HE has become famous for his slogan t-shirts, supermodel pals and apparent plans for world domination but for Ramsbottom boy Henry Holland life could have been very different had he taken the advice on a distinctly unfashionable careers adviser.
“When I did a careers quiz it came back that I should be a fishmonger,” says the 26-year-old from his London studio where he is working on getting his new collection ready for London Fashion Week. “Luckily I didn’t pay any attention. I always knew that I wanted to work in fashion so I set about making it happen.”
Not only does he now have his own label, House of Holland, but also a line with Debenhams, H! by Henry Holland.
“It’s got pretty much everything you can think of clothing-wise,” he says. “There’s 80 clothing options, 100 accessory options.
“With Debenhams it’s much more like building a brand together, rather than a one-off collection.”
Now he is looking for people to appear on a special print that will be used on a scarf and a clutch bag.
Fashion fans should upload their portrait to a special group on the social networking site Flickr or email it to Debenhams.
The 36 best pictures will be incorporated into the print.
“I did a bag for the original collection that I jokingly called the “bagazine” — it’s a bag in the style of a mocked up magazine cover with my face on it,” he says. “It was very tongue-in-cheek. I wanted to do something similar for the Debenhams collection but I thought rather than using a picture of me again we could get people to send in their photos.”
He says a few of the pictures already uploaded have stood out, but there isn’t yet a clear winner.
“I’m just looking for something that grabs my attention. Something fun and something that sits with the brand.”
Ramsbottom might seem a long way from the bright lights of London, but Henry says that growing up he was never short of fashion inspiration.
His mum, who now lives in France, was an influence even before she moved to the chicest country in Europe.
“She was very flamboyant and into fashion,” he says. “And all of my friends — as a group we were very into fashion. We used to go snowboarding so we’d wear really baggy pants and wallet chains. We went through all the phases trend wise.”
And although it was friends rather than designers that he looked to as a youngster, now he says one of his heroes is a genuine statesman of British fashion.
“I definitely look up to Paul Smith and the way he’s grown his brand,” he says. “It’s quintessentially British and he’s got his own sensibility.”
• For more information about how to submit your picture to H! by Henry Holland, visit blog.debenhams.com/Henry