Storyteller 1: Xandra Rocha
Posted on 19 July 2020
One of our norths (not a word, we know) here in Herman & Co. is to inspire even just one person to slide a proud glance at their roots and feel moved to know more about their heritage. It's this constant desire to create, because creation is the best way we know how to express. Yes. we take every collection personally because these are our stories, yours, ours and theirs. We always start with a story. And then from there, a design concept is sketched. Followed by a mood board for textiles, patterns and photo references, and then an explosion of colors that depict our current space with consideration to the communities' traditions and customs. Because for us, the journey starts with a narrative.
It all happened during a casual convo with Xandra Rocha at some event. I had always been curious about her story, I felt like there was always something behind her cheery hazel eyes, an intense creative fire just waiting to be ignited. I was not certain though, I am just barely starting to believe that this passion project I started three years ago was actually headed somewhere. I have this annoying tendency to be shy and whispery (again maybe not an actual word) about my story. Imagine inviting someone to share your start-up vision not sure if it will work. I'll let you know how this went later in this blog post.
Xandra plays many roles and does them all well (too well)-- mom, wellness advocate, fitness buff, society pages darling, effective and credible brand ambassador, and certified foodie just to name a few. During our first sit-down to plan the collection, my first question was "What's your story"? There were many, of course, but what among those is so integral that it would translate to an assortment of well-thought of products that would make our loyal followers feel good and inspired? A bit more prodding and her mixed heritage and being a Filipino thru her lens came up and it felt like such a fit. In my mind comes the easy part, after all, I had been creating collections for a few years now and was something I could do with my eyes closed. Then when samples arrived, I would update Xandra and next thing she has to do is show up to the launch and we would live happily ever after. (Spoiler alert: we did live happily ever after but not without a few bumps on the road but most importantly life lessons I still remember on a daily basis.) It turned out to be not so easy-peasy as I thought as anything good sometimes takes great effort, but it was all absolutely worth it.
Xandra is a fiercely loyal friend who loves hard, and as intense as her energy is for everything she holds dear in her life, I saw what it was like to be in her corner. It felt like having a constant cheerleader on demand. Nothing was to be glossed over, multi-tasking was but a norm, and when it gets tough, she perseveres some more. She was hyper-involved (oftentimes just hyper lol) and showed me that every thread, button, zipper counts. I knew this already of course, but we tend to get desensitized to the process after some time. Xandra wanted to take careful consideration towards making sure it was the best thread, button and zipper. I knew this was more than a collection of pretty things for her. This was how it should be, I told myself, Filipino fashion and products always challenged to the highest level possible. After all, this was a journey, perhaps a form of healing for both of us even and it was the tight hand-holding-I-gotchu-sis type of creating together. I then learned the importance of compassion when it comes to a partnership. You speak to also listen.
The collection was amazing, perhaps the best and most carefully-curated Herman & Co. has ever launched. We decided on the name Mezcla for the collection because it was a word that struck a chord for us both, coming from varied backgrounds and just wanting to tell the world about the beautiful blend we are all made up of but we are all still connected by a single thread. Everything that happened to our ancestors, leading us here exactly where we are now, is all part of the bigger story we have yet to live out.
This is Mezcla, an inspired collection of blended stories and mixed narratives expressed in festive tones we hope you will enjoy.
All gratitude to our storyteller, our dear Xandra, for lending us her life lens and being patient with the tedious process of creating. We cannot wait to tell new stories with you, be blessed always.
Special thank you to Al Valenciano, the genius behind Balay ni Atong, a brand who helps keep the weaving communities in the Ilocos Region. Al is a true groundbreaker when it comes to developing and utilizing heritage textiles and generously shared his wisdom and time to us for this collaboration. For more info, visit @balayniatong on instagram and www.balayniatong.com online.
This is dedicated to you, our patient and loyal followers, with whom we have embarked on this long journey. We hope you keep embracing your roots and feel beautiful in our pieces. You inspire us to keep creating.