The window is a natural shirt dress. On one rack there is a see-through, transparent, hard gauze skirt, and the other is a handmade silk jacket. Hand-embroidered cotton pants in a corner. The low jute and stainless steel statement necklace. Walk into the newly arrived Aloja in Toronto’s bustling college street, and you know you’re looking for something unusual.
“When people come in, they immediately know there’s something different in the store, but they can’t put their finger on it,” says store owner Sabrina Ramos, laughing. “When I tell them that everything is coming from India, they will ‘ah’, like ‘yes’, that makes sense. ‘”
There may not be any overt Indian elements, such as bright colors or bright decorations, but this is the true representative of modern Indian fashion. The country’s new designers to focus more on daily, the concept of luxury, the luxury rooted in the process, hand woven fabrics and the manual details, rather than high influence “setting” or fast fashion. “When you see these clothes, you can see all the efforts,” said Ramos, a former senior chef from Brazil. “It’s not excessive or biggest, but small details show how perfect it is. There’s history, there’s life. Even printing – this is a piece of printing, done by hand. This is very special. And people see it, people feel it. ”
In essence, Aloja offers a fresh, modern look at India’s evolving design aesthetics. For the layman, walking into the store might be a big deal
Unlike Mr Ramos’s own journey, she made her first trip to India in 2005, when she married a Canadian in vancouver.
“I fell in love with India at once,” she said. “I’m crazy about textiles – I’m going home with a suitcase full of fabric, and I don’t even know what I’m going to do. Little by little, every time I travel, I start to discover new, different brands, and do some brands that you can’t see in Canada. And I know there will be markets. ”
As Ms. Ramos’s own closet began filling in the works that India had purchased for years, she realized that they also translated into the streets of Toronto or Montreal, such as new Delhi or mumbai. The unexpected global universality of modern Indian fashion, she wants to show through her store.
She explained: “in Aloja, I want to put my daily clothes together and drag you from day to night. “I also make sure that the pieces that women will like today will fall in love with the classic style over the next few years, beyond” fashion.” I can see the women on the Bodice label alone. They were built very well and very urban. Brand 11.11 has 100% manual selection. That’s what I like about Indian designers and what they’re doing. This is handmade, hand-dyed, but easy, wear-resistant, high quality. Then I would see a work like Rashmi Varma’s sari dress, like a piece of art. So modern, so cool. If I’m going to a concert or a music festival, I’d love to wear it. ”
Asked if she was worried about misrepresenting Indian fashion and contemporary culture, she said: “I didn’t even think about it. For me, it’s simple: I love India. I love these products and crafts. I want to give Indian designers and craftsmen a market. That’s all. There are French brands, Japanese brands, Italy, why not indians?
In addition to her eight menswear, womenswear and accessories brands from India, ramos also includes some other brands whose aesthetics are rooted in craftsmanship and craftsmanship. “All brands have to do with hand making,” she says. The brands include Vayarta, which offers hand-made hand-made sandals in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Canadian designer Laura Siegel works with artisans and artisans in India and around the world. And Mercado Global, whose handbag is made by mayan women in Guatemala.
“My boutique is where you come in, try it, feel the fabric, experiment, don’t rush, don’t worry,” she said. No wonder she calls her name “Aloja,” which means to be hosted or received in Spanish – an invitation to linger over here.