Student Pride 2021: Henry Holland on how fashion can be more LGBTQ-inclusive

Exclusive: "One thing that gets me anxious about fashion connecting to certain political or social issues is that by nature, the industry, we focus on trends."


Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Aaron Hargreaves/National Student Pride

Henry Holland has praised the fashion industry for being “open and supportive” for LGBTQ people – while adding there's more than can be done to “welcome in and uplift” young creatives.

“There has definitely been much more of an openness to [elevate] the full spectrum of the community in recent years,” the star said backstage at National Student Pride 2021 in London today.

“People have been examining the diversity of their own representation through casting and [branding]," he added. 

Henry - who will be chatting to Nick Grimshaw and Aimee Phillips on Student Pride's This Evening programme, broadcasting Wednesday at 8pm here - also warned of the dangers of unpaid internships while chatting to Attitude.

“There’s a danger of people being expected to work for free”

The designer said: “The fashion industry is very much, from my experience, an open and supportive environment for the LGBTQ community. In terms of welcoming in and uplifting young creatives, there’s definitely more than can be done for that. Across the spectrum, there’s a danger of people being expected to work for free.”

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The 37-year-old continued: “There are more apprenticeships and official programmes that could be put into place to help people get into the industry. Because there’s a real gap between the education system and real life, especially in that industry.”

Henry - whose label House of Holland went into administration at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic last April - added: "One thing that gets me anxious about the fashion industry connecting to certain political or social issues is that just by nature the industry, we focus on trends. There's a danger of focusing too much and making it become a trend.

"There were a lot of models from the trans community who felt they'd been brought in for one season and then left on the sidelines the following season. I think it's important that the industry continues with that openness and welcoming of all areas of the community."

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