Growing up in Compton, Johana Hernandez watched as her Salvadoran parents worked long hours for very little pay in sweatshops, sewing garments for clothing brands.
Today, Hernandez has her own clothing line and was able to have her family come work for her. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising graduate launched her brand, named Glaudi, to design with her Latino roots in mind. The brand proved to be a success, and Hernandez is the first Salvadorian designer ever to show in Paris Fashion Week.
"I’m just so glad I’m able to open that door," she said. "I want more people to see...'This girl came from Compton. She did all these things, and she’s in Paris. If she can do it, I could do it.'"
In this episode of "LA Stories," Hernandez explains to host Giselle Fernandez how she wants to send the message with her designs that high fashion looks fabulous on people of all shapes and sizes.
Hernandez takes pride in helping people feel good about themselves. She is determined to use fashion "for good” by creating a culture of respect for her dressmakers, educating children in El Salvador from her dress sales, creating jobs in Compton and mentoring young women in the Southland.
"It's going to be so beautiful to be able to buy a Glaudi dress and know that you're feeding a family," she said. "You’re giving people work, and you’re giving people hope."
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More recently, Hernandez has expanded her reach by opening another store in Beverly Hills, making her one of the youngest Latina business owners in the area.
"There needs to be more of us," she said. "It's so nice to be an American Latina here in the capital of fashion."
Hernandez also launched a men’s line in honor of her late father. She says her father was everything to her and credits him with teaching her the importance of making people feel good.
"Out of the loss of my dad, I was able to create this men's line that just empowers men to dress for success and to look good and feel great, too."
Watch "LA Stories with Giselle Fernandez" at 9 p.m. every Monday on Spectrum News 1.