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Boyle Heights’ Own Barrio Dandy Talks Roots, Style & Resistance

Barrio Dandy. The name just gets you, doesn’t it?

We had the absolute pleasure of meeting the man himself, J.C. De Luna, better known as Barrio Dandy, at the soft opening of his long-awaited showroom located in Boyle Heights. It’s obvious that there’s something really special about this cat. Not sure if it’s his dapper style, his success as a vintage purveyor, his love for art curation, or it could be the fact that he dresses Leon Bridges. You choose.

“It’s about how we see ourselves,” he says. “Historically, people of color have seen themselves as secondary to others; not beautiful, not strong, not powerful. I believe that if we can see our reflection in the mirror as something positive, if we could see ourselves as beautiful…that’s a radical action.”

A sign made by J.C's friends amongst actual vintage collar bars, tie bars, and cuff links. Photo by Ethan Wong

A sign made by J.C’s friends amongst actual vintage collar bars, tie bars, and cuff links. Photo by Ethan Wong

De Luna’s greatest inspiration is his immigrant father, an artist, sculptor, craftsman, and well-dressed gentleman from Jalisco, Mexico. He worked two jobs to rebuild his family’s roots in the heart of Boyle Heights, and always encouraged De Luna to “…dream big, create and love.” Every outfit De Luna wears is an ode to him. As our conversation went on, he couldn’t help but stress the importance of embracing and uplifting one another, especially as folx of color.

 

J.C's personal style means mixing a variety of pieces from different eras in a masterful way. Photo by Ethan Wong
J.C’s personal style means mixing a variety of pieces from different eras in a masterful way. Photo by Ethan Wong

“It’s not to divide and conquer, not to do what they want us to do in that sense,” he says. “We’re already going through that in our own communities; we’re fighting each other. What we should be doing instead is creating, building, uplifting each other; supporting each other as entrepreneurs, visionaries, artists.”

De Luna redefines what it is to be a trendsetter and even moreso, and earth shaker. He is the mastermind behind the hashtag #styleasresistance, and it is only right that we leave you with his take on the influential concept:

“Style is resistance,” says De Luna.  “For me, style is resistance is the practice of being extraordinary individuals. Being our best and always showing our best against all adversity.

Being a reflection of our ancestors, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters.

 

Fedoras meant for zoot suits, perfect for those who want to relive LA 1940's pachuco style. Photo by Ethan Wong
Fedoras meant for zoot suits, perfect for those who want to relive LA 1940’s pachuco style. Photo by Ethan Wong

Style is resistance is the consciousness of empowerment of the self with the consciousness that we are a reflection of those around us. That we must embrace the positive and those that inspire us. We must lift each other and support each other with love, strength and integrity.

Ultimately, it is believing that we, as people of color, can overcome and radiate in the most beautiful ways. I believe that the most radical action for a person of color is recognizing the power they hold and the fact that we are beautiful. Once we can recognize this, then we can accomplish anything that we set our minds to. Sorry for the cliche, but it’s so true.”

The Barrio Dandy Vintage Showroom is now open for appointments. Reach out to J.C. directly via instagram @barriodandy and go add some vintage flair to your closet.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Elponk says:

    J. C. De Luna is as authentic as they come. A true artist and earthshaker that has broken the mold of what is expected to come out of the community..Much respect

  2. mn says:

    Love the article. Great to see an artist of such conviction
    getting recognition for his immense contributions
    to the people/culture of Boyle Heights and beyond.

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