April 11, 2022

Chelsea Drugstore and Cuco Get Psychedelic in the Desert

Nick Matthies

Nick Matthies is a Content Manager at StockX.

Chelsea Drugstore is pairing up with Cuco for a bright and colorful Coachella merchandise capsule, arranged by StockX

Chelsea Drugstore is pairing up with Cuco for a bright and colorful Coachella merchandise capsule, arranged by StockX

This article is part 12 of 17 in the series: Coachella 2022

To kick off festival season, StockX is heavily involved with the merchandise program of one of the year’s most iconic music events. For the first time ever, StockX is working with Coachella to pair performers with brands to create unique collaborative festival merch. As a part of that partnership, Los Angeles-based apparel brand, Chelsea Drugstore, has teamed up with singer/songwriter, Cuco to release a StockX-coordinated collaborative collection for Coachella.

In 2016, Rosendo “Chendo” Jacquez, a designer and entrepreneur from Los Angeles, opened a gourmet taco restaurant called Balam inside a former taqueria space his mother owned. Over the next four years, the restaurant exploded in popularity but with the onset of the pandemic in 2020, Balam shifted to strictly takeout. This dramatic change in the nature of the business left Jacquez with some additional free time as the pandemic put a stop to the more regular in-person duties that come with owning a restaurant. Chendo utilized the free time to start his own streetwear brand, Chelsea Drugstore.

Chelsea Drugstore’s first collection released just over six months into the lockdown, on September 21st, 2020, but this was not Jacquez’s first foray into the world of apparel and merchandise, nor was it his first time playing with the specific visual references. Prior to the pandemic, Balam played several different roles as a creative outlet for Jacquez, giving him the opportunity to release branded merchandise in the form of graphic t-shirts and the first release from Chelsea Drugstore shares a notable amount of creative consistency to the Balam merchandise. 

When asked about what the food and design scene had in common, Jacquez detailed the need for outside-of-the-box-thinking in both fields, and spoke of sourcing “unique materials and ingredients as a way to buck trends and add your own twist to traditional ways of doing things.” With Coachella on the horizon, Chelsea Drugstore is now just over a year and a half old and that twist on tradition has been made clear through the progression of the brand’s designs. Between Chelsea Drugstore’s first and second releases, the brand more than doubled their offering, adding playful knitwear, graphic cut-and-sew crewnecks, and logo hoodies to the mix. Additionally, the brand established a strong visual identity through the delivery of colorful saturated lookbooks that make clear the eccentric and authentic nature of Chelsea Drugstore. 

Jacquez himself defines Chelsea Drugstore as “an alternative process of creation, combining ease and confidence through unisex vintage-inspired garments.” The brand’s focus on creating authentic unisex styles is something to be admired in an industry that has too often come up short on being inclusive. In fact, Jacquez refuses to put labels on the brand’s garments telling us that “regardless of gender, we want someone to cherish every piece that we make.”

For fans of either Cuco or Chelsea Drugstore, this StockX Coachella partnership will come as no surprise. Their partnership began getting noticed in 2019, when Jacquez’s Balam ran a concert ticket giveaway in collaboration with Cuco. Beyond the already existing relationship, the pair share important points of view and express themselves similarly through a playful, almost psychedelic lens. “Both Cuco and I are Mexican-American, with similar interests in music, food, and fashion,” says Jacquez. “When creating the merch for Coachella, the ideas that came up were: psychedelic, desert, loud, bright.” 

The pair’s collaborative merchandise collection for the festival does well to execute on their shared ideas. The partnership features four different apparel pieces, three t-shirts and a hat, each of which deliver bright psychedelic imagery and branding. The graphics on all three t-shirts and the hat stay true to the identities of both Chelsea Drugstore and Cuco, who uses similarly loud and colorful imagery on the covers of his own singles and albums. Highlights from the collection include a brown t-shirt with its eye-catching yellow and orange bubble lettering surrounding a black and white image of a woman clipped out of a vintage magazine from the 1960s. A black t-shirt, which features a large pink and blue graphic on the back and a smaller graphic on the front includes some smaller, almost hidden nods to the Cuco brand. Overall, this collaborative collection does well to capture the essence of both Chelsea Drugstore and Cuco and is a must-have for fans of either in the desert this weekend.

Click here to shop the DropX™ Exclusive Chelsea Drugstore x Cuco x Coachella collaboration on StockX.