the glitch had irritated him, there was no sign of it whatsoever in the tone of his voice.
Millie: Firstly, can you describe House of Holland for any readers who aren't aware of the brand and what it is you do?
Henry Holland: House of Holland is a fun and playful, youth focused fashion brand. It’s very bright and bold.
M: How did you end up designing after studying journalism for you undergraduate degree?
HH: I was working in magazines. I was working at Smash Hits, remember Smash Hits. I was working there as a fashion editor and I had just moved from Bliss magazine and I started making some tshirts as something to do and as something for me and my friends to wear. It was never intended to become anything more. And then they took off really quickly and I saw an opportunity to grow it from there. So, I did and I quit my job and did my first show eight weeks later.
M: I was being a little nosy and having a look through your twitter earlier (Henry laughs) and saw a tweet about only just having paid off your university fees at 30 and that no one has ever even asked you what course you did. Is university something you regret?
HH: No, not at all. I was just being sarcastic. I think going to university was the best thing I ever did. It got me to London when I was 18, rather than in my mid 20s. I hit the ground running; I did a lot of internships – to the point where I was offered a job after I’d done my final exams and I went straight through from university to work. I finished my exams on the Friday and started working on the Monday. I’ve been working ever since! I don’t regret it at all. I think its about personal development as much as an education. I was being precocious.
M: Yeah, that's so right - I'm glad you said that! You've managed to collaborate with quite a few brands to date. What's been your favourite so far?
HH: Well, magnum obviously. I do do quite a few collaborations. Part of it is me wanting to build the brand and get the brand out there. It’s a weird hunger of mine to expand the brand and work with a tights company or a chocolate company. It’s all about communicating our brand message and showcasing what it is we do. The magnum collab was a really intereting brief and an interesting slant. It was about incorporating our DNA and translating that with another brands DNA.
M: So, what’s the dress like?
HH: It is inspired by the magnum classic. It’s fully embellished. We paid a lot of attention to the surface design. It’s a simple 60s shift shape with a peaked collar. It is fully sequined with two different layers. There’s a layer of cream sequins and over the top there’s this ombre effect of brown sequins that represent the chocolate.
M: Do you think you managed to keep the dress in line with your brand?
HH: I think that was more about the shape and the silhouette. It was about creating something that our customer would be excited in and would want to wear.
M: What can we expect from next season?
HH: I can’t tell you! It’s the one thing we guard very closly, our future seasons as it’s one thing we try and create anticipation of. I’m such an over sharer but I think that’s the one thing that I manage to keep secret.
M: Fair enough, that's understandable. What's the best thing about being a young designer in London?
HH: Having a job that is creative. I think it’s the best job in the world. It’s making things in your head and making them reality. It’s such an amazing thing to be able to do. For me, I need to be creative and it’s something I get to do every day so I’m very lucky.
M: And what's the worst?
HH: Cash flow! It’s really boring but it’s a fact of life unfortunately.
M: Agreed. Where would you recommend readers hang out in London?
H: Climpson's Arches in Hackney. I’d recommend a Little Bit Of What You Fancy, which is a restaurant on Kingsland Road. Where in town? Probably The Edition; Berners Tavern at the Edition.
M: Okay, so I have a few quick fire questions for you - London or New York?
M: Night in or night out?
HH: Both. Drink at home and then go out.
M: Harvy Nicks or Harrods?
M: Tea or coffee?
M: Cara Delevingne or Jourdan Dunn?
HH: Both! They go so well together!
M: Harry or Grimmy?
HH: (With no hesitation) Grimmy!