Fashion Designer Guillermo Jop Revels in New GUiSHEM Line & Guatemala's First Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
Guatemalan runway couture designer Guillermo Jop, who is also head designer for the GUiSHEM brand, has created innovative and edgy designs for top celebrities, such as Kristen Stewart, Kelly Osbourne, Julianne Hough, Connie Britton, as well as Latina celebrities Christina Milian and Bella Thorne, among many others. His contemporary yet vintage flair features razor-sharp edges, mesh and geometric shapes, yet he still manages to accentuate the curves of the female form.
From Guatemala to North Carolina, Italy, New York and back to his homeland, Jop continues to wow -- his latest collection was featured at the Edit Show at the Javits Center in New York City where luxury buyers scout designer duds and designer hopefuls anxiously waited to see if they will catch the eye of the buyer beholder.
The Guatemala City native, who considers himself to be a "pioneer of fashion" for his country, was not only thrilled to be back in New York City, but he also shared his excitement with Latin Post regarding the launch of the first-ever Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Guatemala, which takes place on Nov. 26 and 27.
While Jop's latest collection is fierce, he incorporated dainty colors, such as periwinkle to mix it up a bit and make it fashionably ironic.
"Basically, we went more or less into the retro-modern look. We tried to use all of this mesh, or jacquard that looks like mesh. Our colors are nude, periwinkle, black and royal blue," Jop told Latin Post.
"We always get inspired by architecture. We always take elements of architecture like the shapes, the structure, the geometric shapes and cuts. Also, the main inspiration is futuristic retro, so we try to emote this feeling...a nostalgic feeling but in a modern look -- from the 40s, 50s and 60s."
Jop has worked in Europe, New York City and Guatemala with some of the best, including Donna Karan, Zac Posen, La Perla, Monte Textil and Nylontex International.
He's also the recipient of the La Perla Award in 2004; Mercedes-Benz and Vogue Regional Latin American Fashion Award in 2005; and in Centro America Moda as the best Central American young designer in 2007. He was also named one of Guatemala's Top 10 People of the Year in both 2007 and 2008.
Jop has gained further recognition from Hollywood as well as a following from "Twilight" actress Kristen Stewart's stylist, Tara Swennen, who was named one of the Top 25 Power Stylists of 2014. She has styled Stewart since she was 14 years old.
Last year, Swennen made a splash by having the edgy actress dress up in a red lace jumpsuit designed by Stella McCartney for the Met Gala, which had a "Punk: Chaos to Couture" theme.
"[Swennen] has always supported me since I started. She even came to my store opening in June back in Guatemala. She is one of the top 25 best stylists in the world," Jop added.
"Last year we have dressed like almost six celebrities per month," he said. Other celebrities he's designed for include: singer Estelle, Maggie Grace, Erika Christensen, Nina Dobrev and Camilla Luddington, among many others.
Jop has evolved into a stylist's favorite for red carpet events and parties. He is "renowned for his signature geometric pattern-cutting techniques and razor-sharp silhouettes. Graphic panels contour the figure with an ultramodern feel, whimsically hinting at a futuristic and almost superhero motif that is both empowering and playful."
This year, Guatemala is making fashion history with the launch of its first-ever Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Guatemala City. Jop is thrilled to take part the exciting event, as it's monumental for his country and the industry as a whole.
"It's growing very slow," he said of the Guatemalan fashion industry, yet with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week soon underway, it's gaining traction. "I am going to have a runway show. I think they are going to invite some international designers."
The current styles in Guatemala reflect the country's history. "Most of the designers in Guatemala, their inspirations are from Mayan fabrics," Jop explained. "There is Maria's Bag or Eduardo Figueroa."
Born into the fashion industry in his native Guatemala where his family owns and operates a successful textile manufacturing business, Jop has always had an affection towards fabric.
"My whole life I have been around fabrics. I remember during holidays we would run and play around my father's factory. It was then that I fell in love with fabrics," he said. "I have always been fascinated by fabrics."
Inspired more so by fashion, but with the added pressure of continuing the family business, at the young age of 17, Jop moved to the U.S. to attend North Carolina State University. There he received a BSC in textile and apparel management.
After graduation, Jop moved to Europe and obtained a bachelor's in fashion design from Polimoda in Florence, Italy. He made quite the splash there when he presented his graduation collection called "Dirty Clowns," which was inspired by Cirque du Soleil. The collection was so impressive that he received a standing ovation.
From there, he continued on to receive his post-graduate certificate in innovative pattern making from the prestigious central Saint Martin's school of arts in London, England.
Pulling from his experience and expertise in different areas of the fashion industry, Jop set off on his own path and created GUiSHEM in 2005. In 2007, he became Nylontex International's head designer, designing and launching Julie France body shapers into the U.S. market and a year later worldwide.
"We have seamless manufacturing, like Spanx, which is like Guatemalan version of Spanx," he joked. "But we sell it in the U.S. as well as Guatemala, so it's available here."
Simultaneously, Jop continued designing his custom-made gowns. Today, the GUiSHEM brand has grown to become a major part of the Latin American market.
In 2008, Jop decided to expand and create his first ready-to-wear cocktail and eveningwear collection for Fall/Winter 2009, launching GUiSHEM in the U.S. market. He continued to show his Fall/Winter 2011 and Spring/Summer 2012 collections at the Mercedes-Benz fashion week New York.
"The experience was great. I certainly learned so many things, I gained different perspectives," he said. "It was like a foundation to start my own line, to get ideas of things to do and not to do in my own company."
Given that it's Hispanic Heritage Month, Jop would like to inspire others Latinos in the fashion industry and beyond.
"I'm always proud to represent my country ... I am proud to be part of a growing industry in Guatemala. It's a little industry, but I am one of the first ones who has done it. I am like a pioneer in the industry in Guatemala and I am very proud to represent my country and the Latin American community here in New York."
You can purchase GUiSHEM in New York, California and New Jersey. The New York locations include: ELEANOR SCHAIN in Brooklyn, JIMMY'S NEW YORK in Brooklyn and RUNWAY COUTURE in Bellmore. For more information visit Jop's official website.
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