When the self-taught designer Victor Barragán arrived in New York City from Mexico City five years ago, he only had one friend in his new adopted home. But after a few casual introductions and chance run-ins with fellow Latinx and QTPOC creatives, the city began to feel a lot friendlier. “The main thing was that we spoke Spanish,” says Barragán of the group of friends that surround his life and inspire the CFDA-award nominated label that bears his name — a retinue that includes the singer Maluca Mala, in-house chef Charles Raben, and the brand’s Sexecutive Consultant (full job description still unknown) Xavier Blanco. “I think that’s really the glue that kept the group together.”

More than just muses, the individuals in the collective are integral to Barragán’s design process, its starting point recurrently being his Mexican heritage. “I get constant feedback from my new ideas when I share them [with the team],” says Barragán. “It’s good to get that from them, because when I’m designing by myself, there’s a lot of things to process. [In the end] they offer a different perspective.” Their unique backgrounds help spice things up, too. Take Blanco, an exotic dancer with a following on OnlyFans (a popular social media platform where he charges viewers to see his X-rated photos and videos) who is a fit model for the brand’s underwear and swimwear lines, while also serving as a consultant with first-hand knowledge of the adult entertainment industry. It’s just one example of the group’s individuals enhancing Barragán’s inclusive ethos, rooted in community and sex positivity. While single design leadership is still in fashion, for Barragán, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Victor Barragán Founder and creative director

“If I didn’t have this family, I would feel really lonely in New York, because I don’t have family by blood here.”

Ashley Evans Assistant stylist

“Barragán to me is Paulina Rubio’s ‘Sexi Dance’ on repeat with Las Chicas V.I.P. visuals in the background.”

Tess Herbert Stylist

“Barragán to me is a representation of who Victor is and all the weird, high and low brow aspects of US and Mexican culture that he is interested in. I love how Victor’s first love is architecture, which can be seen throughout the designs of the clothes.”

Fiffany Luu Model

“When I wear Barragán, it makes me feel like I’m waiting for my lover.”

Maluca Musician

“With what's happening right now in the United States, I always say it's imperative — a 911 emergency — that we stick together and continue to put in, not only energy, but money into one another. That's how we keep this community sustainable.”

Elvin Tavarez In-house Photographer/DJ

“I grew up in Queens in East Elmhurst and I always liked it because it’s so multi-culti. You can find Mexicans, Dominicans, Colombians, Tibetans, everything. So I like that this crew is very mixed. It's a melting pot.”

Charles Raben In-house Chef

“If Victor was a type of food, he would be a tres leches cake because he is so friggin’ sweet.”

Xavier Blanco Sexecutive Consultant

“My favorite piece [of the brand] is a T-shirt with a print that says ‘Money Makes Me Cum.՚”

Image on Highsnobiety
Highsnobiety / Alessandro Simonetti

Josefina Muñoz Design and Production

“Working with Victor has been like high school, when you first tried weed and it all seemed possible and there were no wrong things to do.”

Marcelo Gutierrez Makeup Artist

“Wearing Barragán makes me feel like I’m making a political statement. It makes me feel sexy.”

Jacky Tang CEO

“I think there's a real essence of sex positivity behind the brand, kind of like a new form of sexual liberation.”

Alexis De La Rosa Model

“At my first fitting for a show, I felt as if I had just walked into my grandmother's apartment with all of my extended relatives there. I got a hug and a kiss in the same way that my tios and tias would.”

Tony Voong Food Consultant

“Barragán is like a tequila spicy mango cake. Tequila for the fact that it’s always a party and a celebration. Spicy mango for Mexico, and because we’re fruity. Cake because you can also eat it with your hands and it’s easy to share.”

Ruben Gutierrez Set Designer

“I met Victor through a mutual friend three days after he moved here. We instantly connected because we had similar interests and similar backgrounds.”

Christian Lopez Producer

“It feels politically motivated, especially during this time when people from mine or Victor's background are called rapists. There's a need to push back and create safe spaces for us and a need for that culture to come together so everybody can partake in that.”

Annika Dalland Model

“These clothes are different. They have a splash of color and they kind of question what's wearable and what's chic and what looks good.”

This story appears in the new issue of HIGHStyle, a Magazine by Highsnobiety. Click the link below to order a copy.

  • WordsRobert Cordero
  • PhotographyAlessandro Simonetti
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