BRONX, N.Y.- El Valle restaurant contained the aroma of rice, beans, and plantains as Amaurys Grullon took a seat at one of the tables. Grullon is one of the founders of his clothing line Bronx Native. A big smile, cool shades, a red hat, and a black sweatshirt representing his brand, Grullon expresses with pride, his love for the Bronx, and the impact he has made for his community collaborating with street artists.
The Bronx Native came to life through Amaurys and Rose Grullon, two siblings who wanted to beat the stigmas of how the Bronx is perceived. “The Bronx is beautiful, alright,” Grullon says. “Our people are ambitious, they are hard working people. We have a rich culture, rich history, and we need the intent to expose that.” “The entire culture of street art inspires me; fashion, visual arts, comics, painting…”
Amaurys realized that Brooklyn had their own clothing line to represent the borough, and so did Manhattan. After discussing the idea with Rose, the two brainstormed the clothing line. Amaurys experience with digital design and filmmaking helped catapult the marketing that went into the project. Rose came up with the brand name Bronx Native, and it stuck. Amaurys knew the Bronx Native would impact his community, “I want to do something about the Bronx, and for the Bronx.”
Street art is a big influence for the Bronx Native. On the corner of Simpson Street and Westchester Avenue, the “I Love The Bronx” mural captured his attention. “This was created by Tats Cru.” he said. “It combines all the elements of the Bronx culture; hip- hop, DJing, Yankee Stadium, Puerto Rican congas, dominoes, and the history of the borough.”
The area around the mural is full of other street art from Tats Cru. A mural representing music and dancing with colorful silhouettes across the street from the “I Love The Bronx” mural. Adjacent to it, Romeo Santos would be proud of a promotional piece done for his new single Heroe Favorito. Tats Cru lets the neighborhood know the art is their territory with a smaller art piece of a black and white character next to the artist’s logo.
Grullon gave a detailed plan of the street artists he will be collaborating with to enhance the Bronx Native clothing line. Growing up in the birthplace of hip-hop and street culture motivates Amaurys to reach out to the people in his community for assistance. “The entire culture of street art inspires me; fashion, visual arts, comics, painting. I am blending the old school with the new at Bronx Native.”
“A person from the Bronx is someone who can make it happen no matter what. They thrive and strive from the hip hop culture. They are ambitious and strong.” Grullon makes a valid point. Even with the unfortunate gentrification happening within the borough, the people of The Bronx stay strong, fighting for their communities. The city officials remove street art, just for another crew to use that wall as a canvas again. Even Banksy created a piece in The Bronx at one point.
With The Bronx Native, Amaurys and Rose Grullon are making a positive impact on their community. They discovered a problem and found a creative solution using clothing as their canvas. This can hopefully inspire others to make a difference in their neighborhoods through creativity and ambition. As the architect, Daniel Libeskind once said: “when you’re a kid with artistic yearnings brought up in the Bronx, you don’t get fed up too easily.”
The “I Love The Bronx Mural” is located at:
1024 Westchester Ave