July is a busy month filled with a number of activities that put a spotlight on fashion including NYFW Mens as well as Miami Swim. Right before NYFWM descended up on the city, Cubavera, a Perry Ellis International Latin Men's sportswear brand, showcased their Resort 18 collection.
This brand is known for its humble family beginnings to becoming a design powerhouse that recently partnered with Oscar Matienzo to reflect on the vibrant Cuban culture that embodies the brand's feeling of "Live the Good Life". The brand speaks to Cuban nostalgia while modernizing classic island style, which is exactly where millennial trends are hitting. We sat down with Luis Toro, Director of Hispanic Sportswear and Marketing for the brand to find out more about this line, who is wearing and the versatility of this menswear line.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us about Cubavera and the inspirations and style behind the Resort 18 collection.
LUIS TORO: Cubavera takes inspiration from Cuba. Our designers look to the island for all their creations, from its beautiful architecture and colors to its tropical landscapes. We work to capture the energy of the Cuban people in the details of our pieces. It’s through the lens of Cuban heritage that we design our iconic guayaberas and embroidered novelty linen shirts. Even the techniques used in Cubavera’s production are founded in practices that have been passed on in Latin culture from generation to generation.
AM: Who is the Cubavera man?
LT: The Cubavera man comes from all ethnicities. He has a positive persona, and above all, likes to wear clothes that are relaxed and enjoys organic, airy fabrics like linen. He “Lives the Good Life” everywhere he goes, no matter where he is. He could be at the office wearing one of our short-sleeved embroidered panel shirts; at the beach, mojito in hand, wearing one of our modern print panel shirts; at the beach, mojito in hand, wearing one of our modern printed pieces; or at a black-tie event wearing an elegant guayabera. The Cubavera man loves tradition and the “sabor” of Latin culture.
AM: How integral is Cuba and it's essence into the line?
LT: Cuba gave birth to the name and the line. Owners of the company George Feldenkreis and Oscar Feldenkreis (Father and son) immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba in 1961 and created the company, originally called Supreme International. They were the first people to import guayaberas and make the iconic Latin shirt popular in the U.S., so much so that George gained the name of “The King of the Guayabera.” Cubavera was launched in 2000 as a way to bring the heritage of the owners to the marketplace and expose the general market to the Cuban lifestyle.
AM: What can you tell us about Cubavera for holiday as people begin to think about gifting.
LT: The long sleeve guayabera is a staple for any elegant occasion. The guayabera was originally created to replace the suit blazer in tropical locations, due to the heat of those areas. Now we see younger people wearing it more and more as a nod to “Cuban Nostalgia.” They wear it in a more relaxed fashion, with shorts and boat shoes, especially the pastel colors like pink, yellow or baby blue.
Our shirts are one-of-a-kind thanks to their tropical prints, colors and embroidery. Our pieces are meant to stand out.
AM: Cubavera's tagline is "Live the Good Life," what does that mean?
LT: Our '”Good Life” is all about looking great, feeling cool, and putting a little Latin ritmo and tropical sabor into every day. We're a brand for people who like to express themselves: with color, pasión, relaxed and put-together style, natural charm and confidence. So you can feel good about living your own way, every day, with no need for a getaway.
AM: Will Cubavera have any celebrity partnerships or ambassadorships that we should keep an eye out for?
LT: We have worked with many Latin celebrities like Gabriel Coronel, William Valdez, William Levy and a lot of basketball players, especially from the Miami HEAT. At the moment, we are working with influencers that resonate with our consumers, promoting the brand through social.
Read more from the July Issue and see Living The Good Life Cuban Style in mag.