Barragán: Baptizer, Excommunicator
When Mexico City native Barragán founded his eponymous line—formerly titled YtinifninfinitY, which he changed for the obvious reason that it was too hard to spell—people were excited precisely because it wasn’t too serious. Or like, serious at all, which is a compliment.
“I always play with pop culture a lot,” said Barragán. “I grew up with it, and in Mexico we consume American culture a lot. All the time.” There’s since been a bigger focus on more complicated garments, but the label’s first big hit was a t-shirt featuring Leonardo DiCaprio crying tears made out of MS-DOS folders. Similarly hilarious shirt designs followed: there’s the Scream/Marilyn Manson t-shirt, the Cruel Intentions makeout t-shirt, the NSYNC meets Master of Puppets t-shirt. He’s a pop culture genius.
Both Barragán’s designs and the content of his work and personal Instagram accounts are known for being pop culture heavy, full of screenshots from ANTM and Sex and the City and porn. There are also a lot of references to dogs and tattoos—he has two that read “baptizer” and “excommunicator.” “I'm really bad with tattoos,” said the designer. “I always cry.”
Barragán is great at pointing out fucked up elements from less-analyzed moments in cultural history, and always in a way that makes you really laugh—consider the t-shirt from his Spring/Summer 2017 show, on which the instantly recognizable Friends logo is reworked to say “LESBIAN” in homage to Carol Willick-Bunch. He thought of it during a Friends rewatch, where he noticed that the characters were constantly saying the word “lesbian” as a punch line.
“I watch Will and Grace, '90s sitcoms, and you can feel that diversity was not there,” he said. “I think it's really important to figure out why we didn't think about this before. We were like, just watching TV. We didn't really think outside the box.”
But Barragán, the line, isn’t only about tv. The same show where the designer debuted the lesbian Friends t-shirt was themed around the myth of Sisyphus, with models pushing a boulder up a ramp. His ready-to-wear garments are truly unique, with a disjointed vibe. So many labels traffic in dystopia, and Barragán’s work makes me think of the word, but in a happier context—like clothes for a world where all the boring people get raptured and the rest of us get to hang out and explore various fetishes. It is also worth noting that the velvet top feels very, very soft.
The clothes can be girly, and Barragán said that the season before last he started playing with “female silhouettes.” But he “isn’t trying to channel a specific gender,” which is pretty clear from his casting and shoots. Barragán really is for everybody. Especially if you’re a fan of leather, shoulder cut-outs, lovely sculptures made out of fruit, and the little-discussed gender fluidity of Korn. Amazing.