So last weekend I was invited down to the Town Hall in our very own Bury, to attend a talk with ACTUAL Henry Holland! The talk was being held to raise money for the charity Speak Easy, which Henry's mum started many years ago... The charity helps people who have suffered from Strokes and are struggling to communicate as a result. The charity is close to my own heart as my grandad suffered from Strokes and Aphasia.
So once, we all donated and joined in the raffle, the talk began! On stage were the gorgeous Laura Weir (Fashion Features Editor at Vogue Magazine) and Henry Holland (Owner of House of Holland)
Henry himself started off selling Tshirts, so as someone in the same industry (with Rock On Ruby tees!!) the whole thing was really interesting for me to hear...
I've included a couple of the questions from the day below... FYI Laura and Henry are actually pretty good mates so it was a really nice, informal interview. But still with a lot of cool stories and info!
So let's start with a brief background, just in case you didn't already know:
Henry's dream was actually to work at a magazine, but after not being accepted onto a Fashion Journalism course, he decided to do a Journalism course (which Laura also did!) in London. He was soon living with Agyness Deyn (upcoming model at the time) and started printing Tshirts as a bit of a joke...! His tops hit the limelight after a friend of his (designer Gareth Pugh) walked onto the catwalk at the end of one of his shows wearing one of Henry's Tees. However, again this was no planned marketing step, Henry said Gareth was simply wearing the Tshirt as he had been running around backstage and hadn't had time to change!
After this, Henry's tops were a huge talking point, he started his own range and had his own catwalk shows...With Agyness on the runway. During a trip to New York, Henry and Agyness attended a hot fashion party and were soon introduced to Anna Wintour. The next day Henry had sold tops to Barney's and on the 3rd day had a photoshoot with Italian Vogue. UNREAL.
He admits, that a lot of his journey was as a result of being in the right place, at the right time and being with the right people. But he was keen to state that his friendships are genuine and that's where a lot of buzz comes from at his fashion shows and launches...
What Roles Do Shows Play at Fashion Week?
The shows at Fashion Week require a MONTHS of work, but it's totally worth it. They are a great marketing tool as they are one of the few times when a designer gets to present their collection in a space that they have chosen, with the music, styling and set that they have chosen... It allows the designer to tell a story! It's also invaluable as it allows buyers and Press to see how the clothes move and fit. Retail is the same!
What inspires you?
Everything! I'm lucky enough that I can travel for work and this exposes me to a lot of inspirational things. Each collection that I have produced has a story and has been inspired by something / someone. An outfit should reflect your mood and match your emotion.
What's the best thing about your job?
Choosing who to work with and choosing my team! It's great not having to be answerable to anyone. At the moment I have a team of 20 that I manage. It's bizarre having to do things like London Fashion Week and then come back to the office and have to do team appraisals!
What's next for House of Holland?
HoH is launching a menswear range. It will be aimed at the guy that the House of Holland girl would date! I would definitely wear the new menswear range. We are also launching a Footwear range! apart from this House Of Holland is expanding international. We'll be going into new markets like Asia.
The talk was so informative and interesting, it's hard to cram it all into one blog post! I hope that I have given you a little taster of Henry's story and some of the advice that he had to offer... He seems like a genuinely nice guy, and to offer up his time for charity was just lovely!
Laura's dress is of course by House of Holland and you can check his new range online now!