Dylan Rosales embraces Peruvian roots with his clothing
Dylan Rosales cares deeply about Peru.
A Peruvian flag is draped on the wall of his apartment. On breaks, Rosales visits relatives in Peru.
His love for his heritage bleeds into his clothing line, Lucha Culture.
Rosales, a senior international trade major, started the Peruvian-made clothing line in 2016. Lucha Culture offers hoodies, shirts, beanies, five-panels and other pieces. The clothing is manufactured in Peru’s Trapiche district, just outside of the country’s capital of Lima.
He developed the brand in honor of his grandmother, Lucha, who wanted to see him follow in her footsteps and pursue clothing design. Rosales said after his grandmother died in 2015, he looked for a way to commemorate her.
“I told her, ‘If I ever make a clothing brand, I’ll name it after you’ because when I was a kid, she used to make my clothes and knit sweaters and jackets for me,” Rosales said. “To the public it’s a clothing brand, but to me it’s something different.”
All of Rosales’ clothing is made in Peru. He makes the designs in the United States and sends them to his manufacturer, who hand stitches them.
After waiting a few years to start a brand, Rosales said he committed to extensive research about what his brand should be. He eventually found a way to maximize his costs as a college student.
When he sold his first products, Rosales was shocked his family and friends wanted to buy more of his goods. By exporting his merchandise from Peru, Rosales minimizes his spending and the costs to make clothing. It would have been more expensive within the U.S.
Lucha Culture’s goal is not necessarily profit, Rosales said, but rather self-expression through art and design.
Rosales’ first product, his Lucha Culture beanie, only had an embroidered stitch in the front that said “Lucha.” His grandmother’s nickname isn’t the only thing his brand represents; it’s Spanish for “to fight.”
“When you think of the brand, you have to think about how it relates to you and how it relates to the public,” Rosales said.
“Everything we do in life is a fight. Whether it’s school, work, family –– it’s all a struggle. But we all do it because we love it, and every day we fight to achieve something.”
Isabel Montes, one of Rosales’ customers, said Lucha Culture is a way to spread Peruvian culture around the Buffalo area.
“Even though I'm not from Peru, as a Latina, I feel wearing a shirt, hoodie or hat with the Lucha Culture logo creates curiosity of its significance,” said Montes, a junior industrial engineering major. “Therefore, [it’s] spreading the knowledge of Peru in an area where there's hardly any knowledge of any Latin American countries.”
Apart from embroidering Lucha Culture onto pieces of clothing, Rosales said he wants to show others who he is to teach them about his upbringing.
The Inca Chakana symbol, which means “to bridge,” is used in his shirt and hoodie designs. It comes together in a symmetric way, alongside a square border encompassing the symbol. Wherever you cut it or break it into two, it comes out as equal.
A YouTuber, David So, has been a source of inspiration to Rosales. Like Rosales, much of So’s clothing designs are made as forms of self-expression.
Rosales said creating a brand and making clothes is a lifestyle worth pursuing.
“I want people to identify quality products with Lucha Culture,” Rosales said. “When people buy my stuff for the first time, it might be because it’s me and they’ll buy it for me, but later on they’ll be wanting my clothes because it’s a Lucha Culture branded shirt or hoodie.”
Giselle Santiago is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.