Willy Chavarria is having a great year. The Chicano designer received the menswear designer of the year award on Monday at the CFDA Fashion Awards, which was presented to him by J Balvin and Greg Lauren at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. This past weekend in the Dominican Republic, Chavarria took the designer of the year award at the inaugural Latin American Fashion Awards. In a moment of serendipity, J Balvin received the Latin American style icon award that same evening, wearing none other than Willy Chavarria.
“It feels like I’m having my moment,” Chavarria says ahead of the awards at The Standard High Line hotel. “To be recognized by my peers really means something; to win something like this is the biggest affirmation of my work.”
But this is only one of Chavarria’s moments, at least according to the Puerto Rican artist Rauw Alejandro, who, alongside Dominican rapper Tokischa, joined Chavarria at the awards. “You can have more than a moment, you have a peak now, but you will have many more,” says Rauw, who is enjoying a peak himself. He just wrapped a tour for his latest album, and yesterday he dropped a video for one of his latest songs, “Diluvio.” In the video, he is wearing a pair of trousers by, you guessed it, Willy Chavarria.
But the pair share more than a synchronicity in their careers; they also happen to both share similar views on masculinity. Through Chavarria’s unabashedly romantic menswear and Rauw’s alluring public persona, the two have helped redefine what a Latino man looks like today. “He reminds me of myself when I was his age, the way he carries himself with such confidence and with a sexuality that comes naturally,” Chavarria says of Rauw. “There are a lot of people who see masculinity as toxic because there is toxic masculinity, but not all masculinity has to be, so it’s important to celebrate this new, more open, more loving kind of masculinity.”
Rauw credits this to growing up with only women in his house—his mother, grandmother, and sister. “I developed a sensitivity that I still keep while being masculine and the man of the house, but they helped me be the man that I am. I try not to play into the masculinity that can be so toxic that we also see in reggaeton culture too. I like to find a balance between the romance and the explicit stuff—there’s not just one way. The same thing applies to fashion,” the rapper explains. “I can have something like a crop top on, and I’m still me, and I’m still masculine.”
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