Meet the Chavarrias!

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Experience this story and others in the new issue of Highsnobiety Magazine, available from retailers around the world and our online store.

When you buy an item from Willy Chavarria, you may notice a small green tab stitched onto the side that reads “capitalism is heartless.” It’s been a staple of the brand’s designs since the early days and, in many ways, it speaks to the core of what makes the label so important.

Thanks to capitalism’s heartlessness, putting the words “sustainable,” “politically aware,” or “diverse” next to a fashion collection raises the suspicion of a corporate cash grab. But Willy Chavarria is the antithesis of those virtue-signaling campaigns that plague the industry. “Success to us isn’t measured in the same way [as to others] — the amount we resonate and the truths we show will forever come first,” says brand director Dustin Hellinger.

The namesake label of a queer, Mexican-American designer with working-class roots, Willy Chavarria has never been afraid to address topics such as immigration or gender inequality in its collections. And while the highly acclaimed early shows that put the designer on the map were often labeled as streetwear in the press, recent years have seen the brand explore new ground.

Still including affordable pieces such as collaborations with Pro Club and Dickies, Chavarria calculates that roughly 60 percent of each of his most luxe items from SS23 were delicately made by hand rather than a machine. This means that reasonably priced experimentations with workwear seamlessly exist in the same world as made-to-order tailoring of almost haute couture standards.

But no matter how luxurious the clothing becomes, or how much the brand grows, you can bet you’ll still find street-cast models from minority backgrounds walking them down the runway — and a similarly inclusive team running the scene behind it.

VESKA NARATAMA – Assistant Designer

“My biggest takeaway from being a part of this company has been allowing myself to embrace a sense of individuality that was personally very empowering. Throughout my time working at Willy Chavarria, I have felt the love of many different people finding a home in a project that creates a sense of community.”


“Egos fade and there is a collective focus on the vision — a chaotic calm while the team creates something bigger than any of us individually are, with everyone very much aware of this in each moment.”


“The inclusivity and family vibe is not a season-to-season gimmick. It’s in the blood of the brand.”

JESS CUEVAS – Creative Contributor

“I am most proud of the authenticity of the team. It’s very real. In a world that often feels so contrived and filtered, I am very proud of the integrity of all of us.”

NELSON VERCHER – Lead Hairstylist

“The energy when it’s all of us together is somewhat like the Factory — just a lot more shades of brown.”

KELVIN UFFRE – Brand Contributor

“I’m proud we got a shoutout on Foos Gone Wild! I don’t know, it feels like an Oscar for the streets.”

LAURA FUCHS – Photographer

“It’s not common to find this spirit of inclusivity in the fashion world. As a photographer who loves to photograph real people, it’s really special to be able to photograph so many people who have never modeled before in his spectacular garments.”

MARCO CASTRO – Beauty and Film Director

“What you see is what you get [with Willy Chavarria]. No bullshit.”

BRENT CHUA – Casting Director and Photographer

“When together, it is pure magic… Everyone is in the zone, and there is this beautiful synergy where the whole team is participating in real-time in this really important world unfolding. Willy, at the center of this all, is the driving force.”


“I joined the Willy Chavarria team on September 9, 2021, opening and walking for my first time in ‘CUT DEEP’ SS22. Never in a million years did I think I was gonna be modeling, and from there I started working more with the Willy team and joined their beautiful family.”

SOFIA GARCIA – Hairstylist

“The biggest thing I’ve learned since joining is to work hard till you manifest all your dreams. Being born in Mexico and coming to the USA at seven, I think seven-year-old me would be proud.”


“I joined the Willy team before it was Willy Chavarria and it was a brand/store called Palmer Trading Company. My friend Phil Proyce introduced me to Willy, and I immediately fell in love with the clothes and the fact that it was owned by a Mexican-American, which, at the time, was very rare to find in NYC.”


“The clothes, as amazing as they are, often feel secondary to the people and places we highlight.”

  • Photography:Ricky Alvarez
  • Production:Hillary Lui
  • Shot At:Willy Chavarria Studio
  • Lead Image:From left: Ricky Alvarez, Marcus Correa, Willy Chavarria, Jess Cuevas, Carlos Jaramillo, Ozzie Juarez.
  • hx30
  • Willy Chavarria


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