Apparel & Accessories
Find unique local gifts for your group or shop local souvenirs and hand made authentic pieces for your group to take home from Aruba.
Tangerine / We The Beach People
Continuing his family’s long tradition of sewing, Aruban Ashlin Ahlip turns out handcrafted, sturdy canvas bags and accessories under his Tangerine label. According to Ash, “With each handmade bag, I strive to create a piece of quality craftsmanship and timeless style. All my bags are deeply influenced by traditional nautical styling and the colors of Aruba.” His We The Beach People line of clothing, hats, and other accessories—reflecting a clean, simple style—is also very popular among both locals and island guests alike. Tangerine and We The Beach People products can be found at Bula Surf Shop, Island Yoga, and Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant. Website: www.arubahandmade.com.
For many of us, flip-flops are an island essential. A great wearable souvenir of Aruba is the Arubiano brand of flip-flops. The colorful designs printed on the flip-flops showcase Aruba’s culture, flora, and fauna as photographed by award-winning wildlife photographer Damilice Mansur. Arubiano also offers eco-friendly grocery bags and caps, which make great souvenirs as well. Arubiano products are available all over the island. Visit the website for specific retail locations: www.arubiano.com.
VADAVAS features collections uniquely designed by three local sisters and handmade by single mothers on the island. The single mothers are part of a foundation called Women Opportunity International Foundation, founded by the sisters’ mom, Diana Biemans-Gomez. The moms pick up the designs and the materials, having the flexibility to work from home at their own pace and convenience. VADAVAS accessories are made with natural fabrics and stones, freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals, and Czech gemstones. The collections include necklaces, earrings, bracelets, foot jewelry and barefoot sandals, headbands, elastic tiaras, and hair accessories. Recently, the sisters even started a clothing line. The VADAVAS boutique is located at Paseo Herencia Mall, with products also sold at various resort gift shops on the island. Visit their website for specific locations: www.vadavas.com.
Artist Deborah de Weerd draws on her passion for color and eye for detail to create gorgeous flame-worked jewelry, accessories, and figurines, as well as abstract landscapes that are hand-sculpted in glass, fused, and photographed. The landscapes, textures, and light impressions found in Aruba deeply influence her work. Using an eclectic variety of materials, she continuously explores to create unique designs, presenting her work under the name Loretti Design. Her beautiful work is available at Loretti Design Studio in Paradera. Website: www.lorettidesign.com.
Monica Franken is the designer behind the handcrafted jewelry brand, Mersea, a name that combines mermaid and sea. Indeed, the Caribbean Sea is reflected in her pieces, many of which incorporate turquoise and freshwater pearls, as well as coral beads and lava rock. In general, Monica works with semiprecious stones and the technique of wire-wrapping—using coated copper wire—to create her signature style, which she describes as bohemian chic or “nature-inspired elegance.” She draws from the boundless natural beauty of Aruba, capturing its essence with each swirl, curve, and knot. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with inquiries or visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/merseajewelry/.
Caribbean Art Scarves by Elisa Lejuez Peters
Originally from the Netherlands, Elisa Lejuez Peters has established herself as one of Aruba’s best-known artists, making her mark with her striking use of color, acrylic paint, and the technique of applying self-made screen prints on canvas. In early 2016, she embarked upon a new project—her Caribbean Art Scarves—combining her signature neo-pop style with her art background and master’s degree in textile design. Elisa’s scarves are directly influenced by the shapes, colors, and patterns that catch her eye, and even by a mood she feels. The scarves are 100% silk, and she comes out with new limited-edition collections on a regular basis. https://www.artscarfshop.com/
Aruba-Inspired Graphic Tees
Here in Aruba, a recent wave of graphic and iconic tees has emerged. These tees have become signature items for local retailers, offering T-shirt collectors a bit of local Aruban culture to add to their wardrobes.
One of Aruba’s most oft-proclaimed Papiamento words is “dushi” (translated literally as “sweet”), and is used to refer to someone as a sweetheart or indicate that something is delicious, great, or wonderful. In a nutshell, “dushi” is meant to put a positive emphasis on something or someone, and the word is found on many iconic Aruban tees.
Bula Surf Shop’s popular slogan —“Dushi Yiu!”— launched a new era of souvenir tees on the island. The Papiamento expression (literally translated as “sweet child”) is a slang term in the local surfing community and refers to something as awesome, gnarly, or “sweet,” summing up Bula’s love of surfing and having fun. Surf shop owners Yair and David created the tees in 2003 shortly after the shop first opened. The shirts were originally made for the shop owners’ friends in the Aruban surfing community. In a year’s time, the iconic tees (and hats and bumper stickers) had taken off outside of the surf community, and tourists began coming into the shop to seek out the merchandise, wanting to take home something authentically Aruban. Even now, after more than 15 years, Dushi Yiu gear is still popular among both locals and tourists. Website: www.bulasurfshop.com.
De Palm Tours also started a line of “dushi” shirts in its Coconuts retail shops in early 2013. Retail operations manager Liesje Seraus conceived the line of “Biba Dushi” (meaning “live sweetly”) merchandise while traveling with friends to compete in an international beach tennis tournament. “We were proud to represent Aruba, and we also wanted to teach our international beach tennis friends some Papiamento phrases,” she explains. Coconuts introduced T-shirts first, followed by hats, flip-flops, and even hoodies. The line has a great international following—especially in the Brazilian market. Website: www.depalmisland.com/gift-shop.
Retail maven Jodi Tobman of The Salamander Group introduced the “Biba Lekker” line of merchandise in her T.H. Palm & Company, The Lazy Lizard, and The Juggling Fish stores in late 2011. “I always loved the expression ‘biba lekker’ (life is good) because it describes so many different elements in our daily lives that are positive,” Jodi shares. A second line of shirts has been launched, “100% Dushi,” and is also very popular. Website: www.shopping-aruba.com.