Image Source: Getty Images for Louis Vuitton/Pascal Le Segretain
Before gender fluid fashion became more socially acceptable in the United States, celebrities such as David Bowie, Dennis Rodman, Prince, and Billy Porter confidently and unapologetically sported androgynous styles. But outside of Juan Gabriel, we haven’t really had a Latino icon that has normalized it in our community. But artists like Bad Bunny, Maluma and J Balvin are really doing their part to change that. In fact, when it comes to fashion, reggaetonero J Balvin has proven that he’s not afraid to break the gender-restrictive norms that are often placed on men — especially Latino men. The Colombian singer and rapper is always pushing boundaries, but the truth is he’s just getting started.
If you’ve been taking note of Balvin’s fashion evolution over the years, you’ve certainly noticed that he’s not afraid to turn heads. And while she doesn’t consider herself one, the Colombian artist has clearly proven herself to be a style icon. He is an artist in every sense of the word. It’s about expression for her, whether she’s doing it through her music or the look she chooses. Fashion is another creative outlet for Balvin’s various ways to express his mood and what he’s feeling at the moment.
At last year’s 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, onyx stud cufflinks and a black cane. It was a look. But the year before that, she attended the Met Gala in a stunning Moschino design accessorized with a wide array of brightly colored flowers, a matching face cover and layers of diamond necklaces. The look definitely gave off a similar vibe to his album “Colors” and proved just how unpredictable Balvin’s style really is.
Photo credit: Getty Images/Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Photo credit: Getty Images/Arturo Holmes/MG21
“Some days, I’ll wear color and some days I’ll be all black. And that’s how I feel,” Ballvin tells PopSugar. When it comes to style, the sky is the limit for Balvin. There is nothing he won’t try. As she dresses in street style, she’ll just as easily wear a bright pink faux fur coat as she did on the cover of Flaunt magazine or the all-black puffer skirt she was seen on at Louis Vuitton Fall 2022. show earlier this year. For Balvin, fashion is not so much limited to gender. She’s really made a point to reject gender stereotypes in her style, and it’s probably having a bigger impact than she ever imagined. In a music genre historically known as a staple of machismo, the look of reggaeton has really evolved over the years. We’ve seen Bad Bunny defy traditional gender norms through his style and even revealed how Prefer skirts to pants. At this year’s Met Gala, Bad Bunny appeared in a cream-colored boiler suit by Riccardo Tisci for Burberry and styled her hair in a mini bouffant with bejeweled hair accessories. Other reggaetoneros are also slowly adopting a more gender-fluid style. In the past few years we’ve seen artists like Faruco and Lennox show off 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 in it.”
“I’m not afraid to wear anything. As long as I feel comfortable in it,” Ballvin says. “If it’s a mini skirt, I don’t care if I’m going to 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 authentic to how I feel. . I can’t feel that I’m in the dress. I can’t feel that I’m not me. I think the most important thing is that you have to be true to yourself. And that’s how people start to respect you because they start to know that you are. You are real when you express yourself.”
It’s that confidence, that unapologetic attitude, and that self-respect that artists like Balvin have that makes it easier for people everywhere to be free in what they want to wear. When we look at artists who historically wore what they wanted and didn’t dress to please anyone—fans, critics, media, or even their industries—there’s a pattern. When they confidently do what they want, society finally catches up. There is nothing more inspiring than someone who is not afraid to shake things up and break old ways of thinking. Even if a man isn’t interested in wearing skirts or painting their nails, it’s hard not to respect a man who is confident enough to do so in a world that tries to narrow down what it really means to be a man.
As for why it’s taken so long for Latino men to break out of these machismo-driven gender roles, Balvin believes it’s because we haven’t seen enough Latino stars challenge these social norms before. “I think nobody’s tried that before. You know sometimes people say I’m not going to go through that door because it might be closed. I’m not going to go through that door because I’m not sure but they didn’t even try. So, It’s better to regret, what if? I think I’m going to dye my hair because I like this color. And I’m not saying I started it. Because if we go back we’ve got Dennis Rodman and we’ve got Pharrell Williams of course. But I’m talking about the Latino market,” he says. “I think throughout history it was Juan Gabriel. [He was] I was the only one who was like this? But we didn’t have those icons. I don’t consider myself an icon but the person you see from 20 miles away — that’s J Balvin. I’ve never seen this before in Latin art, so I thought why don’t we have it? And that’s how I started learning about fashion and traveling around the world. Going to Japan and going to Paris. stay in italy stay in new york You know New York is my biggest inspiration. Stay in Medellin because there is so much flavor. That’s how I started dressing. It’s really nice because now we have a place in the fashion world. Big brands speak to us.”
And those big brands go beyond high fashion. In fact, Balvin recently partnered with Miller Lite to launch his Bodegawear clothing line, which includes everything from varsity jackets, graphic tees, hoodies and accessories with vibrant artwork. But Balvin’s mission behind the collab goes beyond a few cool fashion pieces. Returning his purpose. So with every purchase of the line, Miller Lite will donate its sales proceeds to the Action Opportunity Fund, in an effort to support bodegas, corner stores and Latinx-owned businesses.
“All [revenue] Proceeds from this collab go to the Accion Opportunity Fund, Balvin added. “We’re going to support all the bodegas and corner stores and Latinos as well. It’s really important because of how we touch lives and how we help people. That’s the most important thing about this. We’re working with Miller Lite. It’s great. It’s great that we’re doing our Working. But it’s great that we’re doing something for the community.”
Photo credit: Ben Renner for Miller Lite
Balvin has really made an effort to connect with his fans and his community on a human level. Not only has she been open and vulnerable about her mental health but she’s also doing her part to normalize the conversation around mental health, especially within the Latinx community. After years of sharing her own journey with anxiety and depression, Balvin launched OYE, a new bilingual mental health app, set to be released in September 2022. He is also collaborating with NBC News Studios on a six-part docuseries titled “Gente Sana.” ,” where he will sit down with a different celebrity in each episode to discuss their own mental health journeys, challenges and coping mechanisms.
Beyond his artistry, Balvin wants people to know that he’s just a guy who wants to make a difference in this world — even if that means empowering others to step outside the box in small ways. “Yes, because music is the most important thing [as music artists] It’s our superpower but we can touch people through it,” he says. Really touch people in a way that will touch their lives. I want to create a legacy. Music is the most important but I want to support the new generation – the new kids.”