Behind The Scenes: Tribe Alive's Dreamy, Classic Pink Lookbook Photoshoot In Havana, Cuba

Tribe Alive is a worldwide artistic collaboration.

And their new lookbook celebrates it.

Tribe Alive's artisan-made clothing is designed by women, made for women and by women. The responsible business practices behind this quality, handcrafted clothing brand helps to empower women to raise themselves out of poverty all around the planet. They're dedicated to creating safe work environments, dependable income, and the opportunity for their artisan partners to take control of their own futures.


Tribe Alive creates elegant, timeless staples for the global woman while upholding responsible business practices that empower women around the world.


A Look Behind The Scenes With Michael Newsted, Photographer of Tribe Alive's Fall/Winter 2017 Lookbook

Tribe Alive's new autumn/winter lookbook for 2017 caught our attention, not only because of the beautiful garments, but also because of the culture and connection the photographer and models captured in Havana, Cuba. We feel so much when we flip through the pages of this lookbook - nostalgia, empowerment, freedom - and we were thrilled to get a moment to chat with the photographer, Michael Newsted, about his inspiration and stories behind the shoot.

What was the original inspiration to shoot Tribe Alive’s recent lookbook in Havana, Cuba?

I find it hard to narrow in on one main source of inspiration for this shoot, because I am constantly drawing inspiration by all mediums of art. I've been entirely hooked on Hockney's paintings as of late. Also - George Harrison, Marlon Brando, Audrey Hepburn, utopian architecture, and an unending love for Matisse's cutouts.

That said, as soon as I saw the 70's-esque jumpsuits and wide leg trousers in conjunction with the muted pastel and classic neutral tones, I immediately envisioned Havana. I knew it would be the idyllic location with how intensely it has maintained the visual relics of the 50's. And not just that, but the colors, the cars (of course), the architecture, the dust, the everything. Also, a new place to discover, to learn about, and to better understand. So I trusted that the universe would have its way with Havana finding its way into the fold. 


As soon as I saw the 70’s-esque jumpsuits and wide leg trousers in conjunction with the muted pastel and classic neutral tones, I immediately envisioned Havana.

WE love this choice so much. tell us, What were the challenges or advantages to shooting internationally?

Where to begin?! There were so many challenges. (Insert choice emoji here.) Many of which were outside of our control. A few within our control, but dang it for being human sometimes! I'm kidding, really. I honestly embrace failure, or at least put my best foot forward, as much I'm able to. It's how we get better!

So all of that preface to say that, yes, there were challenges - It was hard to communicate to the locals; it was hard to communicate with each other; it was hard to every few hours find a place to eat a nourishing meal; it was hard to find the exact color of car I wanted to use for the shoot; it was hard to be the point person; and it was hard to say I'm sorry when I made mistakes during the trip. Real talk. But also, there were advantages. Lots of them. I learned about a culture from a perspective that I would have otherwise never have heard - the locals. I learned about producing, directing and photographing internationally - invaluable experience. I was inspired by the endless generosity, talent and beauty of my friends and teammates for the shoot. I could really go on and on. 

"I learned about a culture from a perspective that I would have otherwise never have heard - the locals."

What an incredible Experience.. I'm Curious How do you think the lookbook brings Tribe Alive’s values and ethos to life?

Loaded question, I like it. First, I think that Tribe's values can more or less be boiled down to simply seeing every human as the same - same worth, same love, same respect, same opportunities. I was first "roped" into working with Tribe because they needed a photographer to travel and document the first meetings with their artisans in Honduras and Guatemala. During this trip it was obvious to me that the focus and motivations for creating Tribe were completely pure and compelled by a beautiful conviction that Carly (the founder of Tribe Alive) had prior to the brand's launch.

So, excuse my wordiness as I'm learning to simplify. I guess I'm trying to figure out what to say as I say it. I think it's more that the intentions and energies behind creating the lookbook reflect the ethos and values of Tribe, and less the final product of the lookbook itself. Everyone involved in making this project happen is so full of kindness, passion, joy, passion, and reconciliation. And I think that those are some of the main values that Tribe Alive as a whole embodies.

Everyone involved in making this project happen is so full of kindness, passion, joy, passion, and reconciliation. And I think that those are some of the main values that Tribe Alive as a whole embodies.

That's beautiful. Where did you pull inspiration for the color palate of the shoot?

The color palate for the shoot was largely inspired by Havana itself. But also, as everything else in my life, it was inspired by the colors and tones of the mid-century, specifically those found on the west coast in the 70's.


The millennial pink convertible! Please tell us the story behind this beautiful car!

I saw it driving down the road. I ran after it. Fortunately it parked just 3 blocks away. I tried to talk to the beautiful Cuban man who was driving it. And after 20 minutes of trying to communicate with him and decide on a time to use it, it was ours! Ha, that's actually a lie. I wish that was the case! I went knowing that I wanted to use a pink car for the shoot. And I knew that I wanted to park it up against a pink wall. So, I found the wall first. Then, I tried to find a convertible that matched that wall as much as possible. I spent probably an hour or so in the city square watching cars drive by and pull into the vintage car rental area before finally laying eyes on it. The rest, as they say, is history.


Any unique places or experiences you pulled inspiration for the creative direction of the shoot?

I can't think of any specific places or experiences that directly influenced my thoughts and direction for the shoot. Though, I do think that all of our life experiences effect one another. But I did source some mood board cuts from an 1977 issue of Vogue that I found at an estate sale last summer in northern Michigan. 


This article is sponsored by our friends at Tribe Alive