The Cuba Project – 2013 colour & materials forecast

Posted on 30th December, by Matt in Blog Posts. No Comments

The Cuba Project – 2013 colour & materials forecast

If you would like to purchase this 2013 colour and materials package, any other package or wish to discuss commissioning a specific package, please feel free to contact me.

In mid 2012 I travelled to the carribean island of Cuba to gain inspiration on colour and material forecasting for 2013. Why Cuba you say? Why not? Right now this island is going through a huge transition from a dedicated Communist state to a slightly more open Communist state (sort of like China…kind of…). If you go now you can see what Cuba is like before it is really opened up to the rest of the world, in it’s raw state. Which leads me onto the main reason for my visit. The US trade embargo was put on Cuba in 1960. Up until this point it had benefited from huge investment from outside sources (much of it from mafia figures establishing a foothold to not just “work”, but also to live). If you talk to anyone that has been they will tell you how walking through Havana is almost like going into a time warp. It’s almost as if entering what I pictured a slightly decrepit  60’s America as.

Salsa music rings through the tightly wound streets of Havana. All the buildings are in the art deco style of the 1950’s, the block colours are inviting and refreshing, the almost dilapidated state of some of these buildings lends itself to the surroundings. In my post about the modern nerd trend (talking about the big trend for 2013, for example thick black Ray Bans and buttoned up cheque shirt), I talk about this retrospective look fashion has at the moment, focused on this era of the 50’s and 60’s. As this trend is going to be an even bigger part of the fashion industry for 2013/14 it became the obvious location for a research trip. This era is embodied in Cuba. The buildings alone shout colour and material inspiration!  Every household constructed in wood and cement (if not every other) all comprised of block colours. Mustard yellows, rich ocean blues, emerald painted doors offset by the white wooden window frames, huge white pillars and slatted windows. Although these colours naturally lend themselves to a Spring Summer colour palette, rich pastel colours, muted pinks and purples can be used all year round.

Of course, one of the most recognisable things about Cuba are the cars. The vast majority of the cars owned by the public are these gorgeous 1950’s machines, first brought here by companies such as Dodge, Chevrolet and Ford. Fondly called Yank Tanks, these beautiful vehicles are done up and kept not just as a means to get about, but a status symbol, unique and individual, reflecting the owners style. Illegal Taxis and youngsters alike, all rolling around in there hot pink or electric orange Cadillac’s.  The capital building affectionately dubbed “The White House” is surrounded by many of these stunning Yank Tank’s.

Every view in Havana has a combination of distressed worn out materials and natural decay from the cool sea breeze and Caribbean sun. The repeat pattern of the wooden cobbles on the Plaza De Armas (wooden to stop the sound of horses hooves interfering with Governor Luis de Las Casas’ sleep) is vaguely reminiscent of the pattern of woven materials. The flaking brightly painted walls, revealing a porcelain veneer underneath lend them self to a distressed leather or brightly stained raw edges. Old school cars and I don’t just mean the classics, with moss green coloured body work reminding me of a patent finish. Large spaces on the sides of buildings and walls dedicated to the legend that is Che Guevara (did you know Che is actually an affectionate term for friend, like mate or buddy and not Mr Guevara’s first name as I previously thought). Many painted and repainted, others slightly less orthodox, like the mosaic of oddly shaped stones that brings tumbled leathers to mind.

2013 Colour & Materials forecasting, The Cuba Project – Sample page for Plaza de Armas 

Coincidentally, everything British is huge in Cuba right now, England football shirts (many people immediately associating me being from England with Wayne Rooney), commercial music culture and with out a doubt the most commonly seen British symbol, the Union flag. Adorned on handbags in PVC strips, screen printed on T-shirts, shorts with coloured Union Jack stud work and of course, shoes screaming Britain with a portrait white red and blue panel piece. I am not saying Cuba is the be all and end all place for forward fashion thinking, but none the less, well worth a mention. For more on this fashion phenomenon in Cuba there was a recent report on the BBC.

Yeah Cuba has got it’s issues, no I don’t mean to gloss over any of them, this is not a political blog. This is a dedication to the beautiful country and wonderful people of Cuba. Thank you for sharing your rich heritage and inspirational culture.

If you would like to purchase this 2013 colour and materials package, any other package or wish to discuss commissioning a specific package, please feel free to contact me.

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