‘Style is Resistance’ During LA Retro Festival at MOLAA

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John Carlos De Luna stands with men and women modeling vintage Mexican American fashion. Photos by Serena Au.

Retro Mexican American fashion dominated Sunday’s L.A. Retro Festival at the Museum of Latin American Art, which highlighted the museum’s first solo exhibition featuring a Chicano artist.


Many attendees donned outfits reminiscent of the Zoot Suit and hippie eras as they meandered the museum’s grounds, stopping every so often to inspect the variety of custom classic cars, treat themselves to tacos, churros or pan dulce and enjoy retro music.

However, it was the event’s fashion show that brought people en masse to the museum’s Robert Gumbiner Sculpture Garden & Balboa Events Center.

Organized by John Carlos De Luna of Barrio Dandy Vintage, over a dozen men and women modeled vintage clothing dating back as early as the 40s to as late as the 80s, and in a way, showcasing the pride felt among a historically marginalized people.

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“Style is resistance,” De Luna said of the outfits tied to the Mexican American culture. “It’s people of color being extraordinary, always showing up and doing their best, showing their style of who they are and representing who they are because in someway their existence is resistance.”

De Luna added that now especially, in the current social climate involving people of color, is the perfect time for minorities to express and embrace who they want to be.

“It’s important to feel beautiful about who we are as individuals,” De Luna said. “That can shift all different paradigms around how we see ourselves and the way we want the world to see us.”


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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.