Juan has been around fashion since a little boy, spending many December holidays in his Uncle Gideon’s fashion studio, admiring the beautiful pieces created and learning about the intricacies involved in the design process. He would stay awake into the early hours of the morning, watching his uncle put together his latest range and creating exquisite dresses for Miss SA contestants .
Juan’s Home Economics teacher believed in his future in fashion, and encouraged him to enter the Bernina Lap Jol Competition, and to his surprise, he won the competition. In 2006, Juan was awarded the ELLE Magazine LISOF bursary, allowing him to complete his Bachelor of Arts in Fashion.
This opportunity allowed Juan to develop his theoretical knowledge of the fashion industry, develop his skills and technique, and experiment creatively with design.
During his studies, Juan was awarded multiple young designer awards, including:
- Cleo Magazine Young Designer Award (2008)
- Bridal Africa Young Designer Award (2008)
- Foschini/You Magazine Young Designer of the Year (2009)
In 2009, Juan had the honour of interning at Marion & Lindie, where he learnt valuable lessons about design and the ready-to-wear fashion industry. Lindie’s dedication and passion left mark on Juan, and inspired him to dream big and follow his dreams.
Over the years, Juan has had the honour to work alongside and dress some of South Africa’s top celebrities and beauty queens, including:
- Anele Mdoda – Television and Radio personality
- Zozibini Tunzi – Miss South Africa (2019), Miss Universe (2019)
- Demi-Leigh Tebow (neé Nel-Peters) – Miss South Africa (2017), Miss Universe (2017)
- Dr Adé van Heerden – Miss South Africa (2017)
- Dr Tamaryn Green – Miss South Africa (2018)
- Nambitha Ben-Mazwi – Actress.
Working with these wonderful women has been a career highlight for Juan, as they support him pushing the creative boundaries of fashion and beauty. An absolute dream come true was seeing his dress on the Academy Awards’ red carpet, worn by Anele Mdoda in 2019 and 2020. Juan prides himself in creating beautiful pieces that are reflective of his clients, himself, and his country; and so to see his dresses at the Oscars will be memories forever in his heart.
We are Juan William Aria and we are here to make your dreams dress become an unforgettable experience!
In 2010, Juan William Aria officially opened our doors, and how poetic that our first client was a bride-to-be! Creating dresses for women is a truly magical experience, and it is the pure joy and excitement of our clients that inspires Juan to keep on creating that magic.
Juan William Aria is synonymous with contemporary design. Each dress is designed with exceptional artistry and attention to detail for the women of today. Our priority is always our client, and so our beautiful clients are a part of the entire journey – from design, to fabric sourcing, to those finer details that make your dress yours! Juan William Aria designs focus on the feeling you get when you climb into that dress – we want each woman to see feel as beautiful, confident, feminine, and strong as what they are. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail, impeccable fit, and the wearability of our designs. When our clients walk out of our studio beaming, we know we have done our job.
We are big romantics and love weddings, which is why bridal wear is our core focus at Juan William Aria. We are here for the whole wedding party – brides, bridesmaids, flower girls, mother of the brides and grooms, and guests too! Brides are able to decide whether they want to design their dress, or choose a dress from our ARIA by Juan William Aria range – our made-to-order bridal line. ARIA offers timeless bridal pieces that are accessible and affordable, whilst capturing the feminine feeling of Juan William Aria Designs. The collection suits a variety of tastes, from bohemian beauties; sleek and sophisticated numbers; to romantic classics.