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Clandestina re-introduce: No Winter Island, a creative, fun and resilient global community

No Winter Island (NOWI), more than a collection, is a state of mind. No one who has lived in Cuba can let go of the perpetual summer, the contagious music and the mojitos.

Behind the blue and the heavenly landscape, there is a spirit of resistance and sustainability, as a result of sixty years of isolation. Recycling, transforming and innovating with few resources more than a condition, has been a way of life.

Therefore, it is not surprising that sustainable fashion has been made from Cuba for many years, and not as a trend of the 21st century. Clandestina, the island's first independent and sustainable fashion brand, has taken it on with determination, and as a way of expressing itself, because that's how fashion is too.

Reaching out to the global community has never been as challenging as it is engaging. It wasn't just about showing Cuban culture with a homemade design. Clandestina, and NOWI specifically, are part of that, a lifestyle that connects people.

Here we are all creative, fashionistas by tradition, and humorists by conviction. Who knows a Cuban who doesn’t laugh at his own problems? With all that energy we reached New York, expanding the alliance with the American brand The Canvas, a reference within the field of sustainable fashion in the United States.

When we arrived, we found a Cuban mother and her daughters, the photographer, the architect and the writer who emigrated, but who have not been able to get rid of the "asere ya" or "the drama is over". Phrases that if you arrive in Havana, you will not only hear over and over again, you will also see them stamped on Clandestina T-shirts.

No Winter Island, the collection we are talking about in this post, was presented on The Canvas, powered by Querencia Studio, for the first time in March 2021. Related to climate change and the perpetual state of the Caribbean summer, the collection brings people closer to the global community, to Cuban culture through two visually different designs conceived for this selection.

The products in the collection are made from 100% recycled cotton. To do this, Clandestina joined forces with Giotex, one of the most important companies in America in the production of sustainable textiles, which has worked with fashion brands such as Patagonia, due to its chemical-free processes and low environmental impact. Giotex's COTTON 100 R T-shirt is obtained through the processing of textile waste generated on the cutting tables, transformed into premium manufactured pieces.

Those were the first steps of expansion, which enhanced the alliance with the American brand The Canvas, a reference in the field of sustainable fashion in the United States. Since September 12th, 2019, Clandestina expanded globally through a partnership agreement with The Canvas powered by Querencia Studio, with the opening of a permanent corner on Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, which was extended to Bowery, a new sustainable fashion hub in Manhattan.

If you are reading this, you can share with the people you know that these 99% Cuban designs are available now at 250 Bowery NYC, thecanvas.nyc and at clandestina.co.

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Clandestina joins White Sustainable Milan 2021 next to The Canvas

Exciting news, Clandestina family! We have joined the White Sustainable Milan 2021 next to The Canvas, powered by Querencia Studio, from this Saturday to the 21st of June, during Milan Men's Fashion Week.

The Canvas launches a Pop-Up at PELLUX, Piazza S. Fedele, Milan, which brings together outstanding sustainable fashion brands like, Adiff, Foxylab, Apa, Bring, Vustra, BrownmilL, among others. The Pop-up will be hold for three days, offering brands the opportunity to display and sell their products to WSM attendees as well as local and international visitors.

During the WSM 2021, we present unique pieces such as the 3XL bags, extra-large items which belongs to the brand’s 2020 collection Sport Glories, as well as our “Carteritas” Recycled Nylon Pouches, manufactured in our Havana’s workshop. All items are made of recycled nylon sacks founded in city local markets, that were previously used either for coffee, rice, sugar, or postal service.

We have worked alongside the US brand The Canvas since 2019, which is a mandatory reference within the sustainable fashion scope in the United States. Clandestina expanded globally through a partnership agreement with The Canvas, powered by Querencia Studio, with the opening of a permanent corner at Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn two years ago, which last March we extended to Bowery with the launching of our new collection “No winter island”.

Clandestina’s Co-founder and Creative Director, Idania del Rio, explains that: “Repurposed Nylon bags, denim, and t-shirts make our Sports Glories top items. This is not a collection for athletics but a statement of how you must be ready to run the race for your daily life. Soviet cars bowling shirts, shiny gender fluid boxing robes, prepare us for a game where expectations and reality collide like in the Olympic games. This is our team, team Cuba.”

