Image Source: Getty Images for Louis Vuitton/Pascal Le Segretain.
Before gender fluid fashion became socially acceptable in the US, celebrities like David Bowie, Dennis Rodman, Prince and Billy Porter were confidently and unapologetically sporting casual styles. But outside of Juan Gabriel, we’ve never had a Latino icon to normalize this in our communities. But artists like Bad Bunny, Maluma and J Balvin have been doing their part to change that. In fact, when it comes to fashion, reggaetonero J Balvin has proven he’s not afraid to break the restrictive gender norms often imposed on men — especially Latino men. The Colombian singer and rapper is always pushing the boundaries, but the truth is he’s just getting started.
If you’ve been keeping track of Balvin’s fashion evolution over the years, you’ve definitely noticed that he’s not afraid to turn heads. And although he does not consider himself one, the Colombian artist has clearly shown himself to be a style icon. He is an artist in every sense of the word. It’s a statement for him that works in his music or his chosen form. Fashion is in many ways another creative outlet for Balvin to express his emotions and what he feels at the moment.
Last year at the Met Gala. Balvin wore a custom Ralph Lauren label tailcoat tuxedo with a white bow tie and accessorized with an RL867 steel watch, antique pin, emerald links and black cane. It was a sight. But the year before that, he attended the Met Gala in a stunning Moschino design that featured flowers in lots of bright colors, a matching veil and layers of diamond necklaces. The look definitely gave off the same vibe as his “Colores” album and proved just how unpredictable Balvin’s style is.
Image Source: Getty Images/Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Image source: Getty Images / Arturo Holmes / MG21
“Some days, I wear color and some days I’m all black. And that’s how I feel,” Balvin told POPSUGAR. The sky’s the limit for Balvin when it comes to style. There’s nothing he won’t try. He rocks a bright pink faux fur coat with ease, just like he did for the cover of Flaunt magazine or the all-black dress seen in Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 show, as he plays street style. Show earlier this year. For Balvin, fashion is not limited to gender. He’s really made a point of rejecting gender stereotypes, and he’s probably making a bigger impact than he ever imagined. In a music genre historically known to be rooted in machismo, reggaeton’s form has evolved over the years. We’ve seen Bad Rabbit defy traditional gender norms in his own style and how He prefers dresses to pants. At this year’s Met Gala, the Bad Bunny appeared in a cream-colored boiler suit by Riccardo Tisci for Burberry, with his hair tied in a small bouffant with jeweled hair accessories. Other reggaetoneros have gradually embraced more gender-fluid styles. Over the past few years we’ve seen artists like Farruco and Lennox showcase polished nails and acrylic tips.
Image Source: Getty Images for Louis Vuitton/Pascal Le Segretain.
“I’m not afraid to wear anything, as long as I feel comfortable.”
“I’m not afraid to wear anything. As long as I feel comfortable,” says Balvin. “If it’s a miniskirt, I don’t care if I wear it. If I see a cool bra and I think the bra looks good on me – I’ll wear it. But it has to be right. How I feel: I don’t feel like I’m wearing a dress, I can’t feel like I’m not. I think the most important thing is to be true to yourself.” .and that’s how people start to respect you, because they start to know that you’re being real when it comes to the way you express yourself.
Artists like Balvin’s sense of self-confidence, that sense of forgiveness and self-respect make it so easy for people everywhere to be free in the clothes they choose to wear. When we look at artists throughout history who wear whatever they want to please no one—fans, critics, media, even the industry itself—there’s a pattern. When you confidently do what you want, society will eventually catch up. There’s nothing more inspiring than someone who isn’t afraid to shake things up and break old stereotypes. Even if someone doesn’t want to wear a dress or paint their nails, in a world that tries to narrow down what it means to be a man, it’s hard not to respect someone else who has the confidence to do that.
As for why it’s taken Latino men so long to break out of these machismo-driven gender roles, Balvin believes it’s because we haven’t seen enough Latino stars challenge these societal norms before. “I don’t think anyone has ever tried it before. You know sometimes people say I won’t go through that door because it might be closed. I won’t go through that door because I’m not sure, but they didn’t. Try it. So I pretended I’m going to dye my hair because I love it. I started it because I didn’t.” “If we go back, we’ve got Dennis Rodman and we’ve got Pharrell Williams. But I’m talking about the Latino market,” he said. “Throughout the story, I think it’s Juan Gabriel. [He was] Am I the only one like this and what? But these do not condemn us. I don’t consider myself an icon but the guy you see from 20 miles away – that’s J Balvin. I hadn’t seen it before in the Latin industry, so why did it seem like we didn’t have this? And that’s how I started learning about fashion and traveling the world. Going to Japan and Paris. Being in Italy. Being in New York. You know New York is my biggest inspiration. Being in Medellin because there is so much flavor there. This is how I started building my clothing line. It’s really cool because now we have a place in the fashion world. Big brands talk to us.”
And those big brands go beyond high fashion. In fact, Balvin recently partnered with Miller Lite to launch his Bodegaware clothing line, featuring varsity jackets, graphic tees, hats and accessories with bold artwork. But Balvin’s mission behind the collaboration goes beyond some cool fashion pieces. The goal is to give back. So with every line purchase, Miller Lite donates the sale to the Accion Opportunity Fund in an effort to support bodegas, corner stores and Latinx-owned businesses.
“Everything [revenue] Balvin added that proceeds from this partnership will go to the Accion Opportunity Fund. “We support all the bodegas and corner stores and Latinos as well. That’s very important because it’s how we touch lives and how we help people. That’s the most important thing about this. It’s great to work with Miller Lite. It’s great to do our job. But it’s great that we’re doing something for the community.”
Image Source: Ben Rayner for Miller Lite.
Balvin really made an effort to connect with his fans and community on a human level. Not only has he been open and honest about his mental health, he has been doing his part to normalize the conversation around mental health, especially in the Latinx community. After sharing his own journey with depression and anxiety, Balvin introduced OYE, a new bilingual mental health app that will be released in September 2022. He is also collaborating with NBC News Studios on a six-part documentary titled “Gente Sana.” ” in each episode, he sits down with a different celebrity to discuss their own mental health journeys, challenges and coping mechanisms.
Balvin wants people to know that beyond being an artist, he’s just someone who wants to make a difference in the world — even if that means encouraging others to step outside the box in small ways. “Yes, because music is the most important thing [as music artists] That’s our superpower, but with that we can touch people,” he says. “Really touch people in a way that touches other people’s lives. I want to create a legacy. Music is important, but I want to support the new generation—the new kids.”