Planting Roots “In His Garden”– Designer Alina Khoury launches AIKA Studio at home in the DR

Entrepreneurship Fashion & Style

Alina Khoury is an island girl at heart – born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, she is happiest in the sun and near water. Having grown up in a large and close-knit family, she remembers fondly visiting her Grandparents’ home in Barahona, where she and her cousins would play in the orchard and flower garden her grandfather lovingly tended. Running through the orchard, they could pick mangoes, cherries, and loquats, or admire the red roses her grandfather planted for her grandmother. Spending the days playing and swimming with her cousins and siblings, they developed a very close emotional attachment with the house and with each other.

Meanwhile, Alina also was increasingly drawn to the world of fashion. Cutting up and re-creating her Barbie’s outfits turned to sketching clothes, and at age 16 Khoury attended a summer program in Fashion Design at Instituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy, solidifying her aspirations. After graduating high school, Khoury followed her passion for design and moved to New York City to earn her BFA in Fashion Design, specializing in Swimwear and Print Design.

What followed was a rewarding 9 years living in Queens – completing her studies, interning at Mandy Coon, Michael Kors, Mara Hoffman and then working 5 years in the industry, first as an Assistant Designer and then Associate Designer at By Design LLC, and later as the US Regional Manager of the brand Honey Punch at Topshop. Although Khoury found her work gratifying, she knew her dream was still to start her own brand, and she missed her family and home. Finally, in 2019, she decided the timing was right, and moved home to the DR to launch her brand and embrace the support system of her family.

AIKA Studio was born – “AIKA” standing for the founder’s initials: Alina Ines Khoury Aguiar. Khoury’s first collection, launched Summer of 2020, is the perfect celebration of everything she loves about her home. The swimwear line was named “In His Garden” in homage to her late grandfather and the sunny afternoons spent outside of his home, and each of the floral-motif prints Khoury created she named after her cousins.

The suits themselves are expertly designed to flatter and for comfort, with a large range of cuts and styles, and matching hair accessories. The suits and accessories are produced locally by a small team in the DR.

Khoury wants women to feel good in AIKA, saying; “I believe what you wear can affect your mood, and your self-confidence even… so I design prints that make me happy, and hopefully make other women happy.” Inspired by the beautiful colors and shapes of the flowers “In His Garden,” the collection expresses “fun, youth, and freedom,” while the brand itself is bright, colorful, feminine, and flirty.

With inspiration coming from so close to home, and the expertise to back it up, it’s not surprising that Khoury’s collection is filled with stunning pieces. Unique enough to make a statement yet classic enough to wear again and again (plus many of the styles are reversible for even more wearability!), we’re sure AIKA pieces will become a staple of any wardrobe.

Follow them on Instagram @AikaStudio_DR and Direct Message to shop the collection.