Cuban cultural roots spread a little farther through the Americas this year thanks to hundreds of exquisitely tailored guayaberas which were mainly exported to countries like Colombia, Venezuela and Panama.
The Cuban Cultural Fund has been responsible for the sale of this garment. Its subsidiary of Cienfuegos is the major sewing workshop specializing in the manufacture of guayaberas for export, capable of producing over eight thousand guayaberas a year, Ericel Alvarez, its director told the press.
With an eye to expand the market to the African continent, several samples of these guayaberas are exhibited in countries such as Angola and Nigeria.
The exported garments are manufactured in different sizes and colors, and they are designed for women, men and children.
The design for gentlemen is the traditional four-pocket shirt and rows of pleats in front and back, in white and with long or short sleeves.
The piece can be lengthened for ladies, as a dress and can be any color.
The guayabera, nested in the deepest Cuban culture, has been always a garment that gives distinction to whom wears it and it is also timeless; it has modernized over time as illustrates the recent export designs.
Manufacturing these pieces requires high fabric quality, besides the traditional process is complex because it involves the placement of 26 buttons with their buttonholes.
Alvarez added that Cuban Cultural Fund will extend the sale of these pieces to the population next year, in order to rescue Cuban textile traditions and especially the guayabera, which was declared by the Cuban government in October 2010 as the official garment for the solemn ceremonies.
In Cienfuegos, one of the first seven villages founded in Cuba by the Spanish, the Guayabera Museum was opened in 2007, which exhibits garments used by renowned personalities like Fidel and Raul Castro, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez and Guatemalan Nobel Prize for Literature, Miguel Angel Asturias.
But the famous garment was not originated in Cienfuegos, but in another central province of the island. Some say it was commissioned by an Andalusian to his wife to work more comfortable in the countryside, others claim it was created in the tailoring of a Spanish immigrant. Despite having several versions of how the piece came, all agree that it was in Sancti Spiritus.
It first name was "yayabera", because it was used mainly in the Yayabo river zone. But it is said that the peasants were accustomed to collect guavas and save them in their deep pockets, hence the change of the name to guayabera.
What it is proved is that, if it is related to Cuba, nothing more representative than the guayabera, a traditional clothing, designed with a perfect sense of usefulness which combines comfort and elegance .