WSM 2021 opens new scenarios in the trade-fair panorama through a calendar which includes events, talk shows, workshops and engagement activities for the visitors. The event is AAA - All Access Area - accessible for free to a selected audience (through online subscription) and insiders. It promotes an eco-friendly forward- looking vision while it generates unique opportunities for a direct dialogue among street, sports and fashion brands and their communities.

That´s why we have taken that irrepressible energy of the new Cuba to Milan. That celebration of the Cuban heritage: humor, grit, and a ‘resolver’ way of living. Because, as Idania del Rio, mentions: “Being sustainable is not a choice for us. Sustainability is Cubans’ lifestyle, it's in our DNA. We recycle because we can´t afford to waste anything. We lack resources, our industry is outdated, we don’t have economic infrastructure to support large scale productions… That’s precisely why we work with whatever we find. We put that “resolver” way of life of the island into all we do. That innate capacity of finding a solution (crazy as it could be) to any problem and making the most out of everything.”

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What’s behind a t-shirt made of 100% recycled cotton?

What’s behind a t-shirt made of 100% recycled cotton? Mostly a choice, for sure. The major election of becoming an eco-friendly superhuman who wears a product, not only crafted through chemical-free and low environmental impact processes, but also to be someone who reflects a strong commitment towards the planet.

That’s why we choose to work with responsible textiles. In the midst of the current global crisis we aim to offer an ethical solution. And while we shift people perceptions on recovered materials and fashion values (‘cause upcyling in the new cool), we raise awareness on how this sector owns a huge responsibility to the environment and to the future of the earth.

Our new collection No Winter Island is a subtle reminder of the problem. With 12 designs printed on 100% recycled cotton t-shirts, NOWI arrived in New York a month ago carrying a rock-solid sustainable statement.

The Caribbean region, tremendously affected by climate change, made us gathered regional efforts with the Mexican producer Giotex in order to achieve a worldwide ethical fashion model.

Tara about Clandestina:

Clandestina are a force to be reckoned with in the (sustainable) fashion world.  They approach all of their initiatives first and foremost with integrity embedded in their design process, social justice in manufacturing and environmental activism in their material choices.  Despite being limited by a hyper local supply chain and little access to resources they have approached the design process in a very innovative way, applying creative solutions to what others might see as problems. I frequently point to Clandestina as an example of things can be done differently.

Climate change is a real issue, for real. If you are skeptical about it, try to stand in the middle of Old Havana at noon without feeling your bones melting down the cobblestones (nothing that a mojito can’t fix, you might think ;)

 

But seriously, for Caribbean countries global warming has a serious impact on the temperatures of oceans and seas, especially during the hurricane season. We fear those months of the year, where there’s no enough candles or prayers to scare away the wind blow and save our already wrecked economies from drowning.

From July to November in Cuba, hurricanes threaten holidays till August, and the early days of school in September. The Civil Defense recalls the risks and measures to be taken (no exceptions allowed):


 

The Caribbean is not always the holiday postcard you’ve seen in tourism offices. We struggle with climate, lack of resources and proper industries, and last but not least, deficit of worldwide recognition.

 

Colonialism prevails in the most unconscious ways. What developing countries now acknowledge as “eco-friendly” and “sustainable” are the founding basis of our colonized societies. The remnants left by history and erratic social structures still lead the way on how things work in the modern world.

Like the palm in the picture, we might bend a little during the storm but then straight up again. ‘Cause that’s what we Cuban do our best: “Resolve with what you have. Resist and overcome.”

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Greetings from Cuba: The No Winter Island!

Clandestina’s 2021 collection No Winter Island rockets New York from the very heart of Manhattan to the rest of the world.
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Press Release: Independent Cuban Fashion Label Clandestina and Google Together Launch a New Clothing Collection Inspired by Cuba Coming Online

The collection, titled País en Construcción, or Country Under Construction, features garments inspired by the workers and builders of Cuba as well as iconography from Google’s internet browser – the beloved Google Chrome T-Rex.
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