LA fashion designer turns clothes into art at the Getty Center – Los Angeles Times | Candle Made Easy

Bryan Escareño doesn’t like being constricted. Since its inception, its brand Amor Prohibido has been a vehicle to challenge notions of what should be, both in his own life and in the culture. “People expect the cholo aesthetic,” says Escareño. “‘Oh he’s a Latino designer, he’ll give us flannel shirts and graphic tees. We will expect that from him.’ You wanna put me in that box? Well, here it is.”

The latest iteration of “this” is the new collection by Escareño, a collaboration with Echo Park concept shop and boutique Género Neutral, which was the exclusive retailer for the pieces. Dubbed ‘gender neutral’, the collection is the most obvious step Escareño has taken to broaden people’s view not only of him as a designer but also of the possibilities of fashion in 2022.

Eliseo Equihua wears the Amor Mesh turtleneck shirt and the asymmetric Love skirt from the Gender Neutral collection by Amor Prohibido, made in collaboration with Género Neutral. Photographed at the Getty Center.

(Julian Burgueño / For the Times)

The seven-part capsule collection plays with flowing forms through silhouette, fabric and styling options – and deliberately leaves open the question of who should wear the clothes and how. Consider the asymmetrical black skirt that can be adjusted in a number of ways depending on your mood. Or the turtleneck made of sheer mesh panels in a mix of soft colors that mimic the hazy rainbow of a soap bubble. The light blue wide-leg pants feel like a relic from early ’90s LA and an omen of futuristic LA. And the transparent black button-up made of a mantelé lace fabric is already the limitless basic piece of summer.

Genero Neutral x Amor Prohibido collab photographed at the Getty Center on July 11, 2022.

Natalia Lemper wears the collection’s Amor Mesh Turtleneck Shirt, Mantelé Button-Up ($275) and Wide Leg Pant ($250). Photographed at the Getty Center.

(Julian Burgueño / For the Times)

Ashley SP and Jennifer Zapata, founders and co-owners of Género Neutral – which takes its name from the way the duo presents all their clothing items side-by-side on the floor; There are no women’s or men’s clothing departments or labels in the store – let’s say this collaboration has been a long time coming. Escareño has made them stock Amor Prohibido in the store since they opened it over a year ago and customers have been asking about the brand too. When Escareño wanted to develop a new clientele, Género Neutral served as a bridge.

Genero Neutral x Amor Prohibido collab photographed at the Getty Center on July 11, 2022.

Eliseo Equihua in the Amor Mesh turtleneck shirt ($125), Mantelé button-up ($275) and wide-leg pants ($250). Photographed at the Getty Center.

(Julian Burgueño / For the Times)

“He wanted to do something that his male customers, who are his main customers, could relate to and tap into the women’s market,” says SP. “We genderless things, and he was dying to find out what that looked like, too. This is where the collaboration comes about.”

The other three pieces of the collection – two cotton cut-and-sew T-shirts and a hat – merge the universes of Amor Prohibido and Género Neutral by uniting aesthetics and logos.

Amor Prohibido’s fanbase is tougher than most, likely due to the way Escareño has used his clothing to tell stories about the LA community. “I love looking through old photos of my family having a barbecue in Venice and what my uncles wore because it inspires me,” he says. “My job as a designer is to improve it.” The brand’s trucker hat has become a cult classic – a staple at art fairs, fashion parties and Sunday’s kikis in Elysian Park.

Genero Neutral x Amor Prohibido collab photographed at the Getty Center on July 11, 2022.

Eliseo Equihua at Party People Tee ($125). Photographed at the Getty Center.

(Julian Burgueño / For the Times)

Escareño, an energetic artist who grew up around football in Venice and later Inglewood, worked in Ross’s corporate offices after college before breaking his wrist in a bicycle accident. While taking time off work to heal, he came across an old sewing machine and taught himself the craft. It was a natural step for someone so style-conscious – working strictly to buy sneakers throughout his adolescence – and he quickly realized he wanted to work in a more creative environment. He started out making clothes and became a buyer for Wasteland, where he wore his early designs to an audience of employees and customers who wanted to know what the next cool thing in fashion was.

His designs fit particularly well with the current times, says SP. She has noticed that customers, especially in LA, have taken on a more fluid mentality when it comes to clothing. Since gender neutral opened a door, “most of the people buying the skirts have been men,” SP says. In other words, clothes are clothes – and who they are for depends on who is wearing them that day.

Natalia Lemper wears the logo GN Tee ($90).  Photographed at the Getty Center.

Natalia Lemper wears the logo GN Tee ($90). Photographed at the Getty Center.

(Julian Burgueño / For the Times)

With every Amor Prohibido collection over the past five years, Escareño has pushed and tested its limits. In this collection photo essay, he collaborates with photographer Julian Burgueño to explore clothing’s ability to hold court in the castle of high art. Here Gender Neutral is shown alongside works at the Getty Center. Each shot – taken while Nate Dogg collided in the galleries – puts models Natalia Lemper and Eliseo Equihua in dialogue with the iconic pieces displayed on the wall and in the halls. As rendered by Burgueño, the clothing adds new layers to the work, like a collage. Boundaries between art and style are blurring. Gender neutrality is revealed as a force strong enough to transcend binary.

Photographed at the Getty Center with the assistance of Chris Burgueño. makeup by Jessica Monzalvo; styling by Daniel King; Videography by Elias Lopez, behind-the-scenes footage by Alejandra Rios.

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