By the Clandestina Team

Clandestina is an urban fashion brand founded and run right in the heart of Havana. Established in 2015, Clandestina gives Cuban artists, makers, feminists, and designers a creative outlet. Inspired by the idea of a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry Clandestina, like TomboyX, places environmentally friendly production practices at the center of their brand.

Below they tell the story of how the partnership between Clandestina and TomboyX came to be.

Spanish

A finales de 2017, Leire e Idania fueron invitadas a participar en un programa Acelerator for Startups organizado por la Universidad de Washington que tuvo una duración de 15 días. El programa tenía concertadas visitas a diferentes compañías en Seattle entre las que se encontraba TomboyX, una empresa de ropa interior “that fits you body and how you see yourself." Ropa interior “for unapologetic people of all sizes and genders."


Y aquel encuentro pudo haber transcurrido “sin penas ni glorias." Pudo haber sido solo una visita de rutina para cumplir con el plan de estudios del programa. Pero no fue así. Una conexión muy fuerte se creó entre Clandestina y TomboyX aquel día. Una conexión que daría lugar algunos meses después a la primera colaboración entre ambas casas de diseño.


No había pasado mucho tiempo de la reunión cuando Leire e Idania junto a Naomi y Fran, fundadoras de TomboyX, se descubrieron dibujando un diagrama gigante donde incluían todas las cosas que de una manera u otra unían las filosofías de ambas marcas. Saltaron muchos temas: Trump, personas LGBTQ, diseño, lucha social, comunidades marginadas, el tema queer, la emancipación de la mujer, el patriarcado, etc.


Hablaron también del movimiento #MeToo que por aquellas fechas había cobrado una fuerza extraordinaria en todos los Estados Unidos y particularmente en Seattle, que fue una de las ciudades donde más protestas se produjeron.
Clandestina y TomboyX tenían más en común de lo que cualquiera de ellas podía imaginar en un principio. No solo porque ambas marcas fueron fundadas por mujeres LGBTQ, con poco o ningún conocimiento de negocios, que apostaron (y lo continúan haciendo), por el emprendimiento y el empoderamiento de la mujer. Ni siquiera porque Naomi González, una de sus fundadoras, es cubana igual que Idania del Río.


Sino porque ambas marcas comparten la misma agenda. Una agenda a favor del movimiento LGBTQ, la inclusión y la aceptación. Una agenda de resistencia, activismo y lucha por el respeto a la diversidad. Una agenda que, como dice TomboyX: “no es feminista, ni gay. Es una agenda humana." Porque al final del día todos somos mujeres y hombres, y cualquier cosa en el medio. Todos somos LGBT. De todas las razas, antecedentes y creencias. Todos somos personas.
Idania y Leire a los pocos días regresaron a Cuba. Pero esta vez llegaron con la certeza de una colaboración entre ambas marcas de diseño, una en La Habana y la otra en Seattle. Una colaboración que era solo una idea que había surgido durante un par de conversaciones. Pero todos conocemos el poder de una idea. Y la voluntad que las hace realidad.


Y fue precisamente el espíritu de resiliencia compartido por ambas marcas, el que sirvió de inspiración al diseño que le da vida a la colaboración.


Porque Clandestina y TomboyX saben que todo se trata de Resistir. Resistir y Fight on. Resistir y Vencer. No importa el escenario. Porque la lucha por la inclusión y la aceptación no entiende de banderas, fronteras, ni esquemas políticos. Es todxs para unx, y unx para todxs.


Así. With “an X that marks the spot, seals it with a kiss, and crosses out the negativity and infighting that we’ve all had to deal with for far, far too long. That wants nothing more and nothing less than for our common language to be respect and our national anthem to be HELL YES."

 

English

At the end of 2017, Leire and Idania were invited to participate in an Accelerator for startups program organized by the University of Washington that lasted 15 days. The program had concerted visits to different companies in Seattle among which was TomboyX, an underwear company "that fits your body and how you see yourself." Underwear "for unapologetic people of all sizes and genders."


And that meeting could have gone "without sorrows or glories." It could have been just a routine visit to fulfill the curriculum of the program. But it was not like that. A very strong connection was created between Clandestina and TomboyX that day. A connection that a few months after derived in the first collaboration between both design houses.


It had not been long since the meeting started when Leire and Idania together with Naomi and Fran, founders of TomboyX, discovered themselves drawing a giant diagram where they included all the things that, in one way or another, united the philosophies of both brands. Many themes emerged: Trump, LGBTQ people, design, social struggle, marginalized communities, the queer theme, the emancipation of women, patriarchy, etc.


They also talked about the #metoo movement that by that time had gained extraordinary strength throughout the United States and particularly in Seattle, which was one of the cities where more protests occurred.


Clandestina and TomboyX had more in common than either of them could imagine at first. Not only because both brands were founded by LGBTQ women, with little or no business knowledge, who bet (and continue doing so) for entrepreneurship and the empowerment of women. Not even because Naomi González, one of its founders, is Cuban like Idania del Río.


But because both brands share the same agenda. An agenda in favor of the LGBTQ movement, inclusion and acceptance. An agenda of resistance, activism and struggle for respect for diversity. An agenda that, as TomboyX says: "is not feminist, not gay. It's a human agenda." Because at the end of the day we are all women and men, and anything in between. We are all LGBTQ. Of all races, backgrounds and beliefs. We are all people.


Idania and Leire a few days later returned to Cuba. But this time they arrived with the certainty of a collaboration between both design brands, one in Havana and the other in Seattle. A collaboration that was just an idea that had emerged during a couple of conversations. But we all know the power of an idea. And the will that makes them a reality.


And it was precisely the spirit of resilience shared by both brands that inspired the design that gives life to the collaboration.


Because Clandestina and TomboyX know that everything is about Resist. Resist and Fight on. Resist and Overcome no matter the scenario. Because the struggle for inclusion and acceptance doesn’t understand of flags, borders, or political schemes. It's all for one and one for all.


Yes. With "an X that marks the spot, seals it with a kiss, and crosses out the negativity and infighting that we've had to deal with, far too long. That wants nothing more and nothing less than for our common language to be respect and our national anthem to be HELL YES."