How Venezuelan Streetwear Brand Garzez Is Redefining Fashion Amid an Economic Crisis

Lead Photo: Art by Alan López for Remezcla
Art by Alan López for Remezcla
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Since 2013, Venezuela has been submerged in a deep economic and political crisis that’s led to food shortages, inflation, and corruption inside the Maduro administration. But Venezuela’s economy was once the richest market in Latin America thanks to the country’s booming oil production. These contrasting realities serve as inspiration for Garzez, a Caracas-based streetwear brand that aims to represent a more hopeful future for Venezuela by looking at its past.

The brand is the brainchild of Alejandro Garcés, a 29-year-old Venezuelan born in the town of Barquisimeto; he cut his teeth as a designer in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During this time, he inherited his documentarian approach to fashion, which serves as a hybrid of style and social commentary.

Garzez’s latest collection is a perfect example. Garcés took famous logos from brands, such as Nike, Marlboro, and Fila, and reworked them into new designs — a Nike sign now reads “Noike” on a T-shirt, while a Marlboro logo became “Malandro.”

“My inspiration is humanity, I love all forms of cultural manifestation and I always look at them from the outside, with an anthropological point of view,” Garcés told i-D. The collection’s ad campaign – shot by Santiago Mendez – has a modernist perspective that matches buildings from Venezuela’s 1950 economic boom with garments reminiscent of tuki culture, a community born in Caracas in the 1990s that stood out for its use of foreign logos and colorful style.

Logos have become increasingly popular in mainstream fashion as streetwear brands like Supreme and Bape continue to rise through the ranks. French labels such as Vetements, Louis Vuitton, and Balenciaga have opted to rework logos into luxurious goods, such as Vetements’ famous $300 DHL T-shirt. Meanwhile, Italian brand Gucci recently partnered with Harlem designer Dapper Dan to recreate his famous 1980s and 1990s logo-heavy leather pieces that once made him a household name inside hip-hop circles and eventually got his shop closed after Gucci and Louis Vuitton sued him.

Garcés’s mission goes beyond the trends, though. His collection aims to resist the economic and political crisis that Venezuela currently endures by showing the rest of the world that creatives in the country are still dreaming of a better future for themselves and their people. “We want our work to be known outside [Venezuela], always under a narrative full of heritage that screams to the world that Venezuela is still creating, expressing, and protesting,” Garcés told i-D. 

The collection is now available for pre-order on Garzez’s Instagram account. Check out a few pieces below.

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Venezuelan performing artist Alejandro Garcés presents his new project GARZEZ (the Venezuelan brand), a capsule collection that reflects the current situation of Venezuela, by using fashion as support and changing the meaning of logos that are popular in Venezuelan culture. This time the logo of the largest supermarket chain in Venezuela is used as reference to address a contemporary Venezuelan theme, the scarcity and high price of products that are part of the basic basket in Venezuelan households. Garcés completely changes the meaning of the acronyms that appear in the logo by adding an S in the middle and making it a colloquial expression that has been abbreviated in the digital age as "CSM", an expression of indignation or rage. El artista venezolano Alejandro Garcés presenta su nuevo proyecto GARZEZ ( the venezuelan brand), una obra que pretende mostrar la situacion actual de Venezuela usando como soporte la indumentaria y cambiando el significado de los logotipos que forman parte de la cultura popular venezolana. En esta oportunidad interviene el logo de la cadena de supermercados más grande de Venezuela usándolo como referencia para tratar un tema de la contemporaneidad venezolana, la escasez y el alto precio de los productos que forman parte de la canasta básica en los hogares venezolanos. Garcés cambia completamente el significado de las siglas que aparecen en el logo agregando una S en el medio y convirtiéndolo en una expresión coloquial que ha sido abreviada en la era digital como “CSM”, expresión de indignación o rabia. PH: @exzorltg Graphic desing: @pocasdecisiones Art director & concep: @alejandrogarzez #art #contemporaryart #artproyet #venezuela #supermarket #inflacion #csm #escaces #popart #desing #collection #fuckthesystem #punk #trap #hiphop #culture #expensive #trendy #engagement #performing #hypebeast

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