“Know thyself”

John Herrera. Date of Birth: 9th December 1981

How did you discover this passion for design and especially for fashion?

When I was a kid I noticed I liked dolls. Not playing with them but dressing and undressing them. I would make clothes for them and watch my friends play with the dolls in the dresses I made. Then I started reworking my clothes. I felt so cool wearing clothes that people couldn’t buy anywhere. I felt really special. I realized then the power fashion has to make people feel great about themselves. It was only inevitable for me to study the craft.

What does this profession represent for you?

This is my life. I am in fashion because it makes me happy. I am hardworking but its not all work. I have fun. Everyday doing this.

Your X- Factor: What can you offer to your clients? Define your target customer.

I specialize in special occasion wear. Whether a woman is  going to a ball or a party, hosting her birthday, getting married or  going to a wedding, she is bound to stand out in my one of a kind gown or dress.

What is House of Herrera?

House of Herrera is an atelier that takes pride in quality and craftsmanship, its founder John Herrera mastered every aspect of the craft of making clothes and is proficient at designing, pattern drafting, draping and garment construction. Every seamstress and artisan he trains himself.

What has been your most challenging and successful moments so far?

Joining and winning the London Emerging designer Awards I would say. Before that joining the International Fashion Showcase (a project of the British Fashion Council) in February (at Brewer St. Carpark).

Which Motto or philosophy represents you and your job?

Know thyself.  The key to finding and defining the DNA of your fashion business is to first know yourself. Practice everyday. Every design strengthens and defines who you are and what you like. Alfred Hitchcock said “Style is self plagiarism.” And I totally agree.

Who has inspired you, or does inspire, to be the man you are today? Which difficulties/challenges brought you here?

The dream has always inspired me. Of breaking the almost impenetrable ceiling of the international fashion scene. Very triumph presents a new challenge to make yourself better. To be in competition only with yourself and to set yourself up for greater heights. My late twin brother Paul inspires me. He died and the last thing he was doing was designing a wedding gown. He kept it in his room when he was too weak to get out of bed. I finished it after he died. In spite of the tragedy I admired that  and wished the same for myself. Designing will be the last thing I do before I go. My idols inspire me. Being a fashion student in the late 90’s and early 2000’s I have admired the work of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood. These diminutive designers are dangerous, subversive and fearless! They make fashion a fun and exciting industry and I just adored them!

Could you describe shortly Philippines to someone who has never been there before? And how is fashion growing in your country?

The Philippines is a country of 7100 islands. We have a lot of beaches and we are rich with natural resources. God must had fun creating the Philippines and it shows in the talented Filipino people. We are creative and diverse in aesthetic simply because designers come from islands that are different in local culture and that is well celebrated in our ever vibrant industry. I’m am the first and definitely wont be the last to win at the London Emerging Designer Awards.

Your professional and academic background.

I studied fashion at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines in 2003. I Started teaching right after I finished while slowly setting up my own atelier. In 2005 I joined the Philippine Fashion Week and in 2008 I opened my atelier John Herrera Couture.

We usually ask our interviewees to inspire the readers, and encourage them to follow their dreams. We would love some words from you. 

The world of fashion is open and welcoming. Start with a dream and patiently make it happen. It won’t be easy but everything is possible. Work extra hard and make sacrifices. Keep you focus and compete only with yourself. Always listen to your heart and keep your feet on the ground. You will go far.

Is John the fashion designer you are looking for?