Entertainment

‘Project Runway’ Contestant Alan Gonzalez Is A DACA Beneficiary Fighting To Be America’s Next Best Fashion Designer

Project Runway debuted it’s 18th season this past week. The fashion reality show, looked quite different this year with the departure of longtime host Heidi Klum and beloved mentor Tim Gunn. In fact, only judge Nina Garcia remained of the reality competition show’s original staples. Supermodel Karlie Kloss filled Klum’s high heels, while former “Project Runway” champion and current fashion powerhouse Christian Siriano took up Gunn’s helm as a mentor to the designers. One of the contestants is Alan Gonzalez, a Mexican-American fashion designer from Houston, Texas who is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient.

Houston might be getting another “Project Runway” winner this season.

It’s been 15 years since a Houstonian stole the spotlight at “Project Runway.” Texas-native Chloe Dao won top honors in season 2 of the fashion show, way back in 2004. Now another Houstonian is following in her footsteps. 

Alan Gonzalez is one of the 16 contestants who is hoping to take home the top designer prize. 

The 25-year-old designer got off to a rocky start as the judges dissed his work. However, he did get a lot of air time to show his ability and fast quip, and we’re ready to become his fans. 

Born in Mexico and raised in Texas, Gonzales represents so many Latinos living in the U.S.

Gonzalez was born in Mexico and immigrated to Houston from the northern city of Monterrey when he was only 3 years old. He was 15 when his father was deported, leaving his mother a single parent of two alone in Houston. In high school, he started to develop an interest in fashion, and he designed his best friend’s prom dress.

Gonzalez decided to pursue his love of fashion and make a career of it.

Gonzalez entered the fashion design program at Houston Community College in 2012 and after graduation, he launched a label called Alantude. “So much attitude, it’s Alantude,” reads his Instagram bio. His line is inspired by strong women with the most inspiration coming from his mother, the strongest woman he knows. Alantude is a mix of clean lines and pops of color, just enough to draw the right amount of attention to his customer. His ultimate goal is to become a household name and to empower women everywhere. Here’s a fun fact, his hometown has officially proclaimed Nov. 7, “Alan Gonzalez Day.”

Not only is there one, but there are two Latino designers participating in “Project Runway” this season. 

‘Celestino’ Sergio Guadarrama, a 36-year-old designer from Austin, Texas is another Texan in the running for the best fashion designer. His designs are ethereal, celestial; a place in fashion where regal grandeur intersects with modern sophistication, his very own name ‘Celestino’ fits his celestial clothes very aptly.

Sergio “CELESTINO” Guadarrama is one half of the duo behind the label. 

Celestino and Kade Johnson together, create the world of CELESTINO with precisely crafted, eco-conscious and fashion-forward women’s and men’s collections. Sergio and Kade pride themselves in using their creations to convey messages that inspire others to take a stand for social causes. They embrace the culture of the LGBTQ+ community and aspire to be positive role models within the fashion industry. They make a conscious effort as a company to be inclusive to all individuals regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, and donate time and a portion of their profits to humanitarian organizations.

Celestino Couture’s designs are so show-stopping, they’re already recognized in the couture scene. 

Just this year, Broadway star Billy Porter wore custom Celestino to the Tony Awards. The “Pose” star’s custom red velvet look, created by Celestino Couture, was described by the designer as a “gender-fluid evening suit.” It shimmered with over 30,000 Swarovski crystals. It had another layer of significance as well since it was made from a salvaged curtain backdrop from the Broadway production of “Kinky Boots,” for which Porter won the 2013 Tony for best actor in a musical.

Sergio Guadarrama and Alan Gonzalez are both gifted Mexican-American visionaries, and their stories represents many of us. 

Our cultures transcend current borders, and to see Latinos make space for themselves in an industry that lacks diversity and representation makes us beyond proud.

READ: This Latina’s Abuelita Encouraged Her to Compete on ‘Project Runway’ and She Won

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Texas High Schoolers Conducted a Mock ‘Slave Auction’ Of Black Students Over Snapchat

Things That Matter

Texas High Schoolers Conducted a Mock ‘Slave Auction’ Of Black Students Over Snapchat

Photo via Getty Images

Students at a high school in Aledo, Texas are being disciplined after the administration discovered they held a mock slave auction on Snapchat where they “traded” Black students.

