Known for his quirky and vibrant fashion lines, fashion designer Henry Holland rose to fame over the years to not only build a huge fashion empire, but to show the fashion world just what hard work and determination looks like.
Born in Greater Manchester in 1983, Holland studied at The London College of Printing and worked as a stylist and fashion editor before focusing on his own fashion designs, soon after, building and developing his own fashion label – House of Holland.
Hitting the ground running
Holland’s empire grew at a rapid pace, after his iconic t-shirts and designs were shown at London’s Fashion Week in 2007, when Gareth Pugh took to the catwalk to take his bow after the last collection was shown, wearing one of Holland’s slogan tees.
You might remember the famous “I’ll tell you who’s Boss Kate Moss” and “Cause me pain, Hedi Slimane”?
According to Holland, at the time these t-shirts were more of a personal project, something he originally designed for himself and his friends, and never part of a wider marketing strategy for launch. However, after being seen on the catwalk these bold statement pieces soon started to resonate with other fashion gurus, as well as celebrities throughout the industry.
Whether this was fate or the perfect pitch, the designs and creative couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for Holland. Capitalising on his run-away success, Holland’s designs had gained enough momentum for him to start his own label, and hence House of Holland was born!
Head above the parapet
Holland seemed to hit the nail on the head with his 80’s inspired work and rhyming slogans.
Designs which are described using a range of different adjectives, such as eye-catching, fun, bright, bold and cool, the list could go on.
Holland soon began cleverly and creatively, positioning his business and fashion lines to cater for both high street and high-end fashion, garnering demand from retailers, such as Harrods and Debenhams, all wanting to stock these in-the-moment styles.
There’s not always a plan in the beginning
New to the industry and with a fashion line that certainly hit the ground running, Holland was aware of working every hour of every day in order to meet demand. At times Holland had to take a step back and remember why he was doing what he was doing. What his overall goal was and what he wanted the plan for the future to look like.
For Holland personally, he knew that working in the fashion industry as a designer was what he wanted to do and that in his own words he “has the best job in the world”, notably, building House of Holland.
Holland showed he had the conviction and the drive to continue to push the boundaries and do what he loves.
The fashion industry certainly isn’t for the faint hearted, it’s a busy and fiercely competitive. You must make yourself stand out in order to be noticed, as well as ensuring you continue to do what you love, as this Holland believes, is where your best ideas come from.
For Holland collaboration was key
Holland is renowned for the high number of collaborations and projects he works on.
Projects such as: Six Scents, creating his fashion line “H! By Henry Holland” which is exclusive to retailer Debenhams, as well as teaming up with Wrigley’s Extra to design their packaging, Levi Strauss & Co on a denim collection, creating a hosiery range and much much more.
Holland has grabbed the opportunities that were presented to him with both hands as well as sought out collaborations that would work with his brand and extension strategy.
Being different, and dare we use the most overly used phrase “thinking outside the box” is exactly what helped Holland to build what he has today and continue doing what he loves. It’s not all about following the trend, more often; it’s about following a new trend and making it happen at the right time.
Holland created and still creates designs on an era and styling he loves and takes inspiration from.
The authenticity to his work was and is real. You can see his passion shine through in his designs. He has also learnt that what might be a firm favourite and loved by some in the industry, there is always someone else who really won’t like your design.
In the fashion business unfortunately, that can be the nature of the beast. Understanding this objectively and continuing to create pieces you believe in is what helps to keep your designs real.
Lucky or not – you can’t take anything away from the great work that has been created and the “House of Holland” brand which continues to go from strength to strength.
For Henry Holland his rise to fame has been fast and at only 34 he still has a lot to offer the fashion industry.
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