We live in the age of the celebrity designer. An age where it’s normal that Nick Grimshaw designs for Topman, and where people are actually keen to buy clothing designed by Rita Ora. Henry Holland is an odd phenomenon amongst all this. Part of this pack, but someone who’s done the process in reverse, graduating from design to being a bonafide regular feature on the Daily Mail sidebar. As much as we all like to discuss how high fashion is becoming more democratic, while harping on about how it’s become a part of the entertainment industry, some of London’s most acclaimed designers remain pretty niche - adored by a few, anonymous to many. Holland’s broken free from that insular fashion set - his reach is big, he collaborates with organisations and brands that have a mass appeal. He walks the line between accessible and aspirational - he’s a ‘name’ to many, but his clothes aren’t scary. He can flog a nice t-shirt, a pair of tights, a cute dress, no problem. So it makes sense that such a commercially savvy designer would jump on the booming LCM bandwagon. His debut collection for boys was all about easy, fast fashion, just like his womenswear. Think of it like Moschino, but less hideous - just like Jeremy Scott’s garb it’ll be on sale straight away, rather than in 6 months time like almost everything else we see at fashion week.
Holland had acknowledged his Ramsbottom roots by teaming up with Martin Parr on a series of photos that featured models clad in the collection posing at regional bus stops or in tea shops. You could call it bad taste to see models in hundred pound slogan sweaters shot is this way, but Holland’s not the first designer to make a buck and raise a smile by mashing high and low. His audience won’t mind, they’ll find the images fun, just as they’ll find jumpers covered with the word ‘Chips’, ‘Butter’ and ‘Sausage’ or ‘Lad. Lover. Legend’ a right laugh. Plus Holland, like Parr, is self-aware in his playfulness. He’s knowingly cheeky. One particularly Instagram-friendly t-shirt read ‘Your banter is bullshit.’ Holland can give as good as he gets.