NN: Can you give us a little background on the Rojas designer/s and brand?
AH: Freddie Rojas launched the “Rojas” brand in 1995, but ran his business under other names with other business partners until 2002. That is when he relaunched “Rojas” all by himself. He has had his store on Melrose since 1993! I (Alejandra Hernandez) was hired at the end of 2003 to co-design and expand his women’s collection. He told me “I’m going to teach you EVERYTHING!!” I’ve been here ever since, and now the Rojas women’s collection can be found at a little over 250 retailers across the world! He has been amazing mentor.
NN: One thing that I have noticed about Rojas year after year is the ability to preserve the constant individuality and uniqueness of the line! How do you maintain those qualities amongst such a copycat industry?
AH: Copycat industry is right! We get knocked off all the time, and the funniest thing about it is that it takes a while for the piece to get knocked off. For example, our babydoll sweatshirt dress had been in stores for over a year before Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Juicy, and even Roxy knocked it off! Now it’s everywhere, even three years later you can still go to the alleys and see it in some cheapy store. even the different versions we did afterwards! It is hilarious! After that experience we stepped up our game. We now print our own fabric with our own artwork and really source out better trims. We want our clothes to look like something you can’t purchase at H&M. I look at some of the clothing companies that are considered our competition and think to myself “ wow….another silky dress that retails at $170! home girl could buy an almost exact version of at Forever 21…..” I just don’t get it. I pretty much sweat and bleed for better fabric so that our girls feel different in our piece. I think that’s what makes Rojas stand out now. I think that’s what makes it unique. That and the fact that we don’t really design our collections around trend but rather a lifestyle. That makes us a little “forward” too.
NN: I definitely believe that you guys were some of the first pioneers in the street wear circuit..What are your views on the street wear scene today?
AH:Overall, I think street wear is over saturated. Too much of it, and it all looks the same. I have always been inspired by street wear, but I was never “that” girl. My boyfriends would wear sneakers and I always wore heels. You know? I love what 10 Deep is doing. I would love to design a women’s collection for them. I believe it is the only street wear collection that tells a clever story, it’s really designed beautifully. It does exactly what every collection should, street wear or non street wear.
NN: Who are some indie designers that you feel are currently on point with their design aesthetic?
AH:I really love Alexandre Herchcovitch and Jean Charles De Castelbajac! Hands down!!! Absolutely amazing designers. They are definitely established designers, but most people don’t know who they are. Out of LA, I really love the boys at Anzevino and Florence, they are true visionaries and very young. They inspire me!
NN: I know that trend forecasting is a MAJOR component of keeping ones designs ahead of the rest of them :)…Name 3 trends/styles that you are over and 3 trends/styles that you foresee popping up this spring/summer!
AH: 3 trends I love right now:
1. Mini skirts, all day every day. High waisted and super tight! Show off those legs!
2. Super wide leg pants…. The wider the better. Very Parisian!
3. Neon undergarments/nails/sandals/EVERYTHING. Let a neon bra peek through a sheer white tee shirt or tank top and I will fall in love with you. don’t over do it, let the neon be a little pop to your plain outfit! TRUST ME!
3 trends I’m so over:
1. Over accessorizing. Don’t look like you are wearing a costume ever!!! I cant handle when you look like the accessory counter at wasteland through up on you! Save it for Halloween!
2. Tights or boots in the summer. Fall and winter have left so move on girls!. Do yourself a favor and wear a dress without the tights when it’s 80 degrees outside.
3. Bright eye makeup. Never ok.
NN: LA OR New York right now, and why?
AH:They are both equal to me, but very different. I cant choose. A lot coming out of both cities, but I do LOVE my LA. New york has less rules, but in LA you have more freedom. If that makes any sense.
NN: What can we look forward to from ROJAS for the Fall?
AH:Fall is very black and full of different textures. It is very chic, like a cleaned up Debbie harry look. We always make fall and holiday a little more “night time”. Definitely a lot of pieces you would wear to a party.