Clandestina, Cuba’s First Online Clothing Brand

by Jack Guy

Apr 19, 2018

© Elena Elisseeva | Dreamstime

Products / Clothing

For decades, Cubans were banned from starting any kind of private enterprise under the communist government. In recent years, economic reforms allowed certain kinds of businesses to flourish. However, the ongoing U.S. embargo and strict government rules mean entrepreneurs face incredible obstacles.

Despite the difficulties, designer Idania del Rio decided to set up her own clothing brand in 2015. Today, Clandestina is a thriving international business, serving trendy locals, tourists and, now, overseas customers.

In November 2017, the business expanded its operations from the boutique in Old Havana to an online shop. All of the garments are designed in Cuba, but manufactured in the United States. It’s the first time an independent Cuban brand has been able to sell to customers that aren’t on the island.

You can now browse the website to shop for a selection of t-shirts. Each of the designs deals with a different issue, such as the campaign for better LGBTQ rights in Cuba.

Entrepreneurs such as del Rio hope further economic reforms will make it easier for businesses to grow. With a new Cuban president expected to come to power soon, could we be about to see an opening for business on the island?


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