Fidel D. Asis dresses the outside of the Havana Collection and the rest of Little Havana in top of the line fashion
Fashion and Cuban culture have been partners in crime for centuries, and Fidel D. Asis, owner of The Havana Collection, a traditional Cuban fashion store on Calle Ocho in Little Havana, is adding to this stylish combination.
Selling guayaberas, a traditional Cuban shirt with a lineage dating back to the “campo” of the 18th century, in modern times is what gives Asis his edge in the fashion community. A taste of Cuban culture through clothing is what both tourists and locals look for when they visit Little Havana, according to Asis.
“They look for Cuban flare in guayaberas and linen panama hats. Linen is now a part of Cuban fashion,”.Fidel D. Asis
This demand for Cuban-themed attire is why Asis decided to have three stores on the same strip in Little Havana. According to Asis, five years ago there were just one million tourists visiting Little Havana up until the Coronavirus there were 3.3 million. Because of this, Asis set out to expand his stores to capture everyone at every door as they shop. Fidel remains optimistic that things will eventually get back to normal.
It is not just tourists that make up Asis’s consumers. Asis said he has been selling to locals for 40 years. This he attributes to the Cuban culture he mixes into the newly remodeled décor of his store. Part of that décor is a statue of a rooster that sits outside, named Fernando, which Asis named after his grandson, Fernie.
“[Fernando] represents Cuban culture, because Cubans have pet roosters and we honor that here,”Fidel D. Asis
In addition, there is a mural painted outside Asis’s shops which depicts music, cigars, art, and fashion, adding to the street a “Cuban vibe” that Little Havana aims to emulate.
The goal with this décor, according to Asis, was to show the three million people who visit Little Havana the expression of the guayabera, and how it contributes to the beauty of the Cuban culture.
This is an ideal that Asis believes the newer generation is embracing, as they begin to appreciate the fashion within guayaberas. However, they are following tradition in their own way.
“Instead of wearing the guayabera like their fathers and grandfathers, they are wearing the guayamisa,” said Asis. “It’s a copy of the guayabera but instead of four pockets, it has two pockets.”Fidel D. Asis
Therefore Asis has geared his stores toward millennials who want the Cuban look in a fashionable way.
The millennials who visit The Havana Collection, along with the locals and tourists, are all attracted by the appearance of the store upon first glance. Dressing his stores in top of the line fashion in an artistic way does exactly what Asis intended it to do: attract customers to the thriving Cuban culture that sits on the streets of Little Havana.