Alejandra Herrera is a London-based Fashion BA (Hons) graduate from Edinburgh College of Art. Her design aesthetic draws upon both her Colombian heritage and the influences from living in the UK. Her graduate collection investigates the corruption of innocence. Alejandra’s inspiration for a collection that juxtaposes itself is a direct connection to her mixed cultural identity. Growing up in the UK she recieved exposure to formal and traditional tailoring and learnt about historical fashion. This significantly contrasted the fashion of Colombia where the culture is expressed through the colour and movement of the garments, thus influencing Herrera’s silhouette designs. Her collection displays an appreciation for both traditional and liberal garment aesthetics. Herrera’s reinvented ‘lace’ design made up of hand-cut pill capsule shapes and Colombia’s national flower - the orchid - stemmed from the idea of showing beauty from afar but when the pattern is viewed up-close the hidden meaning of drug corruption comes through.

“We cannot hide from our dark past. Our national identity is tainted by drugs and corruption but we forget that behind this notorious reputation there was once a sense of innocence, beauty and freedom. Having been brutally stripped away from Colombian citizens, this purity is slowly resurfacing. However, the people’s strength during times of trouble transcends national sentiment and touches me on a personal level. I want to celebrate the diversity of my heritage which has undoubtedly been affected by Colombia’s woeful history. With such stark juxtapositions as inspiration, it seems only fitting that the textiles reflect the battle between the contrasting elements. By focusing on both its cultural and historical dimensions, I aim to show what Colombia has become and what it means to me.

Creating my graduate collection, I focused on sustainability and developing eco-friendly textiles by up-cycling used hessian coffee sacks. Not only did I want to represent the coffee exportation business of Colombia but I also wanted to choose a sustainable fabric that I could completely transform. I transformed this coarse, natural fibre into a luxurious looking textile that is biodegradable, sustainably sourced and can be used for high-end, quality garments. As a designer of the future, it is important to consider the impact the industry has on the environment and make positive changes.”