As the crowd gathered into the presentation room in Freemasons Hall on the final day of the Fashion Scout shows, there was no doubt that the designer in question was making a statement. John Herrera showed that if you want to pay tribute to your native country, you have to build the atmosphere, from the introduction right through to the finale. As a Filipino tribal band dressed in traditional attire made music in unison from the middle of the floor, the melodic men and women succeeded in preparing the audience for what they were about to see.

Herrera’s AW17 collection, Agila, explores the designer’s Filipino heritage in a palette of black, brown and white. Tribal art found in the northern part of Luzon, the largest island of the Philippines, inspired this season’s offerings along with the proud Philippine eagle of which Herrera produced original artwork. His unique images of the eagle were transferred on to fabric with the use of dye-sublimation printing technology. Angular tailoring and structure reinforced the notion of strength associated with this chosen national symbol. Overstated winged eyeliner, strong stances and headpieces made of beads and feathers united the models as they traveled the stage and floor.

John Herrera launched his brand in London two years ago when he participated in the British Fashion Council and British Fashion Council’s International Fashion Showcase. 2015 proved to be a momentous year for the designer as he also won at the London Emerging Designer Awards and showed at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Tokyo. While, Herrera continues to gain international recognition, there is an enduring element of his brand that remains – his love and appreciation for his roots. Not only does he honour the Philippines through his designs nor merely look to his origins for seasonal inspiration, he actually supports his community in a highly favourable way by hiring women from challenged communities to produce his collections.

Since showing at Fashion Scout, Herrera has won at the Britain’s Top Designer Awards in March – the question now is what can we expect next from the impassioned and innovative designer?

About Sarah Orr
Sarah moved to London last year to complete her postgraduate studies at the London College of Fashion. On returning to her native Dublin, the fashion photographer and writer immersed herself into the world of PR working with a range of fashion and beauty brands. When she’s not behind the camera or laptop, Sarah enjoys drinking copious amounts of tea, instagraming everything and anything and dreaming of summer all year long.