If you tune into the newest season of NBC’s Fashion Star you’re sure to be wow-ed by the creations of Johana Hernandez! Born and raised in California, the 26-year-old design prodigy first became interested in fashion as a young girl hanging around the sweat shop where her parents worked. She landed her first head design job at the age of 19 before starting her own line, GLAUDI, at the tender age of 23. She currently works as a head designer at Seven7 jeans, continues to cultivate her own line, and heads up the charity GAUDI raises funds for, Latinos Con Corazón, as its founder and Vice President. On top of all that she’s finding the time to compete as a contestant on Fashion Star! Hernandez took a break from her packed schedule to speak with us about her line, her favorite fashion trend, and who at the Oscars made her worst dressed list.
How would you describe GLAUDI to someone who is not familiar with the line?
It’s inspired by the modern Latina. A lot of my clients are Latina celebrities like Paulina Rubio and women on The Real Housewives of Miami and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. To wear GLAUDI you have to have a lot of confidence because it’s very bold. It says, “Hi, I’m here, and I don’t care if you think I’m fabulous or not, because I know I’m fabulous!”
Is GLAUDI solely high end or can the average Latina afford its pieces?
As of right now I do couture which is why I tried out for Fashion Star, because my dream is to bring my creations to the masses. It’s been difficult because I do everything on my own. I have a small team that helps me make it happen, but it’s really just me running the company. I’m hoping to have the opportunity to sell to Saks, Macy’s, and Express because that’s my ultimate goal is to have a ready to wear collection – which I’ll be doing for the first time on Fashion Star!
Can you talk a bit about GLAUDI’s connection to helping the disadvantaged in Latin America?
My parents came from humble beginnings and always taught me to return to El Salvador every year and give back. How the line started then was my friend suggested doing a charity called Latinos Con Corazón where we would assist other charities. We helped Mexico the first time around and El Salvador the second time, and that’s when it really touched me because I’m able to help little kids who don’t have anything. We’re building a school in El Salvador right now because it had a metal roof and no supplies, and we’ve been able to help an orphanage that takes in children who are abandoned because they are born with special needs. It’s really nice to create a collection that shows others that you can be creative and give back at the same time.
So how did you end up on Fashion Star?
One of my friends saw the show and told me I would be perfect for it, and I’m always that kind of person who says yes to every opportunity even if it sounds crazy. I showed up to the San Franciso audition which was being held at Macy’s, and there was a HUGE line. I thought I was going to have one-on-one time where I could talk about myself, but instead I went into this room with 15 or more designers and they gave us each three minutes to sell ourselves. I was so nervous, and it was a process, but I’m so happy I was eventually chosen!
You have had so much success at such a young age. What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment so far?
When I created GLAUDI – oh my gosh I’m going to get all emotional! – I didn’t think I could do it. I’ve always worked for big companies designing all of these different things, but no one ever knows it’s me because I’m working for the brand. I wondered what people would think, what kind of a statement the line would make, and if it was going to be a waste of the little money that I had. It’s been such a blessing to have a career I love where I am able to help my family and others at the same time.
What’s been your biggest fashion faux pas?
When it comes to my wardrobe I like to stand out. I’m sure there have been times where I’ve messed it up, but at the end of the day I’m always happy that at least people remembered me!
What’s your favorite fashion trend right now?
I love the 90s being brought back in this rocker way with crop tops, high waisted pants, and bold colors.
The Oscars was not too long ago. Who made your best and worst dressed list?
I loved Jennifer Lawrence in Dior. If I would have tripped in that dress I wouldn’t have even cared! I loved Charlize Theron’s dress with its minimalism and structure; it was elegant without all of the drama. Jessica Chastain also looked amazing in Armani Prive. I love Anne Hathaway to death, but her dress was not happening. I also didn’t care for Salma Hayek in Alexander McQueen. With the hair and the dress it was a little too much for me. Oh, and Brandi Glanville! If you didn’t see her dress Google it, it was scary and looked like it was going to fall off of her. I know nude is the hot trend, but that nude was not cute.
Tune in to NBC this Friday March 8th to help make Johana Hernandez the next Fashion Star!