Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a revived interest in “cholo style” – an aesthetic that in the 90s was born from a specific Mexican-American subculture; in the early 2000s got incorporated into the looks of mainstream performers like Gwen Stefani and Fergie; and today is a full-on trend seen everywhere from Selena Gomez to Givenchy runways.
But the cholo aesthetic’s infiltration into mainstream culture is a complicated subject that seesaws between homage and appropriation, as recent thoughtful articles have pointed out. Which is why it’s we’re always happy to see it done in collaboration with members of LA’s Mexican-American creative community, as seen in the new BAPE and Undefeated capsule collection.
The two street wear brand heavyweights have teamed up with legendary Los Angeles graffiti artist Mr. Cartoon (aka Mark Machado) on a tribute to Lowrider culture, brought to life through Mr. Cartoon’s graphics and a lookbook called “Por Vida.” (coincidentally,”Por Vida” also happens to be the name of Kali Uchis’ debut EP, an artist who has also been known to flirt with chola-inspired looks).
The lookbook was shot by famed Los Angeles photographer Estevan Oriol, renowned for his black & white, documentary style takes on LA’s cholo and lowrider community (he’s also done his fair share of celebrity and brand photography – the man is a beast). In “Por Vida”, you’ll see tees, hoodies, jackets and accessories modeled by the LA community that inspired the collection– of note is the Shark hoodie with the Sad Clown graphic on it.
Por Vida will be released this Saturday March 14th at BAPE and Undefeated stores – and if you can’t make it, you can cop it online.
But be sure to press those keys fast or prepare for a lucha libre fight on eBay when the resellers arrive.