Yesterday a reader, Serg Riva, left a comment encouraging me to write more about Latin pop culture and how I think it relates to fashion. To tell the truth, I'd never really thought about the two in relation to each other. Sure, I admired and envied the ease with which my Mexican ex-boyfriend's sisters could look feminine and sexy with minimal effort. On my trips to Mexico City, I surreptitiously checked out the graphic tees and laid-back cool of my ex and his friends. I've written about what I think epitomizes Latin girl chic during the summertime. On the whole though, I don't think I've let these two sides of my blog overlap much. Fashion is fashion, and my fervent interest in Latin pop culture falls into the "anything else that catches her fancy" category.
Serg's comments spurred some thoughts which are still percolating in my head, waiting for a more articulate moment in the sun. In the meantime, my more immediate thoughts jumped to NaCo brand T-shirts.
NaCo started off as the brainchild of two Latin art students in design school in Pasadena, California. The name of the company is a play on the Mexican slang word "naco," which is closest to something like "hick" or "white trash" in English. NaCo's founders wanted to re-appropriate the term "naco" and turn it into something positive: in their view, a naco is someone who is unabashedly himself and self-accepting, no matter how tasteless or low-class others think he is. The result? A collection of subversive, tongue-in-cheek graphic tees and a following among Latin entertainers such as Molotov, Cafe Tacuba, Juanes, Diego Luna, and Gael Garcia Bernal.
(Random shoes hanging off electric wires; how much more naco can you get?)
("Guey" is another bit of Mexican slang and sounds exactly like "way." Every time I've asked a Mexican guy what it means, he's had trouble giving me an exact definition. I consider it something close to "dude" in surfer-speak because it gets appended to the end of sentences randomly, almost reflexively.)
A quick look at the NaCo website instantly threw me into full-on Mexico nostalgia. Even NaCo's Spanish-language URL (http://www.chidochido.com/) made me laugh: "Chido" is Mexican slang and means "awesome." When you see something really cool, you say "Que chido" or "Esta bien chido."
(Translation: "Being naco is awesome." Indeed.)
Some really chido links: