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BARRIO DANDY
J.C. DE LUNA

  • Barrio Dandy, J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Assorted photos of Barrio Dandy, vintage menswear stylist and showroom owner J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Barrio Dandy, vintage menswear stylist and showroom owner J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • The Barrio Dandy, vintage menswear stylist J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Vintage menswear stylist J.C. De Luna, also known as Barrio Dandy. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Images of Barrio Dandy, menswear stylist and showroom owner J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Black & white photos of Barrio Dandy, menswear stylist and showroom owner J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Photos of Barrio Dandy - J.C. De Luna & friends. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Black & white photos of Barrio Dandy, J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • The Barrio Dandy, menswear stylist and showroom owner J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Barrio Dandy, menswear stylist J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • The Barrio Dandy, vintage menswear stylist and showroom owner J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Stylish portraits of Barrio Dandy, vintage menswear stylist and showroom owner J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Portraits of Barrio Dandy, vintage menswear stylist and showroom owner J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Barrio Dandy, vintage menswear stylist J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • B&W images of Barrio Dandy - J.C. De Luna & friends. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Barrio Dandy, menswear stylist and showroom owner J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Barrio Dandy, stylist J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Portraits of Barrio Dandy, menswear stylist and showroom owner J.C. De Luna. Ponyboy magazine New York.

BARRIO DANDY

J.C. DE LUNA

John Carlos “J.C.” De Luna is a well-known figure in the East Los Angeles area, a super stylish gentleman dressed in head-to-toe vintage menswear who also goes by the name “Barrio Dandy”. By trade he is a menswear stylist who hails from the Boyle Heights area in Los Angeles, with a penchant for over-the-top zoot suits and anything pachuco related. He’s also a vintage clothing dealer with his own showroom. But it doesn’t stop there. He also founded the Barrio Boogie in 2014, the well-known street fair which takes place in the historic Plaza del Mariachi in Boyle Heights. He’s also played an integral part of the retro style of musician on-the-rise, Leon Bridges. Chatting with J.C., we became aware of “style as resistance” and the pachuco movement. We just love his fantastic style! All images courtesy of J.C. De Luna. http://barrio-dandy.tumblr.com/  https://www.instagram.com/barriodandy/?hl=en https://www.instagram.com/barriodandyvintagela/?hl=en

PONYBOY:  J.C., we first stumbled upon you while doing research for our barrio style menswear editorial for Ponyboy. Your barrio-dandy Tumblr is just filled with great images of you, as well as old photos.

J.C. DE LUNA:  Yes, indeed barrio style is vital to the larger scope of world trends and youth cultures, influencing high fashion and street fashion trends. As a stylist and artist I chose to connect to what I know best, my heritage that is rooted in the American South west, zoot suit pachuco styles of the late 1930s thru mid 1950s – with a focus on vintage Los Angeles street styles.

PONYBOY:   Let’s go back and talk about when you first started getting into style and vintage clothing.

J.C. DE LUNA:   I grew up in the projects of Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles. I was raised by my grandfather and grandmother, and all my uncles always dressed exceptionally well, even though we grew up poor working-class individuals. We always strived for excellence and part of that excellence was presentation. All the men in my family historically have presented themselves in a very unique and fashionable way, always setting trends. Even my great-grandfather and great uncle who wore the zoot suits and were pachucos always knew how important style was since the end of the Mexican revolution. They set the pace for that tradition of dressing up, of having dignity and pride in oneself through how we choose to create ourselves, and never allowing for adversity to keep us down. I knew if you dress well, you feel good. You have confidence to take on the world and manifest what ever dream we live to create!

PONYBOY:   How did living and growing up in Los Angeles affect your sense of style now? You’re really into the pachuco style. Is that your main inspiration? And please do explain pachuco to our readers who might not know what that actually is.

J.C. DE LUNA:   Los Angeles and Angelino culture is definitely a driving force in my creative vision. My family has been in Los Angeles for over 80 years now and looking back on my own history allowed me to witness other deep rooted histories like my own. In that sense it really is the “pachuco-zoot-suit-vintage-Chicano-barrio” culture. The pachuco and pachuca are the inception of an identity and a state of mind that was rebellious, strong, self-defining and filled with pride and dignity. This state of being would be the catalyst for the Chicano/Chicana identity. I go back to it because it’s the beginning of a movement of people of color fighting back systematic oppression – “Style As Resistance”. In the book American Me (1946), author Beatrice Griffith states, “the pachuco is a movement of justice for the Mexican American in many ways they hold strength in their drapes”. Nonetheless, it is great inspiration. But I am also very inspired by history, art, music and all the cultures of the world.

