Guatemalan designer Guillermo Andrade comes from humble roots. He barely spoke English when he immigrated to the United States at 12 years old. Even with several odds against him, he managed to find success in the retail space, eventually co-founding FourTwoFour On Fairfax, a popular L.A. streetwear brand.
Now he's collaborating with Footaction for a limited edition t-shirt collection in honor of this year's 20th annual Latin Grammys. "We don't all come here to take people's jobs or become the monstrous identity that has been given to us," Andrade said, referencing the xenophobic attacks lodged from The White House and beyond. . "Yes, I came here under circumstances that were out of my control. My parents risked everything for a better life and I share that in common with many people in this country."
Andrade hopes his story and designs can shine a positive light on the Latinx community. "I found myself ironically patriotic because I have to own my identity here at home in America and not let the hate win," he shared. "Instead of rewarding it with more pushback and more hate, I want to overcome issues with my actions and contributions."
Moreover, Andrade aligns himself with those shaping Latinx culture. With this line specifically, he was inspired by Puerto Rican rapper Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio (A.K.A. Bad Bunny) along with Colombian music sensations Sebastián Yatra and Greeicy, all of whom were nominated for a Latin Grammy. "I think there are few moments in an artist's career when they make a bold statement," the style star said. "In a lot of cases, it isn't really what someone says. It's what they do, you know?"
To pay homage to Bad Bunny, Andrade created a black t-shirt featuring the rapper showing off his bold neon green nails. "He's been doing it for quite some time, it's not like this is his first time painting his nails, but every time he completely owned it," Andrade pointed out. "I saw the reactions from outside across a lot of different cultures, not just the Hispanic community. This moment is iconic in that way. There's a tough dude getting everyone's attention with green nails — it's sick."
He hopes to inspire others to create art and break barriers for the Latinx community, just like he did. "That's for sure the main incentive to do stuff like this," he explained. "Hopefully, I empower other people, especially the younger me or maybe even an older version. When I was starting out, there was no one I could look to. It was just a bunch of noise with nothing that related to me."
And it’s not just lip service. For each t-shirt sold, $5 will be donated to the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation, an organization that aims to foster the next generation of artists through scholarships, education programs and more. The collection launched Monday, November 11 and will be available online at Footaction and the Frenzy App starting at $49.50 — including shipping costs — for a limited time.