VIDEO: Ruti Skews Homogenous Trends With Israeli Fashion

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By Mariella Rudi

With every round-trip from her hometown in Tel Aviv, Israel, techie Ruti Zisser would lug more and more coveted pieces of clothing from the Holy Land back to her studio in Palo Alto to sell at trunk shows to her friends.

Soon, with more designer items to import and an unstoppable growing list of clients, she opened the first Ruti store in Town and Country Village across from Stanford University.

This brick-and-mortar boutique now has five locations, with the youngest living in the bustling fashion district on Abbot Kinney Blvd. Ruti brings a rustic yet modern style to the boho-chic fare typically seen on the street. This multi-brand store brings hard-to-find clothing and accessories from Tel Aviv to an otherwise homogenous American fashion.

Owner Zisser has said in the past that she looks for clothing that is flattering to women of all shapes, sizes, styles, and opinions. She either designs or handpicks every piece in the collection.

“My stores tell my story – a story of love and fashion,” Zisser said on her retailer site. “I showcase a mixture of women’s ready-to-wear shoes, bags and jewelry which, together, create a singular, carefully-curated collection. Chic and modern, the collection combines my love of fashion with my Israeli roots, as most of the brands my stores carry are Tel-Aviv based.”

With established locations in the Bay Area and another on Montana Ave. (their first store opened in Palo Alto in 2009 and spread from there), Ruti is regularly bringing Middle Eastern sensibilities to the West Coast. What’s more, Ruti emphasizes fair trade and sustainable handwork; items range from $60 to $200.

“Everything that we carry in our boutique is all-Israeli inspired and all manufactured there, as well, in the city of Tel Aviv,” said Alyson, the Ruti merchandiser.

So, what’s hot this summer?

One of their best-selling garments is the Gloria dress, a geometrical dolman-like frock synched by a thin belt that hides inside the back.

“We get it in a lot of different colors and patterns throughout the year … it’s just an easy, very lightweight fabric. It’s also very flattering and women seem to find it easy to wear for any occasion, from casual to a wedding even. And it seems to be something that’s easy but also very chic and effortless.”

Another bestselling item if you’re looking for a non-body conscious outfit is Ruti’s Kisim Vest, meaning “pockets” in Hebrew.

“Basically it’s just a really great, versatile piece, again effortless-chic. It adds a lot of dimensions to any outfit really. So you can pair it with a dress, leggings, skinny jeans, shorts. We’ve sold out of it quite a few times.”

It’s safe to say Ruti is fit for all shapes and sizes. Their loose-fitting clothing plays well with L.A.’s year-round Mediterranean climate. But that’s not all they have.

If you’re hunting for European-inspired accessories, Ruti sells unorthodox jewelry and handbags. Chunky gold cuffs, necklaces with lava rock, and earrings made of bent metal pair well with the fine leather bags that eschew the current trends – this is essentially the Ruti principle.

Ruti is located at 1410 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice. Their store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information call the store at 310.450.0411 or visit ruti.com.

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