Castro's Influence On Art and Fashion

60 years ago, Fidel Castro’s visit to the United States formed the hippie beatnik fashion and culture of the 60’s as we know it.

Article by the New York Times, ‘The beard’ lead the radical chic fashion movement and was considered by some to be the first hippie. In 1959 Before Castro came to the United States, he hired a PR representative to help him spread his message to Americans. While the PR representative suggested that Castro and his guerrillas cut their hair, the leader disregarded his message. Castro’s signature beard was originally born out of necessity as he and his men did not have access to razors during their time of rebellion. However, Fidel decided to keep the bearded look for the symbolism it had; both of rebellion and of the revolution.


Fashion and Art have gone hand and hand historically as reflections and influencers of culture. Like Art, fashion allows an individual to express themselves and form their identity within society.The colors in an artist’s painting can say just as much as a pair of ripped jeans can about fashion. The impact of art on fashion can be traced as far back as the renaissance when expression as an individual was valued. Today we use fashion as a way to know where we stand in society as people tend to dress according to the groups that they are affiliated with. For example, the period during the 90’s when teens wore flannel shirts like grunge music Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain was a form of expressing their stance as a rebel in society.  

Fidel Castro’s trademark olive green pants and lack of formality impacted the politically charged time period of the 1960’s and instilled rebellious values. The counterculture of the 1960’s marked by its social changes and sense of anti-establishment was started by youth with different views on the american dream and the civil rights movement.  Although a year later, white middle class Americans generally disregarded Castro for his fashion and communist attitudes, the Cuban leader stayed at the Theresa hotel in Harlem and inspired black civil rights leaders like Malcom X with his radical political propaganda. Castro’s influence did not only affect men however. Vilma Espin, one of the Guerrillas top leaders was a poster child of the flower child look- depicted in a photograph of her visit with a flower behind her ear. For the first time, young people started to copy what others in their clique were wearing, and shedding their parents ideals. During the dawn of the feminist movement, Espin’s appearance with a gun on her hip in Life magazine was both subversive and dismantling to patriarchal norms.

Seven North Art in sunny downtown Clearwater has some great new Spanish propaganda posters.



The pieces, some political, some advertisement, use dramatic detail, color and wording to express social issues and mores.The pieces are collectible and can bring an interesting conversation to your next dinner party or get together.  For more information on pricing, call Seven North Art Today.


For hippies and wanna be hippies, Seven North Art also has great vintage posters and prints from music festivals of the Aquarian Age including this print from Beatles legend John Lennon.


To read more on Fidel Castro’s influence on hippie fashion, visit the New York Times article.

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