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Tributes pour in from queers as iconic gay fashion label House of Holland shuts down

Vic Parsons April 18, 2020
House of Holland: Tributes pour in as iconic gay fashion label shuts down

A previously unpublished picture from a House of Holland shoot in 2008, on the roof of the label's Soho office. (Instagram/HenryHolland)

Iconic gay fashion label House of Holland is shutting down after 13 years, and tributes from queer fans are pouring in.

House of Holland founder Henry Holland wrote for British Vogue that the company closed down on March 4, when he called in the administrators.

“While I can’t assign full responsibility to the global Covid-19 pandemic, it certainly didn’t help,” Holland wrote.

He continued: “When a huge Chinese partner we had been working with for more than a year decided to back out of a partnership, the choice was made for us in many ways.

“Saying goodbye became the most responsible thing to do.

“For the moment, I’m managing to claim this global Ctrl Alt Delete as my very own and using the enforced pause on life as a moment of reflection and refocussing.”

House of Holland infamously began with four slogan T-shirts: CAUSE ME PAIN HEDI SLIMANE; DO ME DAILY CHRISTOPHER BAILEY; UHU GARETH PUGH; and GET YOUR FREAK ON GILES DEACON.

Holland, who was living with model Agyness Deyn in a flat in Camden, North London, when House of Holland began, charted the label’s dizzying rise in his Vogue piece.

“The earliest years of House of Holland are the craziest: three or four of us squirrelled away in a third-floor office above Denmark Street in Soho having the time of our lives and barely having a chance to catch our tails while hurtling from opportunity to opportunity, seeing how far we could take this thing,” he wrote.

“It feels like every single day there is an ‘OH MY GOD’ moment, as we’re invited to be a part of something else or sell our pieces in another incredible store.”

But difficult business decisions and a move away from the brand’s founding mentality meant that the last six months had been extremely tough financially – “until it became apparent that the most responsible thing to do was to draw a line in the sand”.

House of Holland and the queer community.

It was less than a year ago that House of Holland launched a range of trans flag-themed suits – the “Trans Pride Suiting Campaign” – to raise money for queer charity the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT).

For Pride month the year before, the British fashion label raised £8,000 for AKT with a collection of rainbow-themed Pride suits.

Trans author Juno Dawson wrote on Instagram that she is “properly bummed” to hear about House of Holland closing its doors.

“I was always a fan and the iconic slogan t-shirt was an early treat to myself when we sold the rights to Clean even though I was skint at the time,” she said.

“They made clothes that were fundamentally fun and funny. They were quintessentially English and never took themselves very seriously, which fashion absolutely shouldn’t.”

View this post on Instagram

Properly bummed to hear that @houseofholland is winding down. I was always a fan and the iconic slogan t-shirt was an early treat to myself when we sold the rights to Clean even though I was skint at the time. They made clothes that were fundamentally fun and funny. They were quintessentially English and never took themselves very seriously, which fashion absolutely shouldn’t. The dress in the first pic was bought for the 2017 Glamour Awards but I bottled it on the night and wore something else. Only then I walked past @henryholland coming out of the loos and thought how cool that would have been. Instead I wore it to the Attitude Awards that year. Read Henry’s piece in @britishvogue if you get a chance, it’s really quite moving.

A post shared by Juno Dawson (@junodawson) on

Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall – a massive queer and trans ally – simply commented on Holland’s Instagram post with a black heart.

“Love you Henry you gorgeously talented human,” wrote queer drag troupe Sink The Pink.

Jack Guinness, founder of LGBT+ history site Queer Bible, simply wrote: “Love you so much.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Henry Holland (@henryholland) on

And Daisy Lowe, one of House of Holland’s early models, echoed the same sentiment.

“Love love love u,” she wrote.

Henry Holland has appointed accountancy giant KPMG to seek investors for the label.

He will pursue a new career in brand consultancy.

“After the most incredible ride, my journey at the helm of House of Holland has come to an end,” the designer said in a statement.

“No one could have predicted the success that we would achieve and the fun we would have.”

More: Agyness Deyn, british vogue, Camden, Daisy Lowe, henry holland, house of holland, jack guinness, sink the pink

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