Kelsy Dominick becomes first U.S. designer to exhibit work in Cuba since 1960s

Posted: 05-Jan-17 11:55

American fashionista Kelsy Dominick took part in the annual Arte y Moda, one of the world's most revered annual events. Kelsy showcased her work in Cuba, after getting the nod from both Havana and Washington, in the biggest fashion even ever on the island.

Kelsy Dominick becomes first U.S. designer to exhibit work in Cuba since 1960s

With American-Cuban relations currently going through a slow but assured process of thawing out following decades without trade, travel or diplomatic links to one another, it makes sense that we are beginning to see the effects of this new era of understanding in the creative industries.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York dedicated an entire exhibition to the Caribbean Island, and now one of America’s most revered designers is going one better, taking her own work to the country following approval from both Havana and Washington.

Arte y Moda marked the Cuban debut of Kelsy Dominick, and also made history as the largest fashion event ever staged in Cuba, building on the success of 20 years of annual show, heralded as a globally significant and universally inspiring platform for new, emerging and established talent. Held at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, delegates include artists, diplomats, musicians and members of the public.

Until the 2016 edition there had been no Americans directly involved in the event since its inception, with the lengthy embargo prohibiting US nationals from being a part of this incredible event. Kelsy spoke to Cuba Journal about her experience as a true fashion pioneer earlier this month, with the article available to read online here.

She references things like the surprisingly safe feeling in and around the island’s cities and towns, somewhat at odds with the stereotype of Cuba as shown in the US, and to a lesser extent western, media. Not to mention “the warmth of the people, the openness,” and how the trip has acted as a catalyst for her new desire to “portray Cuba for what it really is,” explaining that:

“...there are so many ways to break barriers between countries that are at conflict. Fashion is one of those ways.”

Mario Freixas is well known in the world of Cuban showbiz, dressing many of the country’s television stars and also running a business selling shirts and pants for as little as $20. He also collaborated with Kelsy on the show. The overwhelming success has now led for Kelsy to be invited to exhibit during the 2017 Cannes Festival, one of the planet’s premier red carpet events that has an established history of attracting the great, good, wealthy and desired from all corners of the globe.


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