This week, Verge met with the legendary Henry Holland to discuss fashion, journalism and his latest collaboration with Vype.
How did you get into fashion, was it something that you were always passionate about?
I’ve loved fashion for as long as I can remember and the power that clothes have to change the way you feel and how you want to be perceived by the people around you.
You studied journalism at university, and worked with multiple publications. Can you tell us about your journey from journalism to fashion?
Where I grew up in the north of England, a career in fashion isn’t really something that you think is a possibility or at least I didn’t at the time. So I chose to study something else that I loved and was passionate about and that was writing, and then with a plan to write about a certain field that I would discover at a later date. The minute I arrived in London and was in a halls of residence with all of these fashion students, I knew that I wanted to be on a fashion course so I tried to change but there wasn’t any space.
So I made the decision to complete my degree and do as much interning and work experience as I could in fashion-related jobs. I found myself in teen music magazines because it was such a fun, relaxed environment and one that I was genuinely interested in and it was whilst at one of those magazines that I started making slogan T-shirts.
Originally it was a hobby or a side project and then it very quickly became something that I realised had potential and there was an opportunity to pursue it further. So I quit my job and decided to try and realise the opportunity to the fullest and I’m still doing that today.
You’ve always thought outside of the box when it comes to your work, can you tell us about how you come up with your ideas?
I try to just focus on what we do and who our customer is and create things that I know she will find interesting and exciting and desirable. The industry is flooded with brands and different messaging to stand out I think it’s so important to stay authentic to your brand values and what your customer wants to continue to thrive in an ever-changing industry.
You’ve collaborated with many huge brands, including Levi’s and Debenhams – has there been a highlight of your career so far?
I love to work in collaboration with other brands and different projects – partly because it keeps customers engaged with the brand and allows me to provide new ideas and products to them with the small team that I have. I find it very hard to identify a career highlight as being able to do something that I love day-in-day-out is a highlight and doing it with a team that I love working with and respect is important and a real privilege.
Having the opportunity to work with so many celebs must be exciting, but is there anyone that you haven’t worked with yet that you’d like to in the future?
I like to work with musicians as I think that their image and personality is such a strong part of their output and so to be a part of that is always really exciting.
Tell us, who inspires you as a creative and how do you think of those incredible catch-phrases?
People and their stories inspire me and my work and I love to be able to tell stories through my collections. It is so important for me to be having fun and enjoying what I do to create work that fits with our positive and playful energy that I try to infuse into everything that we do. The catchphrases often come out when we are joking around in the studio and being silly!
You’ve worked within the London fashion scene and also collaborated with boutiques in LA, are there any differences between the two city styles?
House of Holland was born in London and whilst I consider our output to be representative of the energy and diversity of the culture there for that same reason it works on a global scale. London is a truly global city and filled with the most diverse global cultures and ideas so I think there are always differences to all of the cities that we work with, but our energy is a way of trying to spread that global culture to other cities around the world.
When being in fashion you get to work alongside models and fashion icons, have you ever got a bit star-struck by any of them?
Sometimes, but I work on a very personal level with all of the people that we work with and so if someone is nice and friendly and has a great positive energy then all of the stats and outside factors just disappear.
Appearing on TV must never get old- you’ve been a part of shows such as the iconic “Frock Me” and even “Styled to Rock” with Rihanna! What are the most memorable TV moments you’ve had so far?
Television for me has always been something that I have found enjoyable and that I like to do but not something that I have pursued too much as I don’t have too much time with my everyday workload! All of the projects that I have been involved with I have great memories of and they have just enabled me to work with and alongside some really exciting and interesting people!
After having such a phenomenal career already, what are you looking forward to achieving next?
World domination and a new car!
How did you come to collaborate with Vype?
Vype approached me on working on a small number of accessories for their new ePen 3, and as an ex-smoker I thought it was a fun project to work on. Creating the accessories was a process that I approached by creating really desirable and covetable pieces that worked within my collection and they happen to be perfect for carrying around your ePen 3, so it felt cohesive with my collection and the story that we were telling through the pieces.
What is your inspiration for each skin?
We used the colour palette and print stories from the collection for the design for each of the skins and so they fit within the season fashion calendar. I always think it’s fun to work on product design that isn’t strictly fashion. Accessories as it is about building our aesthetic and identity into a wider product offering.
Do you have a favourite skin in the collection?
I use the black and white repeat logo one – it goes with all of my outfits!