FASHION – Martín Polanco: going around the world in a guayabera!

To achieve success there are no barriers, much less borders when it comes to making an effort. And that is what the Dominican designer based in Miami, Martín Polanco, has demonstrated, who has achieved with his attractive designs of chacabanas or guayaberas, not only in the Caribbean, but also in Europe and the United States.

Nowadays Polanco promotes what he has called ‘The tour of the guayaberas’, an initiative with which he seeks to bring this garment to Europe and the Middle East. The tour begins on July 21 and includes Venice, Rome and Milan, in Italy, where he will be accompanied by the also successful Dominican designer Giannina Azar, to then move on to Paris, Madrid and Morocco. In November he would be in Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

“That is, that is what we would do in “Around the World in Chacabana”, and then we would go to the United States, Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, New York. What we present in those countries is going to be produced by young Dominicans and I am making an effort to recruit young people so that these products are from Dominican hands, that they do not have to be manufactured in any other country, but that they come from here”, he explains. Polanco.

He understands that this garment must continue to be cultivated to consolidate the brand, since in his opinion it is the moment to do so, due to the boom that the Latin trait is spreading with music, culture, and the best way to do it in fashion is with the guayabera

And it is precisely this garment that he has just recently presented at the Santo Domingo Este City Hall, what he has called the Phoenix Collection, in a fashion show attended by students from the Juan Pablo Duarte fashion school, which he chairs, and in which they presented attractive handmade embroidered designs.

Regarding this project, he highlights that it is part of what he considers a responsibility with young people, and to contribute to the country something that his land has given him so much.

“So right now the process is to develop new talents, one is going to go to the design branch, another to sewing, and another to pattern making, because in each neighborhood, each sector choose those young people who are not studying, who do not know what what are they going to do, that they are out of focus in life, we are recruiting them to take them to the sewing area, I take them there because that is what I can contribute, it is what I have, and it is what God gave me”, adds Polanco.

The fashion schools that bear his name are also being installed in Los Alcarrizos, in Villa Mella, and in Santo Domingo Este, In addition to the Juan Pablo Duarte, he has two others in the Invi and Los Tres Brazos, because he is convinced that the youth of the neighborhoods must open the doors so that they can advance, which he assures can only be achieved by giving them the opportunity.

His story

After the death of his father, when he was just 12 years old, he began to earn a living, along with his brother, by selling clothes on the street, a business with which they became known as ‘Los Hermanos Polanco’, but a Good morning, it was endangered by the scarcity that originated by prohibiting the entry of used garments into the country.

That was enough to awaken in him the spark of what would be the beginning of a great passion that he had kept hidden until then: design.

“Something happened that those used clothes stopped coming in, and because of the need to continue working, those of us who had disassembled them and used them as a pattern, that is, it was out of necessity that we did that,” recalls the designer.

With their innovative creativity, they became known by expanding their offers and, consequently, their client portfolio, which led the young man to have to venture into studies to learn this career and go from being an empiricist to a professional in the area.

That is when she decides to enter Unphu University to study dressmaking, and then to the Mercy Jáquez institute, to finish at the Altos de Chavón school, where she took all the design, painting, and other courses.

“At that time we were already working, I already had my first machine and we were sewing for some artists, that led us, me in particular, to discover design, because we had to be innovating each one, that is I became a psychologist with each one of the artists, because we had to discover their tastes, their form, what was going well for them, and that led me to develop a skill”, stands out.

Its innovative designs have opened the doors so that today it can take its products to any country in the world and venture into projects to position one of its main garments, such as the guayabera, in a country brand.

When did you understand that you could?

“When I was starting out, I made the design for Sergio Vargas, when he appeared in Altos de Chavón, that’s when I understood that it could be done, when I saw my talent on stage, how he looked, how the people received him, how the people talked about it, that impacted me and led me to do more. That was what made me become what I may be today. I have done to Daddy Yankee and Raphy Pina”. He has dressed the latter all his life, because he considers him a godson, since his father was the one who helped him when he arrived in Puerto Rico.

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