Bandida’s Jamie Balbuena Shows Us How to Rep for All the Cholas, in True #CulturaDura Fashion

Cultura Dura is a Remezcla and Mike’s HARDER content and event series highlighting emerging Latin urban culture. We’ll be exploring scenes that haven’t really gotten any coverage anywhere else – from block parties and street art to underground sports and raw, young artists making movements pa’ la calle.

When we profiled Jamie Balbuena, founder and designer of Latina-focused line Bandida, we knew we’d stumbled onto something special. Her irreverent attitude (“our motto is: you have to be a little malcriada to make it in America”) mixed with her politically-informed perspective (“it’s feminism through a bi-cultural, multi-ethnic lens”) make for a line that gives Latinas a way to rep their set and look cute while doing it. Or as Jamie puts it, “Bandida is about addressing the issues from within our communities (machismo, marianismo) and from outside (marginalization, fetishization) with a middle finger in the air.”

Buzz for Balbuena’s work has been growing; up-and-coming artists like Kali Uchis have been spotted rocking the brand, which playfully flips familiar logos in unexpected ways, often using ambiguous terms that express the complexity of female Latinidad. Her approach feels fresh; though logo parodies have long been a part of streetwear’s aesthetic (and have been seen everywhere from #Been #Trill’s NASCAR homages to the “Homiès” Hermes logo parodies), terms targeting Latino identity are rarely incorporated.

Kali Uchis in Bandida


We caught up with Jamie in Spanish Harlem to hear more about her inspirations, and her personal style (she’s a tomboy sneakerhead).