Designer Arcadio Diaz enjoys a very special feature: he’s attributed two nationalities. For some it is Venezuelan and for others, a Dominican national. However, the second is the one that’s true. The renowned designer was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic, where he discovered that his passion was making garments to fit.
Ina recent event “Chacabana or Guayabera?” hosted by Centro Cultural Leon, dozens of people, including designers, fashion & design students, shopkeepers, artisans and the general public, were invited to learn more about this garment, which besides still holding on to its place in the fashion world, keeps its close mark within Caribbean cultural.
Beyond fashion, this piece has an interesting history. This thin and elegant garment, as it is now known, was originally intended for farmers to wear as they tilled the field. Virtually all versions agree that its origin is Cuban and grew out of a need for comfortable clothes to work the land.
Originally called “yayabera” for use in the area Yayabo Rio, Cuba, later changed its name to “Guayabera” attributed to their deep pockets to pick guavas served. With the passage of time this outfit has undergone some changes not only in name but also in their uses and styles.
Diaz, possessing a broad curriculum, shared with attendees how his desire to project internationally this distinctly Caribbean attire, led him to create the first adaptations of the currently known Guayaberas. Introducing colors, new textures and creativity.
However, quite apart from innovation, he addressed the stress to maintain the traditional essence of it. Gradually the Guayabera had become a part of haute couture, to become an icon of national and international fashion. Thus we see that, with increasing frequency, various personalities and celebrities look wrapped in this artisan creation of Dominican fashion.
Arcadio also expressed how in the continuous process of creation he was able to transform the straight lines of the Guayabera to fit the curved body of Latinas. Thus achieving a significant evolution in the world of women’s fashion.
Certainly one could agree that the chacabana is no longer exclusively male, thanks to the creative hands of Arcadio Díaz. The activity was enriched with a slideshow highlighting its evolution, from its origins to its latest innovations at the hands of this artisan fashion, as he likes to call himself. Which can be found in different stores Santo Domingo and Santiago.