Ricardo Aldama describes his business as a mad house on the day after the Oscars.
The Cuban-Italian owns Rex Fabrics, a luxury fabric store in Coral Gables characterized by its floral smell and over-the-top decor –which includes a full red carpet.
A uniformed man is always standing outside, greeting visitors and opening the door to a hodgepodge of folded, patterned, embedded, beaded and printed fabrics available for purchase. Some are even imported from France and Italy, made exclusively for the company.
“Having the focus on selling the very best was something that was not done by a lot of people, whether it is because of prices or because our market is not that large in South Florida. We managed ourselves, and today we sell to all over the country and not only in the U.S., but also across the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East,” said Aldama, who started the family-owned business along with his mother on Eight Street, 35 years ago.
Today, Aldama has more than 45 employees, who work to deliver every client with an exclusive experience. Dressmakers, designers, tailors and vendors, work to attend and meet the demands of every person that walks through the door.
During award season, designers and clients flock to Rex, to find the fabrics and colors to make a similar dress than the one they saw on the red carpet the evening before.
Aldama believes that his team is capable of creating even better versions of the dresses that the clients initially imagined.
“You can come to Rex with an idea, but once you walk in, your ideas change immediately. They need the help of designers, and sometimes we not only want to make a dress that stands out, but we want to make a suit that when the person walks with that suit, it’s beyond expectations,” said Aldama. “When they come here the expectations are immense and the variety is too big. We can replicate and we can make a dress better or at the same level than that ‘x’ brand.”
Rex not only focuses on gowns and women’s wear, but also men’s shirts and suits.
On Thursday, Bobby McCain visited Rex Fabrics for an event, where he checked out the fabrics and bought some pants.
“I appreciate them allowing me to come and look at jeans and look at all the materials they have,” said McCain, who plays football for the Miami Dolphins. “I will be back. That’s for sure.”
Like McCain, other celebrities and fashion designers visit Rex Fabrics regularly for ideas, material and inspiration for their next gown or suit creation.