It only seems fitting that in light of the continued "parody" design trend that we go back to one of the first designers to do it: Henry Holland of House of Holland. The English designer burst onto the fashion scene in 2006 with his Fashion Groupies T-shirt designs, which consisted of bold, 1980s-inspired T-shirts that displayed catchphrases such as, "I'll tell you who's boss, Kate Moss," Do Me Daily, Christopher Bailey," and "Cause Me Pain, Hedi Slimane," among numerous others.
Holland subsequently designed a full collection and founded his own brand. In late 2011, the brand relaunched some of its famed tee in honor of the launch of its new web shop, selling “Get Yer Freak On Giles Deacon,” "Uhu Gareth Pugh” and “Cause Me Pain Hedi Slimane” slogan tees in very limited quantities. The re-introduction makes sense, as the tees really did put Holland on the fashion map.
Of their debut in 2006 and subsequent success, Holland later said: "When Gareth Pugh wore my ‘Get Your Freak On Giles Deacon’ T-shirt to take his bow at the end of the show. I received a call the next day from Giles asking to wear my ‘UHU Gareth Pugh’ T-shirt for his show. This was an instant platform to alert the media to the designs and I started to receive calls from the press. The rest, as they say, is history."
While some of the designers whose names were used on Holland's tees weren't happy about it and reportedly sent cease and desist letters to Holland and stores stocking the tees (read: Raf Simons!), maybe more interesting is the cease and desist letter that Holland, himself, sent.
In 2007, Manila, Philippines-based brand PROUDRACE made a name for themselves by "parodying" Henry Holland’s famous slogan t-shirts. The brand created versions for local fashion personalities. Xtina Superstar, for instance, inspired one that said “Oohlala lala Xtina,” as did model Ria Bolivar, whose said, “Yer my shining star Ria Bolivar.” Not long after PROUDRACE's tees hit stores, the brand received a cease and desist letter from Holland himself, and this prompted their last shirt read: “Banned by Henry Holland.”
So, the "Homies", "Ballinciaga", "Cuntier", and other designs that have flooded the market over the past couple of years are not exactly a novel idea. It seems the whole "parody" concept dates back quite a bit, including design houses' distaste for them.
*This article was initially published in October 2013.