Henry Holland can’t wait to get to Dubai

The fashion designer-turned-interior idol will be appearing at the OFIS sponsored Design Talks at this year’s INDEX Design Series.

May 16, 2017

Henry Holland has made a career out of jokes. Before you mistaken that as an insult, pay attention to his career trajectory. He started out as a writer and earned a decent living as a fashion editor for teen magazines.

He then started designing rhyming slogan T-shirts for his friends like "I'll Tell You Who's Boss Kate Moss" and "Get Yer Freak On Giles Deacon" before diversifying and founding his own label, House of Holland.

One of the most sought-after designers in Britain, Holland then transitioned into interior designing. And now, just two months after launching his second interiors range with British décor giants Habitat the 33-year-old maverick will be making his INDEX debut this year.

You’ve just launched your second range with Habitat after your debut last year. Was the move from fashion into interiors a natural one for you?
I see a lot of synergies between fashion and homeware – both in print as well as fabrication and techniques. For me the process is not completely alien but a learning experience of working in different scales, different formats and in different materials.

Words like “bold”, “explosive” and “riotous” have been used to describe your style before. How would Henry Holland himself describe the new range?
You’re pretty spot on there. This collection is a real riot of colour and the neon lime colour used in the bedding and the throw is really very bold. It is true to the House of Holland DNA and completely the look at home for any fan of colour and playful print either in their wardrobe or their home. 

You previously described cushions as “being the new trainers”. Is the design of a home now a bigger reflection than ever of someone’s personality? And was it the prospect of being able to offer this reflection that tempted you into interiors?
I love fashion for the way in which it can reflect who you are and what you are about. I feel like a home is very similar in that way and so dressing your home is a similar process for me as dressing myself. I want things that feel personal to me and that are a reflection of me, my partner and my personality.

Where do you find your inspiration and what is your personal mantra when it comes to anything you design?
It sounds silly but you really do find inspiration anywhere and in everything. I think as a creative person working in this industry, you pick up things from all around you from visual references to experiences, travel, people and stories. I love to tell stories through my clothes and it is individuals and their stories that have inspired me the most.

How excited are you by the prospect of meeting thousands of designers from across the world at INDEX?
I’m so excited about meeting thousands of designers. I love meeting new people, exploring opportunities and I also love to travel – so this really is a win-win.

Dubai is known around the world as a city that is so exciting and forward thinking in its design and architecture. Is that something that attracted you to attend INDEX?
The travel and the location being in Dubai definitely helped attract me to INDEX. I have been to Dubai several times before but not for years. I know that it is very fast developing and changing so I’m excited to see these changes for myself.

Having had your big break at such a young age, what would your advice be to any up and coming creative working across any design discipline?
My advice would be to always stay true to who you are deep down and what you are about both through your work and the way you interact with people. This industry is very hard work and having to pretend to be something that doesn’t come naturally to you on top of all of that work is exhausting. People really respond to authenticity in today’s fashion world more than anything else.

This year’s INDEX Design Series runs from May 22 to 25 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Register here to attend.