Johana Hernandez is a renowned entrepreneur and fashion designer who has spent over 17 years revolutionizing the clothing industry. Born in Los Angeles to Salvadoran parents seeking refuge from war, Johana was exposed to the inner workings of garment factories at a young age. Accompanying her parents to their work, she developed a deep understanding of garment construction and manufacturing processes, sparking her passion for design. Together with her mother, she began creating her own clothing as a hobby.
“My passion for design started as a child as my parents worked in factories sewing and would make clothing for me as a kid. They showed me what the sewing machines specialized in and how to make clothing at a young age. They also taught me about fabrications and how each one was sewn differently to create different designs. My parents taught me to work in excellence. If something is not made properly, do it again! After I saw them work so hard, I said when I was an 8-year-old kid, one day I will have a business that treats everyone with respect as my parents were paid very low wages and were not acknowledged, they were just seen as a number treated like machines. Now I named my luxury couture line GLAUDI based out of Beverly Hills and Downey after my mother GLADIS to share her story of hard work and my humble beginnings. My best fashion school was my parents as a kid that set me up to succeed at an early age of 19 becoming head designer of international brands.”
At just 19 years old, Johana’s exceptional talent led her to become the head designer for Bebina Jeans and Cappuccino Jeans in 2004. Her first collection for Bebina Jeans gained recognition in the Wall Street Journal for its high-quality fabric at an affordable price. She later embarked on freelance work for Denim Head and HL Clothing Company.
“I love to empower my clients through each design, making them feel good as we make all designs for all shapes and sizes and are perfectly tailored to each body. It’s so important to treat everyone with love, kindness, gentleness, and patience. And on a personal level, to succeed in business, believe you can do it and you will. Being a Latina designer in the luxury world of couture and bridal is not common, and some people are racist, but there are so many people that aren’t. So keep going, even when you feel like you’re the only person that looks like you in your industry. Just keep going, show them the beauty of our Latin American roots filled with love, excellence, and kindness.”
Johana’s career continued to soar as she designed for esteemed fashion brands such as Fortune Fashions, Jerry Leigh Entertainment Apparel, Seven7 Jeans, and Lane Bryant. In 2011, she established GLAUDI by Johana Hernandez, a line specializing in bridal and haute couture evening gowns. The opening of GLAUDI stores in Downey, CA, and Beverly Hills further solidified Johana’s presence in the fashion world.
“GLAUDI is named after my mother ‘Gladis’ to share that the brand came from the family’s hard work. I wanted to build my company with a family environment and to ensure that all my employee artisans were compensated fairly and treated with respect. My goal is to make people feel confident and beautiful, designing each gown to complement each shape. Love being a body positive Luxury designer brand!”
Motivated by her parents’ experiences in garment factories, Johana prioritized creating a family-like environment within her company and dedicated her profits to building a school in El Salvador. During the COVID-19 pandemic, GLAUDI stepped up by producing thousands of masks for frontline workers and the general public, using Johana’s talent to serve the community.
“My motto is ‘God is fabulous.’ I also host Bible studies for women and mentor youth through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. I am constantly fundraising and advocating for underserved children throughout Latin America.”
Johana’s remarkable journey as a designer has earned her numerous accolades and recognition. She served as a designer-judge on the international TV series “The Fashion Hero” and was selected as one of the top 13 designers in the US for the 2013 NBC series Fashion Star. She has been profiled as one of People en Espanol’s 25 Most Powerful Women in 2014, Latina Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in 2015, and one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Latin America in 2019. Her accomplishments led to her induction into the Marquis Who’s Who directory in 2020.
“I love being part of all my GLAUDI clients’ most memorable moments in their lives, from the wedding to their red carpet moments. I love to empower all my clients to feel and look their best as we make all our collections custom-made to their size. The influence I also use to give back, from Prom dress giveaways to wedding dress giveaways, to doing fashion shows. We just did our GLAUDI Dreams Come True Beverly Hills Fashion in March, which raised funds for EmpowHer through ticket sales.”
Looking to the future, Johana is excited about expanding her designs to include bespoke suits and tuxedos for men. This new venture allows her to empower both men and women while celebrating the importance of family within the GLAUDI brand. On a personal note, Johana reveals her engagement and upcoming wedding, finally experiencing the joy she has brought to countless others through her gowns.
“I’m honored to not only design wedding and evening gowns for all shapes and sizes but also men’s bespoke suits and tuxedos. Empowering men and women and celebrating family at GLAUDI. Also, I usually don’t share too much about my personal life, but finally, I’m engaged and getting married after designing 1,000’s of gowns. It’s my turn, and I will be getting married this Winter in Beverly Hills and spending my honeymoon on a safari in Africa. Dreams do come true at GLAUDI.”
Johana Hernandez’s journey as an entrepreneur and fashion designer is a testament to the power of passion, resilience, and empathy. Through her designs, philanthropic efforts, and commitment to empowering individuals of all shapes and sizes, she continues to inspire and make a lasting impact in the fashion industry and beyond.
This article feature is from our annual special edition issue, the L.A. STYLE Magazine Most Influential of 2023.