New York Fashion Week is coming in hot! On Thursday Cheetos’ held their first-ever runway show inspired by the iconic snack Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Rapper Saweetie performed on the Haus of Flamin’ Haute runway. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have become something of a cultural phenomenon after being cited as the snack food darling of the Latinx and hip hop community.
The collection incorporates the branded iconography with of-the-moment street style. The Haus of Flamin’ Haute guests sipped on Flamin’ Hot Sunrise cocktails, sushi rolls sprinkled with Cheetos, and a beauty bar with Cheeto manicures.
Consider throwing on a Cheetos T-shirt to honor your Latinx heritage. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were invented by Mexican American Richard Montañez, a former custodial worker at a Frito-Lay plant. He created the unique flavor combination decades ago, and his story will be told in the Eva Longoria directed-biopic Flamin Hot.
A song of Icy and Fire.
“Being a childhood fan of the whole brand — Flamin’ Hots, puffs, regular Cheetos, all of them — it was just super exciting to be asked to do this,” said Saweetie told the Hollywood Reporter. “Pulling up today and seeing Cheetos’ vision come to life was amazing. Also, I was looking forward to seeing the clothes and showing off my own dope look.”
Saweetie rose to fame by posting short raps on her Instagram account in 2016, where she now has 3.5 million followers. The 26-year-old’s singles “Icy Grl,” and “My Type,” have gone viral, eventually making it into Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart. She released her debut album High Maintenance in 2018.
“My first fashion week, which was not too long ago, I was sneaking into events and shows,” she said. “Now, I’m being asked to perform, which is really exciting. This is the first fashion week where I feel like I’ve finally got the hang of things and tonight is the perfect way to kick it off.”
A Flamin’ Hot evening.
Cheetos’ Haus of Flamin’ Haute wasn’t just a runway show, so much as it was an installation and celebration of the snack food. Renowned costume designer Ami Goodheart and her collaborators chose to elevate the theme. The highlights included a punchy, crimson red tulle gown by J. Bolin, an orange jumpsuit from Nava Rose, and a Goodheart-designed headpiece made of Cheetos wrappers combined with a Cheeto-lined cape.
Orange is the new black.
While the Haus of Flamin’ Haute may not be accessible to all, fans of the brand should know Cheetos and Forever 21 have recently launched a collection together. The collaboration features branded leggings, cropped tops, bodycon dresses, socks, and bicycle shorts.
A word from Chester Cheetah.
It is no surprise that the brand is strong, considering Flamin’ Hots have been referenced in hip hop culture for years now. In 2012, Y.N.RichKids, a children’s rap crew, released the viral hit “Hot Cheetos & Takis.” Last year, Cardi clowned her husband Offset on Instagram for putting Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in his turkey sandwich. Yung Miami from City Girls detailed her snacking habits to Hot New Hip Hop, which included Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, sugar straws, and gummies.
Cheetos is perfectly aware of their place in hip hop history. This winter Chester Cheetah dropped a Doritos diss track. “Next time you try to take what I got. Remember I’m flamin’ hot, and you’re flamin’ not,” Chester Cheetah raps. I didn’t know the chip game had so many beefs. I am perched for the drama!
How a Latinx saved Frito-Lay.
Mexican-American Richard Montañez began working at a Frito-Lay plant in Rancho Cucamonga. It was the late ’80s and he was making $4 an hour as a custodian. At 18 years old he was unable to read and write. Following the advice of his grandfather, Montañez took pride in his job, however, overlooked it would be, he wanted to be the best.
“Every time someone walked into a room, it would smell fresh,” he told The Hustle. “I realized there’s no such thing as ‘just a janitor’ when you believe you’re going to be the best.”
Ambitious and hardworking, Montañez made himself seen through his work. After a decade, he began shadowing superiors. While watching a salesman restock inventory, he had an epiphany: company sales were down, but there were no products made for Latinxs.
I saw our products on the shelves and they were all plain: Lay’s, Fritos, Ruffles,” he recalls. “And right next to these chips happened to be a shelf of Mexican spices… nothing spicy or hot.”
Eventually, Montañez, through a combination of naivety and fearlessness, snagged a meeting with the CEO. They were sold on his new flavor. Today he is Vice President of multicultural sales for PespiCo America (the company that owns Frito-Lay). Latinxs don’t have fairy tales, we have hard work and our wits.
It seems that spicy foods are everywhere these days. Every brand out there is releasing some version of their original product but in ‘flamin hot’ form, there’s an abundance of YouTube videos of people eating insanely spicy foods as if it were some sort of competition, restaurants have ‘eat it and it’s free’ contests for spicy options.
The world is obsessed with spicy food right now.
But let’s be real. Many Latino foods were the OG spicy. Many Latino chefs and even our tías and abuelas have been experimenting with some seriously spicy foods for many many years.
But now that it’s gone mainstream, the LA Times recently conducted a not so official study into which snacks are the spiciest and the results have proven to be pretty controversial.
One writer at the L.A. Times decided to sample every spicy branded snack and share his findings with the world.
In the article, he says that he’s sampled every spicy snack known to mankind (not exactly), except for the ones that he couldn’t find, that he deemed unworthy, or both.
He also calls out the haters who say all the Flamin’ Hot and spicy snacks taste the same, saying that’s simply not true. He notes the subtle differences based on combination of heat vs. flavor.
So what are his findings?
According to this LA Times Food writer, his favorite spicy snack is the Doritos Flamin’ Hot Nacho. They’re the perfect mix of cheesy and spicy and come packed with a pretty hefty kick of spice.
Next came the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Puffs which he says are packed with spicy flavor, sometimes almost too much so. The only con he had to say about these is about the texture – sometimes too much can build up in your back teeth leaving you feeling sick.
Coming in at third place is Pop Fuego Popcorn. He says the level of MSG is at a 12 and that the flavor sensation is something like being on a rollercoaster. Pop Fuego kernels are not particularly heat-heavy but they’re almost hyperbolically tangy and acidic.
The Top 3 options weren’t exactly controversial picks but the rest of the results seemed to be pretty polarizing on social media.
I mean who would ever put Takis Fuego and Doritos Dinamita in a tie for 5th place?!? Or Zapp’s Spicy Cajun Crawtators ahead of Doritos Tapatío? That’s just straight up madness.
And how are the OG Flamin’ Hot Cheetos not number one?
And it’s clear that the classic battle between Hot Cheetos and Takis rages on.
But like in all honesty, will it ever go away? I hope not.
But some on Twitter were totally not having any of it.
I mean ranking #12 out of 30 isn’t too bad. But apparently still wasn’t good enough for this Flamin’ Hot Cheetos con Limon super fan…
In his write up, Lucas Peterson said these would take a back seat to Takis any day.
I mean this Twitter user was so upset they’re apparently canceling their subscription to the LA Times.
Now that’s some serious feelings there.
But, to be fair, the LA Times placed Andy Capp’s Hot Fires at #27 (out of 30) and said they had an unpleasant spice mixture that tasted like powered tomato. That’s not great.
One Doritos super fan took to Twitter to notify the LA Times of a possible typo in their report.
The LA Times actually tweeted back saying: “These are pretty good and am honestly impressed how much these taste like Tapatío, they’re just not the best *spicy* snack.
Be careful, those are fighting words.
Also, just this tweet, because I’m pretty sure all of us were thinking it.