Epson Philippines and John Herrera flaunt the beautiful outcome of mixing technology, fashion, and art.
How convenient is it for designers like you to have this printing technology that Epson offers? First of all, every fashion designer dreams of designing and making his or her own fabric designs, designs that are personal and original to them. It is convenient because until the Epson digital textile printer was introduced to designers, the only way to achieve this is to go to a fabric manufacturer and order a minimum of 1,000 meters of fabric. For a lot of designers, this is excessive and expensive. So it is a wonderful development, creatively and economically, for us designers.
Life was easier before because you can just buy fabrics, but I don’t think I’ll ever go back to not designing prints. It’s interesting and exciting, and it becomes part of the creative process. You learn as much as you share. I’ve always dreamed of designing my own fabric. Now that I get to do it, I don’t think I’ll ever stop. I don’t think I’ll ever buy a printed fabric again. If I can design it, I’ll design it. From a designer’s standpoint, how important is technology in the progress of the fashion industry? Fashion continues to move forward. And we designers can benefit from continuously learning new things that modernize and improve our craft. I feel very fortunate to be able to learn and create things with Epson’s digital textile printing technology, and I am a better designer because of it. This is your second collaboration with Epson Philippines. The first one, which was an Aguila-inspired collection, granted you the Britain’s Top Designer Award. How does it feel to clinch an award from a prestigious fashion event? I feel very honored. I join competitions to help promote my craft more than anything. The creation and completion of the collection is reason enough to celebrate for me. Winning is such a huge bonus. And when you add making my countrymen proud of me into the equation, then it’s all worth it.
Joining competitions is not what I think I’ll be doing a lot. I had to join competitions because I was a nobody. I wasn’t known to the people and the crowd of the UK fashion scene. Because of the Aguila collection, Vogue noticed my work. After my Vogue feature on UK Vogue online, a lot of doors opened for me and the celebrities as well. Now, I’m sending pieces of clothes to Lady Gaga. What’s the inspiration for the Armada collection? The “Armada” collection was inspired by the accidental discovery of the Philippines by the Spanish Armada in 1521. Diogo Ribeiro was commissioned by King Philip of Spain to make a new world map including the newly discovered Las Islas Filipinas. It was released in 1529, marking the year Diogo literally put us on the map. It was the discovery of the Philippines that I was studying while making the collection, and what it revealed to me is that there are so many things to know while looking at this map that’s supposed to signify the discovery of my country. It’s called ‘Armada’ because what they’ll be wearing will be long voyages, so there will be a lot of capes and a lot of vintage tailoring. When I say vintage, it’s really not of this lifetime. It’s 1520s style of fashion that we created to fit the modern woman. What advice can you give to local and aspiring fashion designers? Keep aspiring, keep dreaming, and always keep learning. Collaborate.
This is what I always want to share with young designers anywhere – always become a student. Never say and believe that you know everything. Continue becoming a student, and at least once a year you have to become a student. You have to learn from someone. You have to try new things and just continue to learn, because if you say that you know everything already, you’ll stop improving.