Cholombianos: A Mexican Urban Subculture

In the midst of notorious drug violence in northern Mexico, a peaceful but curious subculture has emerged in the city of Monterrey. Known as Colombianos, this group of Mexican urban youth is bound by a love of Colombian cumbia and vallenato music mixed with more local, mellow beats. This cultural borrowing mixed with proud localism has given birth not just to a new musical style, but also to a dance and a "look." Although this style borrows from hip-hop and reggaeton fashion, it is shockingly unique.

Vice Magazine, which recently published a complete article on the Mexican Colombianos subculture, names them Cholombianos and notes a stylistic similarity to the Norteño cholos fused with elements of hip-hop and reggaeton.

Aside from the more common baggy pants and plaid shirts, Colombianos often wear apparel with prints of religious imagery. Hung from their necks are large hand-painted banners displaying their names, neighborhoods, and favorite radio station. The most remarkable and original fashion statement is their hairstyles, usually characterized by long sideburns glued to their faces (sometimes even reaching their chins), plastered bangs, and most of the back of their heads shaved. They seem as extreme as mohawks must have looked in the 1980's.

Although it's easy to chuckle at the styles of these youths, it can also be imagined to be an early phase of a subculture like the steam punks and harajuku kids. The fact that a musical genre, a non-violent attitude, and a social status bind these kids gives this style an appeal to a wider audience.

Credits: Portraits by Stephan Ruiz for Vice. Group photo by Amanda Watkins.


  1. Hi, I just wanted to stop by and leave a comment for you about your post. I also read the full article that Vice Mag published, and I find it, with all respect, very poor. I am a Mexican social psychologist and I've been studying Cholombiano culture since I love their music references. This sub culture began back in the 1970s. The way these kids look like today, it's just a mere evolution to the market of today. Unfortunately, the fact that they've been marginalized for decades, has not ever allow them to bloom as a trend, because society considers them, openly, criminals. There have been a few books printed in the last 20 years about this culture. There is an investigation made 10 years ago titled "La colombia de Monterrey" that was sponsored by Centro Cultural Guadalupe in San Antonio and the Rockefeller Foundation, and this text was published in 2002 in the US and it can be found at any state library. You might want to do more investigation for further articles, if you're interested.
    Best regards,

  2. esa gente no son cholombianos

    es gente son colombianos

    informense antes de hacer un reportaje

    los cholos somos otro movimiento y tenemos una verdadera cultura

    no confundan una cosa con la otra

    mucha ignorancia y falta de informacion en este reporte

    cholombianos??? jajjajjaja es una broma

  3. aquí en colombia no he visto eso la verdad! jajajajajaja... y gracias a Dios, porque tampoco quiero verla hahaha

  4. que pendejos jaja a esos morros les llamamos Colombias o Colombianos, porquee son pandilleros que eskcuhan musica Colombiana no quiere decir que son de aya de muy comun aki en Monterrey Mexico en los barrios bajos encontrar vatos de estos y no son Cholos mucha gente nos confunde a los cholos con los colombias...pero somos muy diferentes chalee que pedo con este reportaje.........

  5. Amigos respuestas ignorantes como esas nos hacen resaltar como brutos....esa es una cultura de mestizos hibridos mexicano-colombianos, aki en colombia no los hay, pues son originarios de la ciudad de monterrey y es una subcultura nueva y original, en vez de decir babosadas, deberian sentirse orgullosos de que asi sean una manada de feos corronchos y pesimamente mal vestidos, llevan con orgullo y en alto el nombre de nuestra digan pendejadas y midan sus palabras...

  6. caray, pinches, lo que sean son una manada de desadaptados, si no lo fueran no se presentarian de esa forma. Aclaracion, en Colombia vemos el chavo, escuchamos rancheras , vemos novelas Mexicanas, pero no somos tan imbeciles para ponernos un nombres como ñeroxicanos o algo asi.

  7. no saben mas que hacer! manga de DROGOS hijos de perra jala nafta!!!! come pasta base...!!! aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!!!!!!!

  8. Hahaha these guys are really serious about their style and culture. Yes its honestly one of the funniest things ive seen, but if theyre not violent and keeping it fun. Then more power to the "cholombianos".

  9. que hagan lo que quieran con tal que no jodan ha nadie

  10. Se les dice Colombianos por que AMAN, la musica colombiana, el vallenato, los paseos y los porros, año con año en Monterrey se hace el festival Voz y Acordeones, esa es su manera de vestir, 100% Original, no se copean de nadie, hicieron su propia cultura al vestir, al peinarse, al hablar y al bailar, digan lo que quieran, hasta el gringuito este de arriba mucha risa el cabron, como si la pinche lady gaga se vistiera a toda madre...!!!

    1. el gringuito ese no dijo nada malo alcontrario dice q mientras no son violentos que mantengan tal actitud divertida, porque son no? son divertidos, yo me imagino q tienen humor para vestirse asi, y que bien que lo hacen y nos traen mas colores a nuestras vidas llenas de variedad pa no ver lo malo, ademas tienen un aire de los 90 cosa que me agrada porque es la decada que mas ame.

  11. i call this radical creativity, well done chabales.

  12. I read here and also saw the video interview with the artist. Why do they dance peacefully in circles? Is that a pre-colombian influence?