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.
“Before, you knew who was from where based on how they dressed. If you saw someone with fatigues on, the field jacket — that person was probably from Brooklyn. If you saw somebody with Air Force 1s that person was probably from Harlem.” Uptown artist and graphic designer Tony Peralta gets a little nostalgic when he talks about old New York. The city he grew up in used to be grittier, more authentic, less homogenous, he laments. Boroughs had a distinct identity. Now, all the hype beasts are in the same handful of brands — they might be from Paris or they might be from Bed Stuy.
As an NYC-transplant I can’t speak to the good ol’ days, but when it comes to street style Peralta may have a point. Today, Tumblr, the Sartorialist, and thousands of other street style blogs broadcast local trends to every corner of the globe, and the internet makes it easy for consumers to get anything they want from anywhere they want it.
Still, local style is not dead, and insofar as there is a visual identity amongst the young and in-the-know of Inwood/Washington Heights, Peralta is responsible for it. Go to a party at uptown hotspots La Marina or Apt 78, and chances are you’ll see someone rocking a shirt or hat from his eponymous lifestyle brand the Peralta Project. The line, an alloy of NYC Latino culture, hip-hop and high-end logo satire, contains items specific enough to be inside references (see: the Defend Uptown bandana), as well as items that everyone who grew up with a Univision-watching abuela can relate to (see: the Walter Mercado is My Spiritual Advisor sweatshirt).
The result is a brand for people who want to rep the Ñ in ÑYC. In the video below, we caught up with Peralta to learn a little more about his style influences, his upbringing, and what goes into giving the Heights & Inwood a look to call its own: