Henry Holland On London Fashion Week, Party Girls And The Queen

At Topshop, we’re proud to be supporting some of the very best talent at London Fashion Week this season. We’re excited to be hosting the House of Holland runway in our new Covent Garden show space this Saturday 16th February, so we visited designer Henry Holland in his Mile End studio to talk about his new collection, London and who he’d love to see in one of his designs…

How are you feeling with less than a week to go?
This is kind of a strange week really because at the moment a lot of stuff is out of our hands – things are being finalised in sample rooms and factories. We’ve slightly restructured the way that we’re doing the collection this season, so it actually meant that the design part of the process was signed off and finished much earlier.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Well normally I would have changed my mind and wanted to re-do the whole thing by now. But I can’t do that – I’m refusing to allow myself. The stylist was sending me messages saying ‘how about a top like this? Or a skirt like this?’ and I was like ‘nope, done, sealed, finished. Not working on the collection any more’. I think it’s good. I’m feeling really excited about it actually.

Can you reveal anything about the collection?
We’ve taken a step back from our seasonal narratives, so the collection is less about a certain concept or storyline and much more about our woman’s wardrobe and all of her key pieces. It focuses more on a way of dressing and less on a character.

How did you come to that decision?
We just wanted to create something that was less seasonal. I think the pace of the fashion industry is so fast and everybody is starting to rebel and revolt against it. Everyone’s strying to figure out ways of carving out their own structure. Part of our structure was to be slightly more transitional. We don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel every 3 months, but when you create e new story line every 3 months, moving from witches to surfer girls as we have done for example, then you kind of do!

How do you relax after a show?
Go and have a big night out! You’ve got so much pent-up adrenaline that you just have to! My shows are always a massive family occasion, too. There’s at least 20 of my family at the show that come from up North. Everyone is so jubilant so it’s really hard to say ‘sorry, I’m going to go get an early night’.

Who is the Henry Holland woman?
She’s very bold and playful with a great sense of humour. She loves to use fashion as a form of expression. She’s the kind of girl I’d gravitate towards at a party!

Who would you love to see in one of your designs?
The Queen. I’m the biggest royalist. I have a framed picture of me meeting the Queen on the mantelpiece in my bedroom!

Are you excited to be back in the Topshop show space this season?
So excited and really grateful! We’re a British contemporary brand, bridging the gap between high-end luxury and the high street, so I think there is a nice connection between ourselves and Topshop. I don’t think our customers are wildly different either – people dress much differently to how they used to. You used to be either a designer customer or a high street customer, and now people mix it all together. People have developed a level of fashion intelligence and individuality that they don’t have to wear everything with a label for gratification.

House of Holland celebrated its 10-year anniversary recently. What’s the plan for the next 10 years?
I’d like to consider our first 10 years as my college years. I didn’t study fashion at university – I started at as a journalist. Granted, 10 years is longer than a degree, but I feel like I was learning on the job and doing things with a lot of other factors at play – having to make money whilst trying to develop a label and an aesthetic and building and growing my team, for example. So my first 10 years were my education and the next 10 years are going to be my real growth. I’ve made a lot of mistakes so I’m ready to use all the learnings now!

How important is London to your aesthetic?
Hugely! I’m not a Londoner – I grew up up at North so there’s a very big part of my northern upbringing that’s very important to House of Holland in terms of our humour and our tone. But our look and attitude is grown in London. London is just such an eclectic melting pot of different cultures and ideas. You can be inspired to create an entire collection just from one trip on a bus! It’s one of those cities that you truly live in – I don’t know many people that don’t get public transport. Our unique street-level culture has led to so many movements and trends.

Photography: Ben Cannon