Despite the fact that he’s jet-lagged (“sent my manager ahead of me to Sydney to check the weather first,” he tweeted the day before departure) Holland has hit the ground running since landing.
According to his press release, he’ll largely be speaking about the role of celebrity in fashion at Vivid – but, Holland admits, his talk is actually more about the growth of the Henry Holland brand.
“We’re going to discuss the evolution of the business and the fact that we started from Aggy’s [Agyness Deyn, Holland’s best friend] bedroom. And just the day-to-day process and how we get from idea to collection.”
Holland adds that he never imagined he’d get to this point in his career. “That was the beauty of it, I didn’t have any expectations of myself or the company. It was literally a happy accident. Gradually as it got bigger though, the stakes got a lot higher and the offices got bigger – and the bigger it gets, the more there is to lose. But the first couple of years, we were just having a blast.”
Holland acknowledges that his personal network has definitely helped to propel the Henry Holland brand, with Agyness Deyn regularly appearing in his runway shows and Alexa Chung regularly spotted wearing the label.
“I’ve got to say Aggy is my favourite model to use in a show,” he says. “Being able to experience backstage and share the whole thing with my best friend is so cool. I don’t see Aggy too much, just whenever we’re in the same country. She’s been in the UK quite a bit lately, so I’ve seen her a bit more.”
When asked if Agyness or Alexa are his main style muses, Holland hesitates before shaking his head.
“For me it’s an amalgamation of women that I know and spend time with. So there’s certainly elements of Aggy or Alexa, but there’s also elements of people like my mum, or Jessica (Holland’s sales manager) – all the stylish, inspiring women in my life! I think as a male designer creating for women, you do just draw on all of those people because you have to...otherwise you’d just be making men’s clothes,” Holland jokes, adding the he “pilfers” ideas from his muses.
“Sometimes if Aggy’s knocking around the studio – and I’m not telling you I give her a pen or anything, so don’t take anything she says to heart – we will throw ideas around and I’ll ask for her opinion,” he explains.
Agyness stood alongside Holland during one of the highlights of his life in May – meeting the Queen.
“(The Queen) is more special than you could imagine,” says Holland softening. “We spoke a little about the fashion business. It was really quick, but I was just buzzing with excitement and then desperate to find the pictures of us online!”
A self-confessed “Royalist,” Holland says he can barely fault the Queen when it comes to her style.
“I love what the Queen wears. She’s really experimental with colour. Did you see her at the Jubilee this year? That amazing gold dress with the embellishment on one side? For an 83-year old granny that was pretty impressive! And the white coat with the silver studs on it...like, she’s way more styling than my gran ever was.”
So what does he make of Kate Middleton, whose style is simultaneously praised and criticised?
“I think Kate Middleton is under the most intense scrutiny and pressure, and the way she carries herself is amazing,” says Holland. “The little nuances she adds to her outfits are clever and chic. I would however, confiscate her nude pumps and her stockings. I’d give her some different tights. But other than that she does a great job.”
Talk then turns to social media - Holland is somewhat of a digital maven, proudly boasting over 200,000 followers on Twitter. “I have double the amount of Downing Street,” he jokes. “I don’t know why I have such a following – I just talk a lot of shit on there and I think that’s what people want it for. I think if I talk too ‘businessy’, on a platform like that it just doesn’t work for me."
Holland explains that his age (29) is also beneficial when it comes to marketing his brand online. “I mean my friends and I are used to texting all day and sharing things on Facebook and Twitter, so my account is just an extension of that. We live online, so it’s not weird for me to be sharing my business in such an intimate way. We’re the Facebook generation so to speak, so we use social media in the most natural way.”
So what’s next for Henry Holland?
“This year we’re launching our second eyewear collection, our underwear collection and some footwear,” Holland says. “It’s going to be a big year I’m sure! I think if it slowed down and stopped being so busy...that would really freak me out. I’m very much a believer that you should strike while the iron is hot and grab every opportunity that comes your way. Some things work out to be brilliant and some don’t, but you have to try.”Finish these sentences:
If I wasn’t a fashion designer I would be...”A journalist. I used to do journalism at University and I started out as a fashion editor on a teen mag. I didn’t start my brand because I hated what I did though, it was just the opposite. I would have been very happy to carry on, but I took the chance with the brand.”
The biggest fashion crime one can commit is...“Being uncomfortable in your own skin. If you haven’t got the balls to wear something, don’t wear it. Or wear it and get some balls. Like this morning I was eating breakfast in red leather trousers. True story.”
The number 1 album on my playlist at the moment is...“The Scissor Sisters. I went to see them recently and they’re amazing. Their new stuff is so fun – they’re back on form.” [At this point I ask how Holland’s hobby, DJing, is going.] “I’m very controlling,” he confesses. “Like I’m that annoying person at a house party who demands full control over the stereo. So to be able to DJ and play whatever I want is such a privilege and such a laugh –for instance, Daphne Guinness loves Madonna. She went a little crazy when I put her album on at the Christian Louboutin after party. To be fair it was a pretty dull party. I think I livened things up.”
Item of clothing I’m addicted to right now...”I love a print right now. And I love a good leather jacket.”
If I could be any character from a movie, I would be...“Cher from Clueless. I want that wardrobe. I want to live in that time and have that car and have those clothes. You know those drycleaners that have the revolving wardrobes? I want one. I have researched it. But they’re like, 12,000 pounds! So that has to wait till after I buy the private jet,” he jokes.
The most stupid thing I’ve ever read about myself is...”That I was Mischa Barton’s boyfriend. It was some stupid gossip website in America that reported it. We were both at a fragrance launch and we had a quick chat at the bar and a quick photo for the press...and the next thing I know, my PR is forwarding me the photo and going...Henry...what the hell? I was like...”I think that person should be sacked. I’m pretty sure if you Google me the definition of gay pops up."Images by Getty Images.