2017 was an incredible year for Clandestina. After a 2016 filled with trial and error, 2017 was a period of constant growth that proved the potential of our little design shop. Our corner in Old Havana welcomed celebrities from hollywood, politics, television, and art, all of which encouraged us to commit ourselves even more to what we’ve been working on every day.
So much of the success we’ve had over the past year is because of all of you. Without our friends, customers, colleagues, supporters and advisers, none of this would be possible. Because of this, we’d like to share with all of you the ten most important moments for us this past year, and take some time to recognize everyone who made them possible.
Without a doubt, the most important milestone for Clandestina in 2017 was the launch of our online store. A dream made real. After years of hard work, looking for any way to make it happen, we found partners in the US who were willing and excited to help us. After a few months of work and patience, this past October we finally launched our online store and the results have been incredible.
A big thanks to our printer in the US, Frenzy, who has worked so closely with us, and to all our other partners and supporters in the US and Cuba. And of course, thanks to all of you, all over the world, and to anyone who bought a shirt or share our site with their friends. If you haven’t already, please take a look at what you helped us create. We couldn’t be prouder: www.clandestina.co
- Fashion Shows
2017 will go down in history as the official introduction of Clandestina to the world of fashion. Out two fashion shows that the Fabrica de Arte Cubano (FAC) are proof that that. The first of these, Se Acabó el Drama, showed the most recent designs of Idania del Rio and was a resounding call to use whatever resources we have to keep moving forward, without any doubts or excuses.
The second, Guayaberas y Tatuajes, was a collaboration with another group of fashion designers, in an attempt to define the traditional Cuban guayabera as a national outfit. Thanks to all the attendees, models, and participants, and of course to the FAC for inviting us.
And just in case you missed it, you can check out the video here:
- Co-Motion at Washington University
In January, the founders of Clandestina graduated from Columbia University’s Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness in Latin America (ECLA) program. Just a few months later they became residents of the University of Washington’s Co-Motion coworking space, funded by the Seattle International Foundation (SEIF), where they were able to meet with experts in supply chain, ecommerce, business development, retailers, fashion companies and investors.
They had three incredible visits, first with COSTCO, where they were able to meet with the founder; Tomboy X, who agreed on a collaboration to be released in March; and Union Bay, one of the biggest fashion retailers in the US. During the visit, Ali Maza, an Amazon specialist, gave a stellar training on ecommerce and retail. Big thanks to Columbia University and SEIF for funding our education, to the Univeristy of Washington’s excellent program, the teams at COSTCO, Tomboy X, and Union Bay for hosting, and everyone else we met on the trip.
- Clandestina in Dortmund
Clandestina’s Vintrashe collection represented Cuba at the International Fair Friends at Dortmund, a sustainable design event that for the first time invited a team from the island. Clandestina’s upcycled collection was a worthy representation of ethical fashion, recycling, and the circular economy in Europe. The bags and shirts were a true sensation. Thanks to Fair Friends for inviting us and for everyone who supported us at the event.
- Guayaberas y Tatuajes
The guayabera is a classic piece of Cuban clothing. But for a variety of reason, young people in Cuba don’t regularly wear it because they don’t identify with it. Together with Robertiko Ramos, Celia Ledón and Marginalia, Clandestina set out to redefine the guayabera as an article of clothing and adapt it to the new landscape and contemporary fashion. The resulting exhibition was exhibited in a fashion show in FAC where the models wore not only daring and revolutionary guayaberas, but also tattoos. Imagine that: guayaberas and tattoos have chemistry. Thanks Robertiko, Delia, Marginalia and everyone else that participated.
- Dame tu pulóver
While Clandestina has thrown several Dame tu pulóver (Give Me Your Shirt) events since its launch in 2015, this year we beat our record. Many of our friends invited us bring this initiative to their events, including women at Bacane, the Continua Gallery during the #ZonaRayoActiva, the European Union and UNICEF at an event for kids from Old Havana, the Autumn Room of the Design Center of Visual Arts, the International School on the 1st of December as part of the campaign against HIV and AIDS and La Maca, together with whom we celebrated 17th of May, the Day of the Farmer (Guajiro). Thanks everyone for inviting us to be a part of your wonderful and important initiatives!
- Clandestina at the Walker Art Center
We’re very proud to have been part of the list of Cuban artist and projects that participated in the exhibition Adios Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950 in the Walker Art Center. The exposition showed the ways that art has evolved and morphed during the last 65 years on the island through move than 100 important works in painting, graphic design, photography, installation and performances created by over fifty Cuban artists. Big thank you to the Walker Art Center for selecting us and to all the other artists that were able to participate.
- Joining ALTER
In 2017, Clandestina also became a member of ALTER, an organization that dedicates itself to finding the best entrepreneurs in developing countries and advise them in marketing, ecommerce, retail and many others. We’re very excited and grateful to be included. Thanks ALTER for selecting us, we can’t wait to see what we build together.
- Selling on Holland Cruise Lines
As of December, our shirts, agendas and bags will be available to the travelers on Holland Cruise Lines, which started traveling to Havana last year. We’re so proud that the company chose our products to represent Cuba, and we’re committing to create articles that are 99% designed and made on the island and filled with the creativity, humor, and contagious Caribbean joy that emanates from all corners of Cuba. Thanks Holland America an everyone who helped us make this happen, inside the company and out.
- Workshop in North Carolina
In 2017, the heads of production at our shops in Bauta and Old Havana participated in a workshop in North Carolina together with our friends at Opportunity Threads, with whom we plan to develop our Vinstrashe collection in 2018. It was Cynthia’s first trip after becoming a mother and the first time that Odalis had been in an airplane in her life! Thanks to everyone at Opportunity Threads for working with us. It was a fun and fascinating experience.
Wow, what a year! And that’s just the top 10. There were plenty of other incredible moments from 2017 that we don’t have room to include here, but you can always catch a glimpse on our Instragram.
Thank again to all of you for a truly unforgettable year. We can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store!