November 2, 2016

Anna Hernandez, Founder of Luna Textiles, Dies at 56

Anna Hernandez, the founder, president, and CEO of fabrics manufacturer Luna Textiles, has passed away at 56. Her life is a testament to design’s unparalleled ability to inspire, connect, and guide.

Hernandez was born in Hollywood, Florida, in 1960. After graduating from Whitman College in 1982, Hernandez moved to Los Angeles, where she received an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. She was immediately drawn to the design industry and started working for furniture and textiles companies in various management capacities until founding Luna Textiles—initially a one-woman operation—in 1994.

Serving as president and CEO, Hernandez quickly established Luna as an industry leader in the commercial textile field. The brand’s first collection, launched in 1995, was honored with the Best of NeoCon Silver award, paving the way for future industry accolades. Luna received additional Best of NeoCon recognitions in 2003, 2004, and 2010. In 2014, Hernandez won Interior Design’s prestigious Honoring Industry People (HiP) award for “Industry Champion.”

Hernandez’s shrewd marketing talents distinguished Luna since the beginning. Insisting on whimsical marketing strategies, she showcased her textiles in the form of handbags, chapeaux, raincoats, and shoes, incorporating one of her greatest inspirations: fashion. This blurring of design boundaries imbued Luna with a couture-like sensibility that is maintained to this day.

Even during the height of Luna’s growing popularity and momentum, Hernandez wanted the company to maintain its small-business origins. That may explain why much of Luna’s dedicated staff has remained at the company for over two decades. Working in a spacious, light-filled loft in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, the company’s employees bike to work, dogs in tow, where a family-like ethos pervades.

Hernandez married Interior Design Hall-of-Famer Michael Vanderbyl in 2003. The couple, who met a decade prior, lived and breathed design. Their Napa Valley residence features interiors emblematic of the duo’s achievements. For example, their dining chairs, designed by Vanderbyl for Bernhardt, are made with Luna upholstery, as are the curtains. Vanderbyl is also the creative force behind Luna’s graphics and branding (even designing the company’s inaugural fabric collection) and masterminded the brand’s IIDA award–winning showroom at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

Throughout her career, Hernandez played an active role in the commercial design community. She joined the 2007-2008 IIDA International Board of Directors as Vice President of Industry Relations. She also served as an advisor in the interior design program at California College of the Arts, Vanderbyl’s alma mater (where he currently serves as dean of Design).

The IIDA partnered with Hernandez’s family and Luna Textiles to establish the Anna Hernandez/Luna Textiles Education Fund, which seeks to advance the education and empowerment of women in design. 

Our condolences go out to Hernandez’s family, friends, and colleagues. The legacy of her company Luna—named after the Roman goddess of the moon—will illuminate our community for years to come.

Recent DesignWire