ms. rubia and her wonderful warmers

Last winter, somewhere in the midst of record-breaking snowfall, a friend introduced me to RubiaWear leg warmers.  Flattering silhouette, ultra thin fabric, soft knit, subtle stripes.  Always game for a little investigation, I decided to give them a go.11026053_1607928049427136_5997283873558158194_n

When my first pair arrived in the mail, immediately I was hooked.  For the remainder of the season, not one morning passed where I watched my reflection without the warm hug of my trusty Rubias.  Today Boston Ballet’s Ashley Ellis, the genius behind RubiaWear, sheds a bit of light on what life has been like since creating the collection of warmers worn ’round the world…

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So Ashley, how did you become inspired to start making leg warmers?

It should be noted that I am in Boston now, and well, winter here is notorious for being long with extreme conditions, so this was surely extra incentive for creating a line of ‘warm ups’!

Apart from this, I really enjoy making all sorts of things, am always busy with projects, I find it to be a nice outlet for me. Whether I’m sewing, fixing things around the house, painting, baking, or what ever else sparks my curiosity. Needless to say that when I sew I am often drawn to making things to wear in the studio because this is where I spend so much of my time.

In the months before I opened the line I had made some legwarmers for myself, simply because I had lost the ones I’d had before (by that mysterious fairy that steals dancewear left in the studio over night). I played a bit with different styles that I found to be most flattering. Then, a few friends started to ask me to make them some. As more people showed interest I thought it would be fun to make more and come up with a design to offer to my colleagues. I explored this idea step by step, and with each new detail I wanted to create a product that looked professional but maintained a unique quality.  In the end I thought I might as well make it an official line and how fun it would be to offer not just to my friends, but also to anyone who would be interested.

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Your tendency towards constantly finding little projects is so relatable.  So, what made you decide to turn it into a business?

It wasn’t really a predetermined plan of mine, it just sort of happened. Not to say it was easy- it took a lot time, work, and educating myself on how to get it all going, but I was having fun with it so I kept going.

I knew that my colleagues were fans of the warmers but I had no idea whether or not people outside of my direct contact would be interested in buying them so I just decided to give it a shot. I did feel that if I was going to offer RubiaWear to the dance world at large I wanted the product to be of a high quality and offer an attractive platform from which I was able to sell it. Essentially, something that I myself as a dancer would want to buy and wear everyday.

Since starting with the official line of RubiaWear things have been escalating nicely which has been a very exciting ride so far. It’s been difficult to keep up with at times, and I wish I could move faster and offer more growth sooner, but this will come with time. I plan to introduce new designs, premade products to get things to customers faster.

Being a dancer is still my passion and full time concentration, so at times there are moments when I have to step back and admit that there are things that still have to wait and feel fortunate that things have escalated at the pace that they have.

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I’ve always wondered, where does the name RubiaWear come from?

While dancing in Spain for three years with the Corella Ballet de España I picked up the nickname Rubia, which essentially means Blondie, and it kind of stuck. I wanted to have a part of myself in the name but didn’t really want to use my own name. So, RubiaWear has a sort of disguised part of me in it. I chose the logo and its colors because I thought suited the ‘blonde’ theme. I like that there is meaning behind it but it doesn’t have to be completely obvious.

I just love your children’s line, Rubita, and my goodness, the Rubita MINI series- don’t even get me started.  Cuteness overload!  Where did the inspiration to start making miniatures come from?

Well, besides the fact that the Rubita sizes are so adorable? Haha. I just thought that there are so many young dance students out there who should also keep their little legs warm in between classes and to and from the studio. These ballerinas in training should also have the option to wear dancewear that is unique and showcases their sense of style, even if they do have to wear a uniform for class. I plan to offer children’s sizes whenever I can with future products as well.

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What has been the most surprising/exciting/fulfilling aspect of running RubiaWear so far?

I’ve really enjoyed the learning aspect that starting RubiaWear has offered. I’ve had to learn a lot, not just about how to make warmers but how to run a business.

I’d say one of the most rewarding things has been seeing people all over the world getting excited about the product. I enjoy being in contact with the customers. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback and it gets me more excited and confident about moving forward into the future.

I have to mention that I’m grateful for how encouraging and supportive people, near and far, have been of this venture.

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THANK YOU to the inspiring and beautifully articulate Ms. Ashley Ellis for sharing her story!  To shop the collection (which I highly recommend), head right this way.  To catch Ashley on stage, head over here.

photos by Kenneth B. Edwards

brimfield flea

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I can never turn down a good treasure hunt through one of the world’s largest and most diverse outdoor flea markets.  Vintage cameras, colorful maps, furniture to fit any home, hats galore, pretty suitcases, globes of all shapes and sizes, racks upon racks of clothing…all filled with stories of their past lives.  From a young age I’ve been trained to appreciate the beauty in purchasing antiques.  Repurposing vintage finds brings new life to the otherwise forgotten relics.  I mean, as the experts say, it’s just “so smart”!

