“If you’re not throwing more flavor into the stew, you’re not gonna get anything new or special.” Guillermo Andrade is sitting at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas processing the current state of music and fashion – two worlds he’s acted as a link for for a decade come March. The Guatemalan designer behind respected Los Angeles-based streetwear brand FourTwoFour on Fairfax is here celebrating the launch of a merch capsule he designed in partnership with Footaction, to benefit the Latin Grammy Foundation. Art inspired by Bad Bunny, Christian Nodal, Greeicy and Sebastian Yatra grace the black canvas tees. The spectrum of artists chosen for the capsule, and how Andrade chose to represent them, are indicative of larger trends and forward thinking movements within the sibling art realms.
The first time Andrade found himself in Vegas was years ago at MAGIC, an annual apparel and fashion accessories trade show. “Looking back now, it’s really surreal to come back here on these terms in the spirit of what we’re working on now,” he says. He was focused on selling Sneaker Crowns at the time, not at all cognizant of the impact he’d have in fashion, and streetwear apparel specifically, in a few years time.
Though the 35-year-old creative admits it would have been cool to work directly with the artists to develop the concepts for the capsule, doing so on his own allowed for a freedom the end product wouldn’t have benefitted from otherwise. In Greeicy’s case, he depicted a more moody, less “pretty” version of the artist – focusing on her tattoos and grungier side rather than going the simpler, sexualized route. In Bad Bunny’s case, the imagery was a no brainer. “That’s an iconic moment,” he declared. “He’d been doing it for a while but when he stepped out like that – he made it a point to go in front of all of the cameras…and he just came so hard with it.” Now that moment rightfully lives on in ‘90s rap tee format, reminiscent of imagery of the Godfather or Wu-Tang Clan, with a minimal twist.
“Music is arguably the most influential art form of our time, in my opinion,” Andrade says. “Music hits you… it captures you. I chose to focus on the energy of their music and a particular feeling from their body of work. So, it’s more like a collaborative project in the third person. I fed off of the energy that they put into the world,” he explained.
Merch isn’t a new endeavor for this purist meets exploratory breed of designer. In 2013, Andrade worked on J Balvin’s line for the La Familia tour. The Colombian reggaetonero was merely reaching for the brim of the scope of fame he now has, and his stylist was a regular at 424. “José, I think, is very in touch with subcultures, movements, all kinds of different things,” Andrade said recalling their initial collab and Balvin’s hand on the pulse of the fashion industry. That line then catapulted into a friendship that’s still goin’ strong.
Things like having a hub for young artists like Tyler the Creator and the rest of Odd Future to host a show in in 2010, or collaborate with the likes of Juanes and Wiz Khalifa, or even be a part of the Latin Grammy’s 20th anniversary merch capsule isn’t something the designer, deemed one of Vogue’s most stylish men, would have dreamt up in the aughts. Yet, here we are.