Manchado Would Like to Challenge Machismo

Manchado Would Like to Challenge Machismo

By Andrew NguyenDec 21, 2023

In Colombia and Latin America, wearing soccer jerseys are part of the identity of Latin culture. More specifically, it’s also a marker of machismo. So what is a Colombian person like Manchado supposed to do when he never felt like he fit that traditional mold? The answer is putting cunty anime girls on jerseys to subvert masculinity.

When Manchado first posted photos on Instagram, his DMs blew up, and every subsequent drop almost immediately sold out as people responded positively to the repurposed colorful soccer jerseys emblazoned with cute and cunty anime characters. Eventually, that grew into splicing jerseys together to make dresses. But it’s also more than just aesthetics. For Manchado, they represent large parts of Colombian culture. “To be able to take something that is so normal for Colombians like a soccer jersey, or an anime girl because there’s a big Otaku culture here, and reach the “first world” is really important,” he tells PAPER.

Through a mutual friend, Colombian photographer and DJ Julian Camilo was booked to DJ one of Manchado’s pop ups. After he saw the clothes in person for the first time, he knew he had to shoot them among the chaos of Myrtle-Broadway in Brooklyn to echo the similar energy in Bogotá. “I was trying to think of how we could channel the chaos of Colombia but in New York,” Camilo says. “My first thought was that we have to shoot on Myrtle Broadway.”

“We just literally pulled up to Myrtle Broadway, covering her at a bus stop while she changed, walking around where the Popeyes is,” Camilo recalls. “We saw all the delivery guys under the bridge and their bikes, and we asked them if we could shoot with them. Everybody was offering to have her sit on their bike, and she was just having a good time and feeling the fantasy. And then we had another shot inside a taco truck. After we were done, they were all asking for a picture with her.”

Given the intention behind the clothing, Manchado thinks it’s ironic how straight men have reacted to the whole thing since they were created without the male gaze in mind. Similarly, Camilo remembers wearing one of the jerseys to a Ryan Castro concert and having countless straight guys coming up to him trying to strike a conversation about the sport. “There are so many things that are monopolized by men,” Manchado says. “Like wearing soccer jerseys are reserved by that demographic, but by giving it this twist, you can sort of partake in this cultural phenomenon without the trauma associated with it because of cis, straight male culture.”

Taking something as ubiquitous as a soccer jersey, which saw an uptick in trendiness within the last year, is also a symbol of Colombian ingenuity for Manchado. “Not just queer people, but Colombian people, are very resourceful because so much of the infrastructure doesn't work. I've seen the most interesting work being made here even though there's not as much access to things. It challenges me to be creative. There's more soul. There's more passion.”

Camilo adds: “People in Colombia are so creative. They do everything: DJ, video, web design, like literally everything. They can literally do it all.”

While Manchado’s designs have queerness embedded in their DNA, “It’s about challenging the male gaze, if anything, and symbols of masculinity. Machismo and hyper masculinity are things that affect everybody, even straight men. They have to perform this idea of what being a man is.” But hopefully, with each jersey, outdated binary ways of living and thinking are chipped away, and everyone can just be themselves.

Photography and creative direction: Julian Camilo
Styling and co-creative direction: Manchado
Hair: Athena Alexander
Makeup: Paris L’Hommie
Model: Tianna Rodriguez