On Cuba on Clandestina, Our Favorite Clothing Shop in Havana

OnCuba recently profiled our favorite design shop in Cuba, Clandestina 99% Diseno Cubano, who we wrote about here.

In perhaps the most interesting portion of the article, founders Idania Del Rio and Leire Fernández discuss their difficulties in creating a new Cuban brand. The idea of a “brand” is fascinating in a country where, for decades, the only brand was the state. You still see it now as you drive down the highway: billboard after billboard advertising not Coca-Cola or McDonalds, but the heroes of the revolution.

Ten years ago, the idea of starting a private clothing label in Havana would have been unthinkable. But times are changing, and innovators like Del Rio and Fernandez now find room to make a difference. From OnCuba:

“What we offer is discourse” says Leire Fernández

“‘We’re interested in making a totally consumable product, for both local customers and visitors. And we would like for anyone from a reggaeton musician to an office worker to dress in our clothes.’

“A very discernable philosophy marks every piece in this store/studio, the idea that the value of their products does not lie merely in the final result, appearance or utility, but also in the daring and inventiveness involved in the whole process of their production. There is little or no similarity between the routines of production here and the artificial and mechanical processes of a capitalist megafactory, or its opposite, a Cuban state enterprise.”

Read more at OnCuba.

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