Cuba’s first independent fashion label Clandestina today launched a new clothing collection with support from Google to celebrate the increasing opportunities and improving connectivity in Cuba. 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.
“When we opened our shop back in 2014, we started using the T-Rex symbol as a joke,” says Clandestina founder, Idania Del Río. “With limited internet, whenever we open our browsers we’d see the ‘No Internet’ page featuring the Chrome dinosaur. It was something our Cuban customers immediately recognized. Back then, we were poking fun at the ‘prehistoric era’ of Cuban internet, but now things are changing.”
Once nearly completely offline, Cuba has spent the last several years slowly rolling out internet access in the form of public wifi hotspots and, as connectivity on the island improves, both Clandestina and Google have been quick to recognize the opportunity, with Clandestina launching their online shop late last year and Google installing servers on the island to make their online products and services work faster for Cubans.
“Clandestina has always been at the forefront of what’s possible,” says Susanna Kohly Jacobson, Google Cuba’s head of marketing and a Cuban American herself. “We’ve always been fans of their work and we loved how they’d popularized and reused one of our icons to send a message that Cubans want connectivity. Since Google shares the same hope – a Cuba fully connected to the internet – it was a natural collaboration for us.”
Clandestina debuted the collection alongside the Google Cuba team at their winter runway show at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana, and quickly launched the collection on their website, making it available to customers all over the world – impossible just a few years ago.
“We’re excited about what the increased connectivity means for our team, and for Cuba,” says Del Río, “but it also means we’re spending more time online and seeing our T-Rex friend less and less.
“I guess that’s the cost of leaving the prehistoric age: dinosaurs go extinct,” she added with a smirk. – GM
Images courtesy of Clandestine