When Kelsy Dominick ’13 studied fashion and international relations as a student at Virginia Tech, she never imagined that one day she would become the first U.S. designer to have her own runway show in Cuba in more than 60 years.

After showing in New York Fashion Week in the fall of 2015, though, Dominick was approached by Cuban Trade representatives. They wanted her to show her design at Arte y Moda, Cuba’s largest fashion event, to help strengthen trade between Cuba and the United States in a nonpolitical forum.

“Kelsy Dominick is not only the first American designer to show in Cuba since the embargo, but she is also the first to ever show in Arte y Moda’s entire history,” said Juan Carlos, who has served as head director of the annual fashion show since its inception. “Given our history with the U.S., it is even possible she may be the first American ever. We are honored to have her.”

Dominick’s showcase coincided with the 20th anniversary of Arte y Moda. The event was held at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana from November 8 to 13.

“There are so many ways to break barriers between countries in conflict,” Dominick said. “Fashion is one of those ways. I am passionate about how design moves people and ultimately moves the world.”