Juan Hernandez Daels (En)

“The academy is a great place. I feel like they don’t teach you but they drift you to learn and explore by yourself.”

-Tell us little background of yourself and brand

Juan Hernandez Daels is an MA Fashion Design graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. Born in Buenos Aires, Juan grew up in Argentina where he attended Industrial Design School. At the age of 23 he moved to California to study Photography for two years before moving to Antwerp. Juan’s graduate collection was inspired by the psychedelic pop image of David Bowie and Iggy Pop, combined with elements of the movie Blade Runner and it’s art deco aesthetic. The collection was divided into organic and geometrical silhouettes, representing the two opposites of replicas and humans from the film. During his studies Juan has gained experience at Dries van Noten, Raf Simons and Strip-Denim. He also got into the world of Tailoring under the tutorship of Daniel Janssens a well-trained tailor and also his business partner. His designs have also seen him reach the finals of The Arts of Fashion (San Francisco) and the IFF Perfume Award.

-How did you come to establish the label?

The label was established in 2009 after I finished my studies. I was still working together with Daniel and we realized we could work really well together. Somehow we balance each other really good.

-How did you get into fashion in the first place? What made you want to become designer?

I was always interested in design in general. First I studied Industrial design, but I felt it was too rigid. I think fashion design was the right thing for me because it had the freedom of an art study in the frame of a design career.

-Why did you choose Antwerp to study?

Antwerp was a clear choice for me. Not only because my mother is from Antwerp but also for the artistic approach of the school. It had that wild feeling that made me curious.

-Tell me a bit about Royal Academy. What was it like studying there?

The academy is a great place. It has a lot of freedom. I feel like they don’t teach you but they drift you to learn and explore by yourself. They really challenge you and if they don’t feel you are 100 % motivated they let you go.

-What is your design philosophy?

Our design philosophy stems from a continuing obsession with the human form and body contours, resulting in carefully orchestrated designs that fit to perfection. The vision behind the collection is founded on handcraft tailoring, perfect cut and traditional pattern techniques in contrast with a desire to futurism. The result is a couture collection of refined details, functionality, strong on image and quality.

-Do you find Argentinean roots in your design?

Not at the moment, I think I will bring them in the collection when the time is right but for now I’m based in Antwerp and I still have lots of sources of inspiration here.

-Who are your design icons?

David Bowie, YSL and Pierre Cardin

-What are the sources of inspiration in your fashion design?

I always inspire myself from music and old sci-fi movies.

-How would you describe your customer?

The women who identifies herself with the strong vision of this couture label but also in the very pronounced items which aim to reinforce the image and desire of exclusivity with the perfect cut, the use of rich & pure qualities, but also the functionality and comfort.

-Does your design process always follow the same process?

Yes. First I do a lot of brainstorming with all kinds of images. Then I do a selection and create a board with it and I place it in front of my drawing table. Then I start the design process.

-Is there any artists or designers that had a strong influence of your career?

I think there are many designers that have influenced me at different steps of my career. I could say Walter Van Beirendock was the one that influenced me the most since he was my mentor at school.

-How do you see your brand developing over the next couple of years?

We set up in mind that we want to grow slowly and healthy. Always developing new techniques and maintaining high quality standards.
So far we had 2 showrooms in Paris, for the next season we will also have a show in London and a showroom in NY. I hope for the future we can also reach Tokyo.

Interview:Masaki Takida

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