Henry Holland

LONDON — It’s only February, and 2020 is already proving challenging for independent fashion brands.

Henry Holland has become the latest designer to step back from his business, House of Holland, WWD has learned.

Holland, creative director of the house he founded 14 years ago, has a dual-track plan to become an independent brand consultant, and to find new investors for the label. He has given a mandate to KPMG to find partners that will move forward the business, which has a series of ongoing licenses and collaborations for eyewear, swimwear and footwear.

More recently, Holland and Xtep International Holdings Ltd., one of the leading Chinese sportswear fashion brands and manufacturers, launched a collection called City Runner, which debuted at London Fashion Week last September. The collection, for men and women, was a mix of Holland-spiked streetwear and body sculpting, breathable nylon athletic gear.

“After the most incredible ride, my journey at the helm of House of Holland has come to an end,” said Holland, known for his cheeky, rhyming, often personalized T-shirts such as “Single Use Plastic Is Never Fantastic,” “Uhu Gareth Pugh” and “I’ll Show You Who’s Boss Kate Moss.”

Holland said when he first started, “no one could have predicted the success that we would achieve and the fun we would have. I want to thank everyone who has supported me to this point, most importantly my team who have worked tirelessly throughout. I will forever be indebted to them and the industry for embracing House of Holland and everything we stand for.”

The designer added that he has learned “so much that will inform my future, and whilst I am sad for the ending of this amazing chapter, I am excited about what the future has in store.”

In a recent interview with WWD, Holland was upbeat about his business and work outside of his ready-to-wear collection. In 2018, the designer had created a capsule of rainbow suits for Pride Month to support the Albert Kennedy Trust, an LGBT youth homelessness charity. He did a second capsule the following year.

Holland also worked with footwear brand Grenson for a number of seasons as well as Speedo to create a line of swimwear items including monogrammed one-pieces and swimsuits in seasonal prints.

He was one of the first designers to tap into the power of social media and community, and was always keenly aware of who he was speaking to. His various collaborations through the years reflected his relationship with the consumer and his sense of humor: In 2013, he collaborated with fake-nail specialist Elegant Touch on a collection that included styles such as Geek Chic, featuring suspenders and calculators; Polka Dot-It, and Zig Zag Stardust, with neon zigzag designs.

In 2012, the designer launched a limited-edition T-shirt collection for the trendy South African mass-market retailer Mr Price. The designs were inspired by Holland’s most iconic runway collections. Proceeds from the sales went to the RedCap Schools Project, an initiative that empowers schools to improve the educational experiences of young South Africans.

Holland’s decision follows news this week that Peter Pilotto plans to suspend the brand while designers Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos decide how to move forward.

Earlier this month, An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx announced they were shutting their Antwerp-based fashion label A.F. Vandevorst after 22 years.

The designers plan to host an event during Paris Fashion Week on Feb. 29 to thank their staff and supporters. While in Paris, they also plan to showcase a selection from the label’s 2,000-strong archive, which they want to sell to collectors and museums.

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