Henry Holland gets real about how difficult it is to have a sustainable brand
The t-shirt is based on the infamous Sex Education scene where an entire assembly of students stand up and say, ‘it’s my vagina,’ to help protect the identity of a girl who has been subjected to a revenge porn attack. So naturally, we caught up with Henry about vaginas and how sustainability is having a sex-over. But first, what would Henry write in an online dating profile for his Autumn/Winter 2019 woman? “I don’t take any sh*t from anyone. I look great and I am a hot date and my vagina is very empowered.”
As Henry Holland teams up with the Sex Education cast to serve up the empowering ‘Self Love: It’s My Vagina’ slogan t-shirt we have all been coveting, we caught up with the man himself ahead of his epic London Fashion Week show.
“I have said vagina more in the las two weeks than I have in my entire lifetime…”
The t-shirt collaboration with House of Holland, Netflix and the Sex Education cast is all about vaginas. It’s about female empowerment. When I came back and told my team we were making a t-shirt saying, ‘Self Love: It’s My Vagina’ and they hadn’t seen the show they were like, ‘really?!’ Once they watched it, everyone was obsessed with it. I think the way Sex Education handled the ‘self-love’ scene in the show was really empowering. They were reclaiming their bodies and exerting their right to do that they want with it as young women. When they all say, ‘it’s my vagina,’ it’s a great moment of community. I think I have said vagina more in the las two weeks than I have in my entire lifetime! Perhaps it’s a male thing to be scared of the vagina – but we need to be male allies. I use so many words for penis, but I personally recoil more at minge, vagina and vag!
My entire career is based around empowering women – it’s what I do day in, day out!
Fashion as a whole has started to join in more conversations. Not just with feminism but also with sustainability and environmental issues. I think people are starting to realise as a creative industry, we have the power to comment on certain things which so many other industries don’t have the power to do so. For me, my job has always been about female empowerment. I am a man who dresses women. My entire career has been about empowering them to look and feel incredible. It’s always been a massive part of what I do without having to actually say it – it’s what I do say in, day out.
If I started my brand yesterday, I would have made it fully sustainable – but it’s hard to create a fully sustainable brand overnight…
We are looking at our entire supply chain and our manufacturing process to make sure we are taking steps towards being more sustainable. We are working with different fabrics and mills for instance and we have a swimwear line launching later this year and 80 percent of the collection is made from recycled fishing nets. We have just done a line with Woolmark using natural wool which is completely biodegradable. It’s about working with our existing supply chain and doing it gradually. It’s difficult to turn around and say, ’right we are becoming a sustainable brand,’ from one day to the next because the impact that would have on our supply chain, price points and essentially our end customer means it needs to be gradual. If I started a brand yesterday, I would have made it a sustainable brand because I feel the same anxieties as everyone else about what we are doing to the planet with our industry.
With environmental issues now, it’s about people realising they have a voice they can use and have a way of using it. It’s just become more urgent. Ten years ago, we weren’t talking about it. Now we have David Attenborough on the TV saying, ‘the earth is going to die,’ and because he’s such a legend it shows how much more urgent the issue has become. It’s more at the forefront like so many issues.
This collection is pivotal – Brexit does panic me…
I have to admit: 5 years ago I was petrified about saying anything remotely political as I wasn’t well read enough to back up my arguments. I have definitely become more politicised as I have grown older just by being more well read and taking a real interest. I run a business and we manufacture products that are distributed in and out of Europe, we have Brexit going on, it’s a month away and we don’t know what might happen! It panics me because this collection is pivotal.
We are going to sell this collection to our international retailers, but we are not going to deliver it or be paid for the goods until after Brexit. We are agreeing on prices now and whatever happens to the exchange rates because of Brexit could mean that this entire season becomes worthless.