The Johanna Ortiz X H&M Collaboration has to be my favourite least-hyped collaboration ever. With previous H&M designer collaborations having queues out the door from the early hours the day before, Ortiz’ collection managed to breeze into stores without a fanfare. It might have had something to do with the launch falling in the midst of a global pandemic. But it seems Ortiz hasn’t had the recognition for the collection that she really deserves.
Many pieces are still available online. Which is great for anyone still wanting to grab a piece to wear in the incredible weather we’re experiencing at the moment.
I can only imagine the collection wasn’t as hyped due to a lot of people maybe having not heard of Johanna Ortiz before. Ortiz is by no means a lesser-known designer though. From Cali, Colombia, she champions flamenco glamour. Channelling huge elaborate sleeves with one shoulder designs, ruffles and lots of print and colour. There’s something so feel good and feminine about her designs that make you just want to twirl in them. For her spring 2020 collection, she incorporated recycled fabrics into her designs, as a small step towards sustainability. Ortiz is also incredibly conscious of giving back to her community, employing indigenous communities and working with women in Colombia. All pieces by the brand are made in her country. With 250 staff in her HQ, two retail stores and an atelier. She also founded The Semillero, a foundation that teaches high-end sewing techniques to women from impoverished neighbourhoods.
The Latin-American Designer started her career, after graduating from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida with honours in Fashion Design. She started her couture label in 2001, after returning to Colombia. In 2014 she showed at two of the biggest fashion weeks in the country. Where she was celebrated and her notability kicked off. Co-founder of Moda Operandi, Lauren Santo Domingo spotted a guest wearing a design by Ortiz at a wedding. The designer agreed to present her the rest of the collection which was one of the turning points for the label and brought it to an international audience after she successfully listed on the fashion site. Today she’s stocked globally in some of the world’s top retailers.
Ortiz has explained previously (In an interview with Zara Wong for Vogue online in 2018) that she’s short and curvy. She tries on each piece she designs so she can understand how the wearer will feel in it. Attention is focused on fabric, volume and ease of garment to ensure that the designs flatter rather than wear the person.
Latin-American designs appeal so much to me as they don’t try to be anything else except happy, colourful and feminine. Clothes that evoke a smile and a compliment when worn. I wore a beautiful dress by Eugenia Fernandez (from The Latin Runway) to the premier of Yesterday. And so my Latin-American style crush started. Over the last few years, we’ve definitely seen more of this Colombian style influenced across fashion and I don’t think it will be going anywhere soon.
Though the H&M collaboration maybe hasn’t seen as much of an impact as previous collaborations (Balmain, Versace, Karl Lagerfeld etc), it’s definitely pushed Johanna Ortiz, as a label, closer to becoming more recognised by the highstreet fashpack. Fans of the brand already include Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Sienna Miller and pieces are priced (on average) at upwards of £700. This collaboration has introduced Ortiz to a huge new audience. And made her designs accessible to so many too, with prices, in contrast, starting at just £12.99.
This palm print dress is such a gorgeous design. Full bodied sleeves and Cotton fabric hugs the figure, accentuating curves without being too fitted. Perfect for lounging around the garden. An ode to Ortiz who explains her designs are meant for every-day wear and not just special occasions. It’s definitely going to be a summer staple for me. I just have to try and stop myself from buying every other piece in the collection! Have you bought anything from the collaboration or are there any pieces you have your eye on?