Looking back on the past decade in fashion, there have been many social trends that have changed the industry completely. Enviably close relationships between supermodels and designers, now also known as squads. The boom of e-retail which is now growing into a “see-now, buy-now” revolution. The rise and rise of logomania. If there’s one British designer that pioneered all of the above – it’s Henry Holland.
Back in 2006, he was a teen fashion journalist at Bliss magazine with a simple idea of creating band t-shirts, but for fashion designers. “It was in my friend's back garden after BoomBox and we were drunk, blasting around all these different slogan ideas and they were really rude. So then we reined them in a bit and we were like: ‘Can we say that? Can I put that on a t-shirt?’”And so he did. The first four, which are also his favourites, referenced Christopher Bailey, Gareth Pugh, Christopher Kane and Giles Deacon and were first worn by his then-flatmate Agyness Deyn. “We’d blag our way into fashion parties and try to be on the other side of the fashion industry and then all of a sudden, it just clicked. She got her hair cut, I made a t-shirt.”
By 2007, Henry had showed with Fashion East, collaborated for Coca-Cola and his t-shirts started getting copied around the world. “Topshop had them as their staff uniform with filled-in letters and text, so I knew it was the time to stop.” He grew the brand into a real fashion house, with his second collection including jewellery by Katie Hillier, bags by Mulberry, sunglasses by Linda Farrow and a full range of clothes.
Yet now, exactly ten years after the first idea came to mind, the House of Holland t-shirts are back. The idea is still the same – mixing renowned names with some new kids on the block, celebrating their work in what is Holland’s way of giving their talent a shoutout. “This time, we’re referencing young designers like Molly Goddard, Marques’ Almeida, Ashley Williams and Craig Green,” he tells us. Add in some top-model names like Gigi, Kendall or Binx, mix it up with some established ones like Donatella Versace, and you’ve got yourself the 2016 edition of the ever-so-cheeky fashion action courtesy of HoH.
Quite coincidentally with his brand’s ten-year anniversary, Henry was approached by the Victoria & Albert museum to be part of their ongoing Fashion in Motion project, positioning contemporary designer live catwalk shows within the space of the museum. “It felt like the perfect thing to re-look at everything from start to now. I can't wait to see all the girls backstage in all the different seasons.” If you can’t either – make sure to check in at the V&A Facebook page where the 3pm show will be live streamed tomorrow, Friday, the 21st October.
Text by Dino Bonacic