As for the last part, the pachuco is the manifestation of a post Mexican revolutionary young man or women within the geography of northern Mexico, mostly Chihuahua Mexico and the most southern part of Texas, El Chuco (also Known as El Paso, Texas.) These individuals were born of the inherent survival of moving within two nations, two languages and two ways of life. Torn in many ways between being Mexican and being American, they were hated and marginalized by both, thus finding solace in defining themselves as outsiders and rebels from both their Mexican heritage and the American state. They would go on to define themselves through a unique cryptic lingual, only know to them called “Calo”, which is a mix of Spanish gypsy slang and “Spanish-ized” English words, with many euphemisms and meanings. Along with language came music, the “Pachuco Boogie” was created as a unique sound infused with American jazz, boogie woogie, mambo and afro cuban sounds of the era that would create a rhythmic balance only the pachuco could love. As music always defines the aesthetics of cultures, it definitely did here. The music with its jazz roots would also inspire the jazz zoot suit style of the era, which traveled from Harlem, Chicago and Detroit, as well as down to the southwest and eventually to the west coast, influencing the pachucos. This fused the pachuco to the zoot suit, which would become America’s first original men’s suit, just as jazz was America’s defining sound.

PONYBOY:  There also seems to be a real sense of community with the Latin Los Angeles culture and vintage; wouldn’t you say?

J.C. DE LUNA:  I believe that definitely has crystalized in the last few years. Many latin Chicanos have been part of subcultures rooted in nostalgia and the past such as the demographical dominance within the American rockabilly culture. But what my work has fueled and inspired is the permission to break from the “rockabilly” subculture that is rooted in the white american south that would have not allowed for people of color to have been part of the underground rockabilly scene of the 1950s era. America was incredibly segregated due to Jim Crow laws in the south, where most rockabilly music was being recorded. So, I had a moment of clarity and said, wait Latinos/ Chicanos existed in America always, and we also have roots. I asked myself what did we listen to in the 1940s and 1950s? How did we talk? How did we dress within our communities in those tumultuous times? I asked my family. I became obsessed with recreating the latino Chicano vintage experience through cultivating our historical music and style, thus creating a new movement where latinos were proud to be latinos and wear vintage by honoring their own American experiences and style. This gave way to the “Barrio Boogie” and many other boogie events I curated, thus unifying and creating a tighter sense of community rooted in style as a form of resistance.

PONYBOY:  You are primarily a menswear stylist?

J.C. DE LUNA:   Yes, styling and wardrobe design is a definitive part of my resume. I am a trained artist and photographer as well, as I deal in men’s vintage clothing and have a showroom in L.A. I do many things as a means to create and have sustainability. I am teacher.  I am a barrio fashion historian. I do creative consulting, art curation and historical menswear preservation.

PONYBOY:   Tell us about your showroom.

J.C. DE LUNA:   I have a uniquely curated vintage menswear showroom in Los Angeles, just minutes from the DTLA Arts District, where I house over 1,000 mens vintage pieces from the 1920s through the mid 1980s.

PONYBOY:   We see on your Tumblr that you have a long standing professional relationship with musician Leon Bridges. Tell us about that collaboration/friendship.

J.C. DE LUNA:   Yes, Leon Bridges and myself have been working together for about two and a half years. I met Leon right before he got signed to Columbia Records. Leon is one of the most humble and talented individuals that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. We were a perfect match to work with together, as we both had very unique and collective visions of how we wanted to create a mutual aesthetic. It would be powerful, connecting his own history, as well as use style as a form of resistance – creating an aesthetic that was deep rooted in nostalgia around American rhythm & blues music and rock ‘n’ roll. Leon definitely embodies these deep histories that define what American music is today. I believe that the aesthetic and style has definitely offered him much success, as he conjures up something unique in our own psyche that sees the beauty and power of our histories in America, especially during the Civil Rights Movement of the late fifties and sixties. He definitely captures that moment through the style we built together.

PONYBOY:   How did the Barrio Boogie street fair in Los Angeles come about?

