Here’s why Mexican designer Victor Barragán’s show on American culture is always on our minds

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Fashion designer Victor Barragán is known for being controversial and unapologetic with his shows. But her parade for her Spring Season 2023 collection at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) takes his critical view of American culture to a new level.

As “fashion month” draws to a close, let’s re-examine the sparkle and shock of Barragán’s most cutting-edge show.

The show, titled Después del caos viene la luz, Where After chaos comes light In English, was a deliberate rebuke to a conversation Barragán says he’s had enough of hearing: diversity. The fashion designer intentionally chose white and white models to mark his position on the conversation. Yet it’s not what you think. For Barragán, the parade was an opportunity to show people what American culture is like for Mexican Americans coming to the United States.

Holding up a mirror image of American culture to outsiders, Barragán sent models down the runway wearing shirts that read “METH” and “CANCEL TWICE.” Others wore exaggerated prosthetic lips, Karen wigs and reimagined American logos as belt buckles calling out the absurdity of American fashion and culture.

“I didn’t know what American culture was, I thought it was from Mexico, it was all combined,” Barragán explained to Interview. “I mean, I knew it was coming from the outside but I didn’t feel the separation until I figured out how it all worked. What I like to do is weave people into the context of the brand so that it has meaning for them, both for someone from Mexico and someone from outside. Thus, the symbols take on different meanings for each person in the world.

by Barragan After chaos comes light is the perfect example of the seamless integration of fashion into art and culture. The use of duct tape tops, the Mountain Dew logo reimagined to say “White Tears,” and the unapologetic use of camo are visceral and enticing yet hard to watch and uncomfortable to contend with.

The unconventional materials and looks used to create the show make it a masterful representation of American culture often overlooked in this country by some. Yet starkly obvious to those on the other side of white American culture.


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