Capital Tees

By: Joel Marino

When it comes to insults, we think taking the high road is often best: keep calm and carry on, pretty much.

But there’s an LA-based Peruvian designer who thinks the best way to destroy an insult is to own it.

That’s what Carlos M. Mansilla did with “sudaca,” the slur used to denigrate South Americans and Latinos in general—a bit in the vein of what Los Prisioneros did a few decades ago with one of their most infamous songs.

But Mansilla’s idea was subtler. His aim was to reclaim the word via an ongoing collection of stylish T-shirts that celebrate Latino culture. And so, in the fall of 2012, Sudaca was born.

Browsing Sudaca’s collection or Instagram feed is like taking a stroll through a well-curated gallery of complete awesomeness. There it is, a slur turned into something stylish and beautiful, along with tees playfully mocking Latino stereotypes (like the mustachioed Latin Lover one) and twists on icons like Che Guevara or the beautiful 1968 Uruguay World Bicycle Championship logo.

In its two years of existence, Sudaca’s designs have been sported by some of Latin America’s musical icons, from Chilean rapper Anita Tijoux to Los Fabulosos Cadillacs’ Flavio and ChocQuibTown’s Tostao.

So the question is: which one will you wear, sudaca?

Joel Marino is a NYC-based freelance writer and editor who enjoys traveling and saying “I told you so” as much as possible. When not writing, he spends his time on a never-ending quest to find the perfect empanada.