J.C. DE LUNA:   The Barrio Boogie was a vision I had as an artist, where I wanted to create a piece of art in a sense that was multi-dimensional, and it would undeniably engage its audience and create memories that empower people. My vision was to create an event that would allow for all people of color, especially those in my own community that are Chicano and Latino, to dress up and define their own style, while at the same time looking in the mirror and feeling good about themselves. It’s a reason for people to get dressed up, especially in a way that pays tribute and homage to our grandfathers and grandmothers. We are creating our own heritage in reflection to the past history of our own ancestors, which is very powerful. The event started with about 500 people; the second event grew up to about 1,500, while the third drew about 3,000. By the time the 4th event came about, there were close to 10,000 people that came from all over the Southwest and Northern California, even as far as Texas. Latinos, Chicanos and many others came to partake in this moment in time that celebrated those roots as Mexican Americans and Latin Americans, with the music, style and attitude that has made us who we are today.

PONYBOY:   Do you have any plans of designing menswear? Or are you doing this already?

J.C. DE LUNA:   Yes. I’m already in the works on a few projects for 2018. I am to recreate specific and unique pieces from historical Barrio Fashions such as true authentic pieces from the 1930s, 40s and 50s Zoot Suit era that were definitive to the development of Barrio Chicano Style – pieces that are made with craftsmanship that can create an aesthetic that truly honors the authenticity of that time and experience.

PONYBOY:   Tell us your thoughts on the “Chicana” spread in Vogue magazine’s 125th anniversary issue.

J.C. DE LUNA:   I believe it was an important feature and that it was about time that Vogue magazine recognized some of the street style influences that have been appropriated by high fashion in the last 40 years, particularly styles that are from the barrio and Chicanos. Vogue came to me to consult on their article and asked me to provide the context to their editorial and to make connections on the historical level. I did that, but it was only the tip of the the iceberg actually. I would have liked to see and read something that was more in-depth, delving into the history of these styles and how it all came about, creating relevance to historical street fashion and the exchanges within it, as well as barrio Chicano style.

PONYBOY:   Do you have any plans for collaborations or a retail store in the Los Angeles area?

J.C. DE LUNA:   Currently I am open and would love to collaborate with other designers, stylists, musicians, film makers and photographers. I also would love to work with and collaborate with folks in New York, as well as San Francisco and, hopefully, London and Japan. As for a retail store, that might happen in the near future, but for now, a “by appointment only” showroom works so much better for my clients and myself. I enjoy the opportunity to build real relationships with my clients, as well as the one-on-one interactions which make for a better overall experience. What I do is open up my creative fashion space to allow for my clients to experiment with vintage fashions and collaborate to create looks that are uniquely original and fitted to them.

If you all are ever in the L.A. Area dm me on instagram @BarrioDandy and make an appointment with me. Thanks again, Ponyboy Magazine! Keep on keeping it fresh!

DANIEL
LUNA

  • The handsome Daniel Luna, photographed for Ponyboy magazine NY by Alexander Thompson.
  • West Coast vintage menswear photographed on then handsome Daniel Luna by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy magazine.
  • West Coast based production designer Daniel Luna, photographed in his best 30's-40's vintage menswear by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy magazine.
  • The sharply dressed Daniel Luna from California, photographed for Ponyboy magazine by Alexander Thompson.
  • Photographs of Daniel Luna, wearing vintage menswear, photographed for Ponyboy magazine by Alexander Thompson.
  • Los Angeles production designer Daniel Luna, photographed by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy magazine.

DANIEL LUNA

WEST COAST VINTAGE STYLE

We first met Daniel Luna from his beautiful girlfriend, the very well known pin-up model Doris Mayday, whom we have featured on our site. The handsome Daniel was impeccably dressed in 1930’s-40’s vintage clothing and was quite the gentleman with his mannerisms. Daniel is a West Coast production designer and we were delighted to photograph him in some of his stylish menswear, as well as interview him about his background, style of dress and profession.

PONYBOY:  Daniel, please tell our readers about your upbringing. Where were you born and raised?

‏DANIEL LUNA:  I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. And I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley area of Southern California. I was raised in a conservative Catholic home. My family moved, but their traditions and customs were very deeply rooted in their home country and still are to this day. I feel this greatly benefited me creatively and gave me a deep understanding and appreciation for the culture I came from, as well as the one I live in today.

