I met Henry through a friend of mine in Hong Kong, while he was taking a break from filming his show, Indian Summers, in Malaysia. It turned out he had gone to the same high school in London as I did, two years below me so I didn’t know him at the time. Maybe because we should have crossed paths so early on, I feel like we have endless catching up to do.
Henry is a talented actor, so it makes me very happy to see him doing so well. Finding success as an actor is difficult, filled with stress and rejection along the way. However, Henry’s happy positivity and grounded confidence give him a great deal of resilience. I feel it comes through in his clothing, which is always eclectic but executed perfectly and in a way only he could.
The suit Henry wears is just the right shade of dark plum. Given the unusual colour, I think it's best with very simple accessories.
Suit: W.W. Chan
Lapel Chain: The Armoury
Pocket square : Drake's
Tie: Peckham Rye (similar below)
Watch: Omega Speedmaster
Q & A
1. Briefly, what do you do? What were you doing before?
I am an actor, but I'm an enthusiast for plenty of things that divert my attention away from the world of acting. In terms of things I've been paid to do over the years: I've been a gardener, shopkeeper, music writer, and clothes designer. I am no stranger to moonlighting.
2. I very much like your style and would not have realized that you are in fact colourblind. I always find your combinations interesting. How do you see your clothing? Does it have to be a combination of items, so that you can see contrast and transition, or are you able to evaluate items individually?
Hugely chuffed you say you like my style Mark. You're always really well put together, managing to look smart and comfortable in equal measure which is a great skill, so kudos to you.
Yes, colour-blindness was something I found out about during a medical at junior school. A lot of colours, greens and browns for example, I've normally shied away from as I find them hard to read. I favour bold colours, lots of contrast usually, to make things pop, rather than tonal shades. Layering and contrasting textures are also key for me. Taking dressy tailored elements and combining them with something coarser. I've got a foot in both camps, the flamboyant and the tough.
3. We talked a bit today about vanity and it's influence in our lives, especially since we both work in industries that place an emphasis on appearance. Vanity: A necessary evil? An evil at all? A natural part of being human?
On a technical level vanity is the enemy of acting. If you're feeling overly concerned with what you look like you're not at the races. This is juxtaposed with an industry that is always focusing on what you look like!
As we were talking earlier it's important to strike a balance between being an enthusiast for clothes and style and not being defined by only aesthetic things. You're a multi-faceted guy, and a bright person so i wouldn't imagine you could get lost down a rabbit hole of self-absorbed selfie-dom. I try to keep a lid on that, and separate the work I have to do in the public sphere from who I am day to day.
In that public side of the business I'm a salesperson selling a product like any other. Then I go home and I close the briefcase and put the samples away! Sometimes I'll dress up more for myself than I would for a work event, because that's me expressing myself as myself. It's important to try and work out where the line is.
4. To me, you are a quintessential Londoner and you've been a resident of Hackney for a while now. Tell us a bit about the neighbourhood, what you like about it, what's worth visiting, etc.
Yes, I feel like a Londoner first and foremost, 3rd generation which is surprisingly not as common as you'd think. The East End has been home to me for the last 10 years, but I wanted to live here since I was a teenager. I would spend every weekend night and day in Hoxton and Brick Lane. I moved as soon as I could. When I'm away with work I miss London a lot; especially Hackney and the East End. For me architecturally, culturally it has the best mixture of all the things that make London unique. If someone had one day in London I would tell them to find the Regents Canal and just keep walking East, it's all good.
5. You have a pet interest in a very particular type of clothing, could you elaborate?
I've always had a collection of vintage clothes (I've always got too many!) something that came from that and my experiences playing sport is a project I'm cooking up to do with vintage inspired sportswear. I'd like to build something special for those that like the feel and quality of the old stuff.
Henry can be seen on Channel 4's Indian Summer, currently airing its second season.