Whether he’s playing Rainbow Grylls or wearing a white suit with a bleeding heart, J Balvin is defined by his clothes.
“Comfortable but elegant” is how the Colombian reggaeton star describes his personal style. “My identity is what defines me and my style,” he told USA TODAY in an interview in Spanish. “It’s all in your attitude” and how you carry yourself.
Balvin has teamed up with Miller Lite for a clothing line inspired by the movement and culture of bodega (or corner stores), now available online.
Growing up in Medellin, Colombia, the “In da Ghetto” singer frequented bodegas as a child and has fond memories. “Bodegas were my favorite places,” he says. “(My friends and I) would sit outside and eat salchichón con limon (a Colombian sausage dish). mine place.”
Balvin remembers people watching and daydreaming outside a local bodega. “A lot of my dreams came out of there,” he added.
The streetwear collection, dubbed BodegaWear, is Balvin’s latest fashion collaboration with the flagship brand. He is currently working on his second sneaker release with Jordan Brand and has two speculative collaborations under his belt. In the year In 2018, he made his debut as a fashion designer for clothing brand Gef France. “Of course,” Balvin wants to work on his own clothing line at some point, “but we have to do it the right way.”
The line includes a white and navy blue varsity jacket, a gray hoodie, slides, socks and a bucket hat, all pieces featuring Balvin’s signature colors.
Balvin’s Colombian roots also play a big part in the outfit.
Colombia, he said, is a country “full of color and good vibes” and an expression of identity. “Dressing style and how you dress is a way of expressing your feelings without saying anything.”
What doesn’t play into the evolutionary paradigm is paternity.
The singer is adamant that even a baby at home will not change. Balvin welcomed his first child, Rio, with partner Argentine model and actress Valentina Ferrer in June 2021. “I’m going to stick with it[because]I love fashion and I’m not going to be boring like that,” Balvin said.
Profits from fashion partnerships go back to “our people,” he says. All proceeds from BodegaWear will be donated to the Action Opportunity Fund, a small business funding system that promotes racial, gender and economic justice.
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Balvin was set to kick off his North American Jose tour in April, but it was postponed due to production issues related to Covid. Still, this summer he took to the stage at music festivals in Ibiza and the Netherlands.
When it comes to the spotlight, Balvin wants to show off and make a difference, “but without being destructive or simply seeking attention. It’s not about me.”
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But he has come under fire several times in the past year. In December, he received an award for Best Afro-Latino Artist from the African Entertainment Awards USA, although he is not of Afro-Latino descent, and in October he released a controversial and later deleted music video for his song “Pera”. ” where it was criticized for its racist and misogynistic portrayal of black women.
“I am not who I am. I always express tolerance, love and inclusiveness,” Balvin said in his apology.
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To the Afro-Latino and Black communities and other fans who have been hurt by past actions, the singer now says, “What we have to do is find ways to raise our consciousness and realize when we’ve made a mistake.”
Ultimately, Balvin says, “it starts with yourself.”
“You can’t change people. We want to change ourselves. We are the ones who can make a difference.”
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