Written by Mark Angello C. Ganon

Making waves across the globe with his avant-garde haute couture dotted with a tribal heritage is John Herrera, an influential fashion designer and HIV advocate. On December 1, 2017, in celebration of the World AIDS Day, he joins renowned individuals and fellow HIV advocates in the first-ever Love Gala, Asia's premier charity and awards gala at the BCG Arts Center in Taguig City, with part of ticket proceeds going to HIV/AIDS non-profit organizations.

Herrera’s Beginnings

Although still in his 30s, John is no fashion design novice. He has made a name in the Philippine fashion industry since as the Most Promising Young Designer in the Philippine Fashion Design Competition in 2004. Unbeknownst to most, this Fashion Institute of the Philippines graduate has a twin brother, Paul, with whom he shares the same passion for fashion. Together, they formed their brand House of Herrera in 2013 when they emerged victorious in the MEGA Young Designer’s Competition. However, Paul’s fashion foray ceased when he passed away a year after due to complications from HIV. For John, it was a heart-breaking and an eye-opening ordeal. This loss fueled the creation of masterpieces that will push barriers, both in the fashion industry and in HIV advocacy.

Fast forward to 2015, John penetrated the international scene. Initially showing in London in 2015, he stamped his international prominence when he emerged as the London Emerging Designer (LED) with his bioluminescence-themed collection. Awards and recognition didn’t stop this young fashion design connoisseur in augmenting his international mark. He managed to bag another title when he bested London-based designers in the much-coveted Britain’s Top Designer for 2017. Love Gala attendees are sure to be mesmerized with world-class fashion design with John Herrera’s pieces.

Herrera at the Love Gala

While there may be a lot of people flocking to grab their own John Herrera dresses, John’s feet are unquestionably planted firmly in the ground. Since his brother’s passing in 2014 due to HIV complications, he has been a staunch advocate of HIV awareness. This December 1, 2017, John Herrera will join renowned fashion designers Francis Libiran, Cary Santiago and Nat Manilag in the much-awaited Love Gala, Asia’s Premier Charity and Awards gala. This event will recognize ten outstanding individuals who have made unparalleled influence in the HIV and AIDS advocacy in our country, conferring to them the first-ever Ripple Awards.

A collaborative effort of individuals and organizations, the Love Gala aims to kindle HIV awareness in the hearts of Filipinos. With initiatives from partner organizations (AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Better Together, Black Maria Productions, Decent Image of South Signal Association (DIOSSA), Dentsu Jayme Syfu, Pinoy Plus Association Incorporated, Positibong Marino Philippines, Sustained Health Initiatives of the Philippines (SHIP), Taguig City Government, The Red Whistle, The LoveYourself Incorporated, and the US Embassy), the Love Gala wants to highlights HIV and AIDS awareness as a national advocacy.

The one-day event is open to all current and aspiring-to-be HIV advocates from all walks of life. It will showcase world-class performances by local music icons led by Asia’s Songbird Regine-Velasquez-Alcasid and will be dotted by local celebrities such as Miss Universe 2015 and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.

For interested individuals and groups, Love Gala tickets are now sold at lovegala.org/tickets. Donor-guests are provided with seating choices: VIP (P7,000.00), Patron (P5,000.00), Balcony A (P1,500.00), and Balcony B (P1,000.00), ten percent (10%) of which will be allotted for endeavours in the HIV advocacy.

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