LOGAN SQUARE — Artist and designer Beto Rosales has wanted to create a clothing brand to honor Chicago’s Latino neighborhoods and pay tribute to his culture for two years. But it took finding the perfect business partner to bring his idea to life.
Rosales, 33, and his childhood friend, Osiris Robledo, 31, grew up in Logan Square and launched Herencia 312 on Aug. 28 to celebrate their Mexican culture, their home and pay tribute to neighborhoods that make up the city’s Latino communities.
The founders said the name of the company translates to “heritage” and embodies the love they have for their culture. Although 773 is the official area code of Logan Square, Rosales said they chose 312 because it’s more known to be associated with Chicago, especially in pop culture. And in Spanish, it flows off the tongue better than 773.
“For us, in Spanish, [heritage] also means ‘nuestra herencia’ — our culture is part of our heritage,” he said.
Rosales, who was born in Mexico but has lived in Logan Square for 25 years, created three T-shirt designs for Logan Square, Pilsen and Little Village, the neighborhoods that resonate most with the pair.
“What I wanted was our Latino people to have something they could connect to and be like, ‘Oh, that’s the little shop around my corner, that’s Logan Theatre, [and] La Villita obviously has the arch,’” Rosales said.
Herencia 312’s designs feature a skeleton woman in La Catrina style, a popular Mexican symbol representing death and the afterlife. She was first created by artist Jose Guadalupe Posada around 1910 and gained broader recognition when Diego Rivera immortalized her in a mural that showcased 400 years of Mexican history.
La Catrina is associated with Dia de los Muertos and Mexican pride.
Rosales combined La Catrina’s traditional look with modern hairstyles and iconic neighborhood landmarks so each community could relate to them easily. The Logan Square shirt shows Logan Theatre, the Pilsen shirt shows large murals of Frida Kahlo and Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Little Village shirt shows the arch, a cultural marker.
Robledo, who is a web developer and designed the online store, said he had the idea to launch Herencia 312 when he saw Rosales’ first drawing of the Logan Square shirt.
“I’m not an artist at all, but I saw this and I said, ‘This is amazing. We can do something with this,’” Robledo said.
Both envision making more apparel down the road.
The duo said the response has been extremely positive. Their first customer bought all three shirts. To show their gratitude, Robledo and Rosales delivered them to her in person in West Lawn.
It’s clear people want more neighborhoods represented, Rosales said — and that’s his plan. He and Robledo are working on designs for Back of the Yards, Gage Park, Belmont Cragin and Humboldt Park.
While neighborhoods such as Logan Square, Humboldt Park and Pilsen have seen displacement and rapid gentrification over the years, the founders of Herencia 312 say highlighting these neighborhoods is a reminder they are still Latino communities.
“We received some comments online like, ‘Why Logan Square? It’s gentrified,’” Rosales said. “We grew up here our whole lives. For us, we are always going to have a love for this neighborhood.”
Robledo agreed, saying Logan Square is home and many cultural landmarks that make up the community are still here. He hopes Herencia 312 will be part of that list.
The founders plans to roll out a Dia de los Muertos T-shirt in October in anticipation of the Mexican holiday, which starts on Halloween. Rosales said this one will be full of color, in tune with the holiday’s extravagant celebrations.
People can order the T-shirts online, and the founders hope to one day sell the shirts in local shops.
“We are looking to selling in some brick-and-mortar shops, like souvenir shops, and then adding a list of shops onto our website where people can go pick them up, but that won’t be until a few months from now,” Robledo said.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.