J Balvin has made his mark on the mainstream music charts, and now the reggaeton star says he’s coming for the fashion throne too. Balvin has been announced as the face of the Guess Spring 2019 campaign, making him the first Latin man to front a campaign for the international fashion brand.
The new campaign, dubbed “Vibras,” was inspired by Balvin’s album of the same name and aims to capture the same feeling and “good vibes” of the singer’s colorful, high-spirited release. Released last May, the album spawned the hit single, “Mi Gente” (stream here), which topped the charts in more than a dozen countries and spawned a Beyoncé-led remix that peaked at Number Three on the Billboard charts. Vibras was certified 8-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America’s Latin program, and Balvin went on to be the most-nominated artist at the 2018 Latin Grammys.
For the Colombian-born Balvin, the Guess collaboration is the latest way he’s trying to share his passion for Latin music, fashion and culture with a larger audience. “As someone that was interested in fashion from a young age, I grew up with the Guess brand,” Balvin says, “and I always respected and identified with the Marciano brothers’ history of taking influence from the country and culture of their heritage, and fusing it with the spirit of the United States.”
The early stages of the partnership were formed when the singer approached Guess to co-design merch for his “Vibras” tour, which took the singer around the world through much of last summer and fall. Paul Marciano, Chief Creative Officer of GUESS?, Inc., says he had been trying to work with Balvin since a chance meeting at ComplexCon in 2017. “I was extremely impressed with his knowledge of contemporary art, fashion and culture, and we connected immediately, realizing that we share the same values and passions,” Marciano says. “I am also a huge fan of his music, particularly because reggaetón is about positive energy and messages. Through the years, Balvin has played an integral role in rapidly changing the entire landscape of pop music as a reggaetón singer and I am always inspired and energized to work with these types of creative forces.”
Balvin says he loved the designs that Guess pitched for his special merch pieces, adding that “the fan reaction went so well, that it felt natural to grow our relationship further.”
The 42-piece “GUESS Vibras” collection includes apparel and accessories for both men and women. Key pieces in the streetwear-inspired capsule include men’s T-shirts, sweats and hoodies that riff off the Vibras album artwork, along with concert-inspired tees, and a pair of kickboxing shorts (which Balvin sports in the campaign) stamped with a graphic “VIBRAS” logo. The women’s collection offers a series of oversized tanks and tees, color-blocked denim, and track pants. Both collections include swimwear, sunglasses, socks and bags, as well as a limited-edition fanny pack paired with a checkerboard guitar strap. (See the full collection here).
Guess says the pieces were inspired by Balvin’s vibrant and risk-taking personal style, which fuses his Colombian roots with hip-hop, rock and tropical influences. “Everything in this capsule is very 90s Miami-inspired, and the collection is all about ‘Vibras,'” Balvin says; “[That means] a nice energy, nice vibes; just smile and that’s what we need, all love.”
The campaign was shot in Miami by fashion photographer Tatiana Gerusova, and captures Balvin roaming the streets of Little Haiti amid its brightly-colored walls, street art, and tropical surroundings. Guess says Balvin’s “hands-on design input” (the singer personally worked with the design team in Los Angeles) helped inject the pieces with “global appeal.”
“The campaign is an expression of who J Balvin is paired with the heritage of Guess,” says Nicolai Marciano, director of brand partnerships for GUESS?, Inc. and GUESS Jeans U.S.A. “Considering J Balvin is one of the biggest artists in the world, and Guess has a huge Latin fanbase, I knew it would be a perfect partnership.”
Balvin’s ads will appear internationally in GUESS stores, on social media, and in traditional media outlets. The singer says he’s honored to have been asked to be a part of this project, and hopes seeing his face will give Latinos a greater voice not only in the music industry, but in fashion and advertising circles as well.
“I know how hard I personally worked throughout my life to develop my own brand, both with my music and my style, and now I also feel an additional honor and responsibility as the first Latino man to become the face of a Guess campaign,” he says. “Partnering with GUESS and designing my first collaboration with a global brand has been a dream, and this really is just the beginning.”
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