The store gained international popularity after President Barack Obama’s visit to the Island in March 2016, when the leader ordered a t-shirt for his daughters.
14ymedio, Havana, 27 October 2017 – Clandestina, the clothing store that markets its own brand, this June became the first store of its kind on the Island to sell its products through the internet. Its creators emphasize the international character of their business, with clothing designed in Havana, sewn in Nicaragua and finished in South Carolina (U.S.).
In spite of the difficulties of connecting to the web in Cuba, the business founded in 2015 by Idania Del Rio and Leire Fernandez has opted to distribute its products on the internet. “We have barely had any internet this past week,” they say on their website.
Currently the store operates under the domain clandestina.co, but after November they will be able to move it to the better known “.com” which until now it has not been available.
Clandestina earned international popularity after President Barack Obama’s visit to the Island in March of 2016 when the leader mentioned the business in a televised interview and asked where he could find a t-shirt of that brand for his daughters.
All the products that will be sold on the web by by the small business are exclusive designs of the studio and can be acquired for 28 dollars.
The virtual store’s offerings includes six t-shirt designs, among which are some with the phrase “99% Cuban Design,” a slogan that defines Clandestina. Other more controversial designs show the face of an adolescent Ernesto Guevara labeled within the “revolutionary” category.
With the new website, the small space located in the heart of Old Havana stands out among the private businesses that are using new technologies in order to promote their products on the Island.
So far, the presence of individuals on the web for business purposes has been limited to the vacation rental sector, as is the case with those who rent rooms in their homes to tourists through platforms like Airbnb or their own digital pages.
Some musicians, like the Singer Haydee Milanes, also have managed to sell their records on iTunes, and several app developers have placed their products in Google and Apple stores, but almost always with the help of some friend who lives abroad and can collect customers’ payments.
In Clandestina’s case, the fact that Fernandez has Spanish citizenship has permitted her to register the business in the United States in her name, and this opens “more opportunities for business.” Her idea is that “all the creation and art is done here and then produced in the U.S.”
The site sells products for delivery in the United States, Canada and Mexico, but its managers aspire also to hire a supplier in Europe to lower the cost of transporting merchandise to the Old Continent.
Clandestina intends to play with the image of international icons like Ernesto Guevara, from whom it has designed a youthful version. “It is a young Che . . . still a boy. He hasn’t done anything bad, he has not done anything,” says Fernandez, who nevertheless acknowledges being “tired of seeing Che on every street in Havana.”
Translated by Mary Lou Keel