Screenshots of the Snapchat group show that these unnamed students “bid” on students of color, ranging anywhere from $1 to $100.

One student in particular was priced at $1 because his hair was “bad”. The screenshot also shows that the group chat’s name changed regularly. The group’s name started as “Slave Trade” then changed to “N—-r Farm”, and finally to “N—– Auction”.

Upon learning of the mock slave auction, the Daniel Ninth Grade Campus’s principal wrote a note to parents explaining the situation. Principal Carolyn Ansley called the mock slave auction “an incident of cyberbullying and harassment” which “led to conversations about how inappropriate and hurtful language can have a profound and lasting impact” on people.

Many people felt that the school principal downplayed the gravity of the mock slave auction. Not once did she mention the word racism in the letter that she sent out to parents.

“Calling it cyberbullying rather than calling it racism… that is the piece that really gets under my skin,” said Mark Grubbs, father to three former Aledo ISD students, to NBC DFW. But Grubbs, along with many other Aledo parents and community members, say that the incident didn’t surprise them.

In fact, Grubbs said he had to take his children out of the Aledo ISD school system because of how much racist harassment his children were facing. “A lot of racism,” he said of his son’s experience at the school. “My son being called out of his name and what not and it got to the point he didn’t mind fighting and that didn’t sit right with me and my wife. My son was never a fighter.”

After the backlash to the initial statement, Superintendent Susan Bohn finally released a statement condemning the racism and “hatred” of the mock slave auction.

“There is no room for racism or hatred in the Aledo ISD, period,’ Bohn wrote. “Using inappropriate, offensive and racially charged language and conduct is completely unacceptable and is prohibited by district policy.”

The problem with “policies” like these is they fail to target the issue of racism at the root. Hate speech may be “prohibited”, but if a child is displaying racist behavior for whatever reason, the bigger problem is the way that they have been educated and indoctrinated. Slave auctions have no place in 2021.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Maluma Teams Up With Luxury Brand Balmain For This Must-Have Fashion Collection

Entertainment

Maluma Teams Up With Luxury Brand Balmain For This Must-Have Fashion Collection

It’s 2021 and we have no shortage of epic collaborations between some of the world’s biggest Latino stars and top fashion brands. Everyone from J Balvin and Bad Bunny to Cardi B and now Maluma have entered the fashion industry to sell a lifestyle. And people are buying!

Maluma and French fashion house Balmain bring us a limited-edition collaboration.

Colombian superstar Maluma has partnered with French fashion house Balmain to launch a limited edition collection that will be available from April 12 through June 1 in all Balmain stores, including brick and mortar and online.

The collection, which includes sneakers, blazers, t-shirts, pants and other ready-to-wear clothing, will also be available at Saks Fifth Avenue as of April 15.

The Balmain + Maluma line marks the first time ever the brand has designed a line with a celebrity. And it seems like the brand’s creative designer is pretty excited about the collab. Through photos on his Instagram, Olivier Rousteing referred to the reggaetón singer as his inspiration, captioned with supportive laudatory messages about merging their cultures and joint design process.

“Maluma, more than him being an incredible singer,” Rousteing notes, “[brings] a lot to the fashion community with his joy and his happiness and the fact that he’s always playing up his style from different kinds of houses from around the world, mixing different cultures as well… I think the collaboration with Maluma is obviously giving to Balmain and pushing the aesthetic more internationally.”

Maluma also seems to be pumped for the opportunity!

Although Balmain has featured other celebrities in advertising campaigns and runway shows, it has never actually enlisted a celebrity to help design a full, name-branded line.

The brand’s high profile, along with the haute-couture retail price of the collection, underscores how entrenched Maluma is now in the global fashion world and how valuable his endorsement and name is perceived by high fashion.

“It’s been one of my goals to work with a respected fashion house on a collection, but this journey was more exciting, as Olivier pushed me to design with him and sketch looks that I personally will wear off the stage and showcase high couture with a bit of Papi Juancho,” says Maluma, referencing both his album name and alter ego.

But if you want a piece of the collection be prepared to drop those coins.

Credit: Phraa / Balmain

Items in the Balmain + Maluma collection range from a black cotton T-shirt that retails for $495, to $1,500 high top sneakers to a $2,555 multi-color print bomber jacket.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com