When I saw that pearly white romantic tutu pictured above I knew I had to snap a shot of it.  In retrospect, my mom’s suggestion that it was a sign of some impending good news (which I received last night) seems pretty spot on.  Ps- any of my dance friends notice those mukluk booties?  I’m telling you, flea markets really do have it all…

flea on the canal

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You could say I dove head first into Providence’s “local spirit” this past weekend…

After the farmer’s market and Summit Music Festival on Saturday, I decided to fully embrace the city’s community events by enjoying a little brunch at Three Sisters then checking out the South Water Street Sunday flea market for the first time ever.  Between the laser-cut wooden earrings and impressive line-up of food trucks, all I’m left wondering is where has this thing been my entire summer?!  I had such a blast sifting through racks upon racks of vintage clothing (the Coast to Coast vintage mobile shop has the BEST collection), sharing a fresh tropical smoothie with zee boyfriend, and people watching in one of downtown’s most underrated locations.  I cannot believe I’ve never attended this artsy haven before.  Officially SOLD.

the ballerina collection

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My all-time favorite jewelry brand, Catbird, has just launched a new line of dainty earrings and bracelets inspired by ballet.  Each “long, lean, and graceful” piece evokes the delicate nature of a prima ballerina.  Checking out the collection in their charming store in Williamsburg the other day, I immediately pictured each and every piece with pointe shoes and a bun.  I’d had my eye on the opal teardrop ring (pictured below) for quite some time, so none of the ballerina-suited baubles came home with me this time, but now I’m really lusting over those rose gold “barre” earrings and the matching barre bracelet.

I did pick up the opal ring and also a rose gold threadbare for my pointer finger…

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…and I’m loving the way they look with the turquoise ring my boyfriend bought me at one of my favorite boutiques in Paris.  Oh and with the lovely tan line on my middle finger…ha.  Happy Sunday!

summer in the city

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Apologies for my unannounced absence from the blogosphere, I was busy hanging out in nyc!  When a few of my lovely friends from RISD invited me to come up and visit for a few days, I couldn’t say no.

We actually ended up spending a fair amount of time in Brooklyn, which was fine with me.  I’ve always wanted to explore the up-and-coming artsy neighborhood of Williamsburg.  With a pizza dinner out, (check out Juliana’s– my friend’s older brother did all of their signage! ….oh and their pizza is delicious), a (nonnegotiable) stop at Catbird for some new ring a ding dings, a spin around the infamous Beacon’s Closet thrift store where hipsters of all spectacle-shape and and crop-top color flock like moths to a flame, a visit to The Bedford to nosh on a kale-heavy lunch, a walk around The Bedford Cheese Shop, and a few minutes of ogling the cluttered constellation-like lights of Manhattan from across the East River, we covered a lot of bases.

Back in the city, there were fancy craft beers to drink at Proletariat, and fun shopping to be done around Soho (check out Artizia).  It’s been a while since I’ve seen the summer in nyc.  Refreshing, in a sweaty, too-many-people, two-days-is-more-than-enough, kind of way.

located at last: le marais

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Today was a busy, busy day.  Right after school, I navigated my way back to Merci (was actually en route to Le Musee Carnavalet, but my tummy was growling and the used bookstore cafe at 111 Beaumarchais was calling to me, so alas I had no option but to stop in for some yogurt with honey and nuts and a big pot of green tea).  After my little dejuener pour un, I started out on my way to my original destination, a free museum whose three floors tell the story of Paris’s birth and life up until the 20th century.  All in French, but definitely worth the visit!  Of course before I was able to locate the actual museum, I found something even more exciting- Le Marais!

The Marais is a beautiful district of Paris comprising gorgeous old buildings and storefronts, the interiors of which now house trendy boutiques and brand name stores like Bobbi Brown, L’Occitane, Sandro, MAC, and so many more.  Luckily for me (not so much for my wallet), I spotted the Diptyque store and ducked inside faster than I’d care to admit.  Once inside, my eyes and nose were met with the most splendid of sights and smells.  Orange blossoms, rose petals, jasmin, and mint flooded their way into my brain all at once, creating a big delicious scent cloud up there.  I was in heaven.  Big candles, little candles, parfum, soaps…this place has it all.  And with the most juxtaposing classically avant guard presentation imaginable.  Just lovely!

In other news, my cousin has literally just arrived at my apartment in Paris!!!  Time to go!  A bientot, friends.  XO

merci!

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Today after school, I set out along the bustling Rue Beaumarchais in search of a trendy little concept store called Merci.  I had previously read about the Anthropologie-esque vibe of Merci, but was pleasantly surprised to find out that there is also a super cozy cafe/miniature library attached to it.  Trés chic, non?

When you pass by the café terrace and under the archway, you find yourself in an open courtyard full of potted flowers, benches, and a little red Fiat thanking you for your visit.

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Once inside, you’ll notice Merci‘s deconstructed loft, effortlessly cool, je ne sais quoi feel.  The racks are overflowing with designer clothing (the likes of Isabel Marant, James Perse, and Stella McCartney), high-end jewelry, buttery leather bags, on-trend shoes of all styles, and super soft scarves, all taunting you with their expensive beauty.  And when you realize their second floor is all home furnishings and a unique kitchenware line it just gets even better!  The one obstacle holding most of us commoners back from making any sizable purchases here are the sky-high prices.  But before you nix Merci from your list of Parisian shopping destinations, know that they donate 100% of their profits to woman and children in Madagascar, one of the world’s most impoverished countries.  So that means the shopping is guilt-free…merci indeed!!!DSC02188

Although I say with absolute certainty that visiting Merci is a must even if you don’t plan on buying anything, I decided to make my little contribution to the cause anyway (mostly because after smelling this Annick Goutal for Merci parfum, I couldn’t leave the store without it!  And at 22 euros, the price beats any overrated designer perfume at Nordstrom).  I also left with one of their signature “merci medallians”, a little wrap around bracelet made with Liberty print fabric and a round gold disc dangling down inscribed with, well what else but, merci, of course?!

I’m looking forward to returning to Merci and visiting their café for one of the many interesting cocktails offered up on their chalkboard menu…stay tuned!