TORONTO, Canada — Following our piece on Vancouver's Digital Olympics earlier this week, it only makes sense that the BoF Spotlight should focus on the Great White North for our monthly inspiration from emerging designers. This month I turned to long-time friends of BoF, Alia and Jamil Juma.
The designer brother-and-sister duo are based in Toronto, not Vancouver, though they have called both cities home. They are of South Asian ancestry via Africa, having grown up tied-at-the-hip all over the world, from Los Angeles to Kinshasa, and even Almaty, Kazakhstan. Indeed, the only time they have lived apart was in university, but still only 5 hours away from each other in Toronto and Montreal. That's a mouthful of cities to have lived in for a couple of thirtysomethings.
Jamil and Alia are symbiotic sponges of the cities they live in, soaking in inspiration from their surroundings and feeding off of each other, and reflecting the cultural diversity of Toronto. In the suburban neighbourhood of North York, for example, Jamil and Alia found inspiration from the local Hasidim and their characteristic black attire, with a slim and relaxed silhouette that is their signature.
Having spent so much time together building their fledgling business, it's not inconsequential that Alia has recently moved to New York to give their brand a presence in North America's only global fashion capital, leaving Jamil in Toronto. Following a characteristically deep research immersion trip that took them to China and Bali at the end of last year, for the first time they are living and designing apart. But with two cities to draw inspiration from, and modern technology to keep the communication lines open, we're hoping for big things from JUMA.
And so without further ado, sitting in the nexus of business and fashion in our logo this month are JUMA's dreamy printed scarves. "The scarves are designed in the same spirit of our collections," Jamil told me via email. "We took images from various inspirations combined with images from our blog to create scarves that reflect our brand personality. The scarves come in either silk twill or silk jersey, and are unisex."
Many thanks to outgoing Spotlightee, Fanny Boucher, whose Honorine jewels have been colourfully gracing our masthead for just over a month now, and will debut on Net-a-Porter exclusively in the coming months.
The Spotlight is BoF’s showcase for emerging talent employing creativity and business acumen to make their mark in the fashion business.