Global Young Designer Spotlight: Alana Ruas

Global Young Designer Spotlight: Alana Ruas

Pushing her designs to the edge comes naturally to Ruas. Always in tune with her surroundings, she scours the streets of Rio through her black and white lens, seeking fresh bursts of inspiration from the beats of the underground and her entourage of loyal friends.

Brazilian fashion is all tropical sundresses and
Havaianas? Think again. Brazilian-born fashion designer Alana Ruas
is revealing the alternative side to Rio‘s style with her
nineties-inspired, monochrome namesake label. Fusing bold,
attention-grabbing designs with edgy cuts, the innovative apparel
and accessory brand’s intrinsic cool has already caught the eyes of
the fashion world – and we’re pretty hooked too.

Swapping her small hometown in Minas Gerais for Rio de Janeiro
to pursue her fashion dream at just 15, it didn’t take long for
Ruas to get noticed. In 2010 – her first year at the Pontifical
Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro – she began blogging and
quickly made an impact with her distinctive personal style and
gender-defying designs. That same year, her eponymous label was
born, making its first appearance in a makeshift atelier in a spare
room in her mother’s Copacabana
apartment. Breaking from the norm to unleash a daring new
confidence in Carioca fashion, Ruas’ urban collections rebel
against the
Brazilian beach
-chic cliché. And that’s not the only stereotype
being subverted. Her new SW16 range – think pink silky bomber
jackets and velour tracksuits – saw her women’s label expand into
menswear, giving her designs a head start in the gender-neutral
fashion game.

Pushing her designs to the edge comes naturally to Ruas. Always
in tune with her surroundings, she scours the streets of Rio
through her black and white lens, seeking fresh bursts of
inspiration from the beats of the underground and her entourage of
loyal friends. Throw in Vivienne Westwood and Kate Moss into the
mix of key influencers and you have a pioneering brand which oozes
originality and has a message for anyone sharp enough to slip into
her attire: be yourself.


Alana Ruas


Designer was born in Teófilo Otoni, a small town in Minas
Gerais, Brazil but the brand was established in Rio de Janeiro.

Type of brand

Womenswear and menswear.

Describe your brand aesthetic in 3 words?

Dope, urban, minimal.

Where can we find you?

My online
, Youngers Italy, Freak Market as
well as several free markets across Brazil including O Cluster and
Feira Arte Club.

How would you describe the ideal Alana Ruas woman?

A unique woman with attitude. She is powerful and sexy, with a
touch of mystery.

Where do you draw inspiration?

I am quite innovative, always looking for new inspiration from
the streets, as well as from music I listen to. I’m obsessed with
the underground hip-hop/trap scene at the moment – a lot of
inspiration comes from its emerging artists and bold

How closely is your brand connected to your lifestyle and
Carioca [local Rio] surroundings?

It’s totally connected to my lifestyle and that of my friends. I
love to hear about what they wear and what they feel is lacking in
Brazilian fashion. Carioca nightlife also plays an integral role in
my brand aesthetic.

Tell us three things that we must see and do in Rio.

First of all, I recommend Lapa in the city centre. It’s filled
with an eclectic mix of artists and it’s inspiring to observe their
diverse styles. I also love the Botafogo neighbourhood: it has a
thriving gastronomy scene and an urban-jungle feel with lots of
cool hangouts. The third thing would be going for a walk around the
city centre; the contrast between the modern and old architecture
is really beautiful.

What does your label say about Carioca fashion?

My brand says that Carioca style doesn’t always need to be
tropical dresses, prints and short skirts. It reflects the darker,
underground side of the city, expressing how Rio style can be both
modern and clean simultaneously. There is a strong goth scene here
too, in which people love to wear black. My aim is to break the
stereotype that Brazilians only wear colourful pieces.

You are originally from Minas Gerais and have spent some time
in Amsterdam. How do the scenes differ in each areas and compare to
Rio de Janeiro?

I think people in Amsterdam have a lot more of a liberal
approach towards fashion, so the street style is more interesting
and dynamic. I love the casual Dutch style with a touch of
elegance. In Minas and Rio on the other hand, personal style is
quite inhibited by a concern for what other people think – they
prefer to be pretty ‘normal’. I suppose this is also caused by the
lack of security here in Brazil, in some areas people have to dress
in a low profile way in order to call less attention.

Your label is both womenswear and menswear, why did you decide
to expand your label to both sexes?

When my blog followers and friends began requesting a clothing
line for men, I noticed a void for unique pieces in the fashion
market; mainly due to Brazilian menswear being so normative. I also
think it’s really nice when you can dress pieces without thinking
about the gender – most of my creations are unisex.

Do you think your designs conform to standard notions of
femininity in Rio?

Not at all! I want to challenge standard notions of gender by
introducing new ways of expressing womanhood. My message is that
femininity can arise from different kinds of styles. I want to
empower women by inspiring them to wear clothes without being
afraid of judgements.

You have recently created a blog post based on the team GB
athletes’ style. What effect do you think the Olympics has had on
Rio fashion and how do you think it will influence it?

There’s a sporty mood in Rio right now. I think hosting the
Olympics has sparked a fresh interest in the athleisure trend, as
well as being a stimulus for people to do regular exercise and
generally lead a healthier life.

What is the fashion scene like in Rio and how does it compare
to global cities? How do you envision it developing?

Rather than copying designs from outside of Brazil, I believe
that the fashion scene in Rio is now finally starting to adapt to a
more local breed of design, based on our lifestyle and cultural
diversity. For example, I am gradually seeing more value being
placed on favela fashion and black and female empowerment. As the
LGBT community fights for its freedom, I think this will develop
Carioca fashion in a unique way, highlighting the essence of
behaviour and lifestyle we have here.

Discover More
Global Young Designer Spotlight: BEDOUIN