Homegrown Fashion Industry in Cuba:

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Will It Become Profitable?

In Cuba, fashion is often on the extremes – you either buy clothes and accessories on stores or labels that sell these at super steep prices or settle for cheap but illegally imported goods that come from Ecuador, United States, or Panama. However, the local fashion designers want to change this scene and have come up with the idea of having their designs paraded at the Havana Fashion Week.

Gone are the days when their talents were only good for bedroom studios and backroom workshops. During the fashion event, dozens of Cuban designers showcased their work – people saw an array of goods that included the likes of dreamy wedding dresses, fabulous swimsuits, linen pants, and some designers even had their own rendition of business attires.

What could have prompted the designers to come up with the event? In Cuba, many people earn a meager salary of $30 a month. In the United States, that amount is just the cost of a shirt. While the well-off can get away with spending over $20 for a shirt, the employed on the other hand have no choice but to make do with the cheap offerings which are often the illegal goods. Local designers thought that it was better to make their fashion a mainstream so that people would have access to competitively priced items that bear the Cuban touch. Swimwear designer Jesus Frias says that Cuban design is now seeing rebirth but the industry is not on the top agenda of the government so that private designers are making it their responsibility to bring this back.

Aside from the local market, the Cuban designers are hoping that their designs will win the hearts of visiting tourists. As for their local market, this is their way of encouraging their own people to look for other options apart from the brands that come from abroad