Hub designer driven by deep passion for fashion

Allison V. Kelso | 10/7/2009, 5:55 a.m.
Daniel Hernández (foreground, right) was just 23 years old when he founded DH Studios Inc. in 1997. In...

He uses the plastic as a motif — it mostly appears in subtler forms, as an accent on each piece. He did create one item, though, which is almost entirely composed of the plastic: a corset-like top with lace and Swarovski crystals.

“Isn’t it cool?” Hernández said excitedly.

The plastic is easy to manipulate, mimics the texture of other fabrics and is machine-washable.

“I’m working with materials that I’ve never seen people use,” he said.

Hernández found inspiration for his new line while learning about feminism. The collection reflects that sense of strength.

“It’s supposed to … empower women,” he said.

The Androgynoux line also includes men’s pieces, however, marking the first time that a Hernández collection has featured clothing for both genders.

Longtime friend Erlyn Ordinario, manager of Sorbus Group, a media solutions and services company, said Hernández’s work has always sought to personalize fashion and speak to each client’s specific needs.

“I think he has this vision of how to create a wonderful image for different types of individuals … He cares about the individual,” she said. “He wants to make them look and feel good.”

Ordinario owns several pieces from Hernández’s previous collections, mostly professional clothing. She said he understands which style suits each woman’s personality and which designs flatter each body type.

“He can look at you and basically tell you what your needs are and help you [address] them,” she said.

Ordinario’s company, Sorbus Group, is one of the companies that sponsored Hernández’s most recent show.

“We were happy to do that, to support him in his endeavors,” she said.

Sorbus Group is one of many companies that have supported Hernández’s line; in fact, he was recently recognized by the organizers of Boston Fashion Week, who presented him with an Eye on Style Vision Award. He was also selected as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2003 Young Entrepreneur for Massachusetts and New England.

Munjeet Geyer, a model with the locally-based agency Maggie Inc., said she has participated in several of Hernández’s shows and watched him grow as a designer.

“We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve played,” she said with a chuckle. “I let him talk me into [fake] lashes that looked awful.”

Geyer appeared in Hernández’s most recent show, held last Tuesday night, once again helping him present his collection to the Boston fashion community.

But Hernández was not always so established.

He moved from Colombia to Boston at age 9. He later attended Blaine Beauty School, now called Empire Beauty School, and became, he said, the youngest stylist and makeup artist on Newbury Street at age 17.

Building a strong client base, he was able to rent space from Salon 10 on Newbury to start his own business before eventually signing a lease for his current Clarendon Street location.

At the same time, Hernández began pursuing his love of fashion.

“The very first collection … was a project my grandmother and I put together,” Hernández recalled.

It was a spontaneous decision, but one that sparked immediate interest. He entered his work in a competition judged by the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and earned the Alfred Fiandaca Award for Design and Excellence. The honor was a turning point for Hernández.