PONYBOY:  What was life like for you as teenager growing up in Southern California?

‏DANIEL LUNA:  My life revolved around music when I was a teenager. I was fortunate to have music programs in my school and also ended up in bands outside of school, playing the standup or electric bass. We were lucky in my area to have so much music going on at a local level. There were a couple of all age venues that were a little harder to get to, but there would always be a back yard gig that we could skate to since our parents wouldn’t drive us. It was difficult for them to comprehend why we cared so much for this music that was “yelling at us.” To them it was just a bunch of noise. But to us, like many, it was everything. And California had an endless supply.

PONYBOY:  Your manner of dress is sophisticated, like a gentleman from the 30’s-40’s. What other styles did you have growing up?

DANIEL LUNA:  I’ve been into some facet of the vintage world ever since I can remember, whether it be collecting or clothing. In high school I definitely went through my punk/rude boy phase, but even then I found myself incorporating older styles into it. My style really started to evolve into what it is today by my mid-twenties. I think that’s when you start dressing for yourself. And trends and scenes don’t hold so much weight on what influences your dress. And you go more with what you love.

PONYBOY:  Is your style of dress popular on the West Coast? We see it more heavily on the East Coast.

DANIEL LUNA:  I definitely would agree that my style reads a little more East Coast. I’ve always gravitated more towards sweaters, coats and layers. I think it derives from all the old movies I watched growing up. I haven’t seen many other people dress this way on the West Coast, but that’s probably because they’re smart and take our sunny California weather into consideration.

PONYBOY:  Where do you find your clothing? Is it mainly vintage?

DANIEL LUNA: I have a mixture of vintage, reproduction, and contemporary. It’s nice to be able to order things online or walk into a shop and pick something up in your size every once in a while. But for the most part, I still get up early and hit the flea markets, as well as frequenting vintage stores.

PONYBOY:  Are there modern designers that you favor as well?

DANIEL LUNA:  Yes, of course. Some of my favorite vintage inspired designers that I love are Nigel Cabourn and Dave Himel, who not only put out some of the most beautiful vintage inspired designs that I’ve seen, but match the quality of the originals as well. Some of my local favorites are Christophe Loiron and Nick Fouquet, whose designs I could pretty much live in.

PONYBOY:  Your profession is production design. Did you go to school for this?

DANIEL LUNA:  I went to school for interior and set design but never got a chance to finish the program.  However, I soon found myself working in the field. To be honest, I’ve never felt like I am missing out by not having a diploma for what I do. I feel I’ve gained a lot more by paying close attention to everything that inspires me, whether it be nature, architecture, a film, or even a well structured piece of clothing.

PONYBOY:  Tell us about your design company? Do you mainly do work for television, movies or print?

DANIEL LUNA:  I mainly do production design work for fashion photography and film, although I’m always looking for that project that will take me out of my comfort zone. I’ve been lucky to be able to work on the type of shoots that attracted me to this career from the start, that being very avant-garde, high fashion imagery. That’s what I’ve been enamored with since I was a kid, before I was even aware of what it was and why I liked it. I’ve been blessed to be able to work closely with my best friend, photographer Gizelle Hernandez. We’ve been talking about this stuff since we were fifteen year old kids. And now we are actually able to collaborate on shoots. Every time we do, the outcome turns out to be beyond anything we had imagined. It’s quite unreal. And realizing how rare it is to be able to connect with someone creatively on this level makes me very excited for our upcoming projects.

PONYBOY:  Your girlfriend is Doris Mayday, the famous pin-up model. What’s daily life like with the fabulous Miss Mayday?

DANIEL LUNA:  How long do you have? Ha! That should be an interview all it’s own. Honestly, it’s a riot. Sometimes I look around and think, where are the cameras? I feel like I’m on a sitcom. That girl makes me laugh, smile and love harder than I ever have before. Needless to say, I’m never bored. She’s my own little piece of heaven on earth.

PONYBOY:  And what plans do you have in the future, for your company, as well as with Doris?

DANIEL LUNA:  Other than continuing to improve my craft and work as much as possible, I try not to put too much weight on plans. Anyone in a creative field can tell you that one phone call can throw your plans out the window and force one to have a whole new course of action. All we can do is prepare for anything and plan for the best. As far as Doris, well folks are just going to have to stick around and find out!