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House of Versatile Styles

by Kenyatta D. Pious
Bukola Are, Fashion Designer/Creative Director House of Versatile Styles (HVS) gives us an inside look into her nascent brand, which features custom wearable ensembles and skews the gal who wants to achieve modern glam at a reasonable price point. But Are is also careful to target just about any gal, from the urban hipster to the boardroom sophisticate - - and yet the collection doesn't feel clumsy or cluttered, but manages a cohesiveness that is rare for such a wide ranging collection.

In addition, Are's architectural collection includes charming accessories such as the Sunshine Neck Piece, which readers can win for FREE by entering the contest below. The Sunshine Neck Piece is made out of the finest Ankara Fabric from West Africa and will aid any fashionista in achieving a unique look - - it retails for $60. Here is what Are had to say about her brand:

Tell us a little bit about the genesis of your company.
House of Versatile Style was created to give people a place where they could come and define their own style. If you look at our collections you will notice that there is a little bit of everything, you will find contemporary, couture, accessories, urban/high street and much more. I call it a Lifestyle.

Who is your ideal customer and why?
An ideal HVS Customer is Fun, Confident and Daring.

What celebrity would you say exemplifies your style and why?
Beyonce. I love the effortlessness of her style. You notice her confidence in every look she wears, I love that.

What was the inspiration for your newest collection?
I would have to say my inspiration comes from my environment. I do a lot of traveling, so I get exposed to different cultures, environments and people. I am a big fan of colors so you will always see that in my work. My design process was an ongoing process - - I started designing the collection October of 2009 and showcased May this year at the Seattle Fashion Week.

Give us three words that best describe the brand.
Fun, Versatile and Eclectic

How do you remain competitive in this market?
I stay competitive by taking advantage of social media. I keep an open line of communication with my customers through networks like twitter and Facebook. I Sometimes offer giveaways and contests on there. [I also team] up with magazines, blogs or even fashion stylist. It is very important that HVS is constantly publicized.

What do you never leave your house without?
Wow! Right now I am going nowhere without my sunglasses, scarf and my Blackberry.

What advice did you get that has resonated as being prophetic?
A very good friend of mine told me to never take anything personal in this business, especially with press. At the time we were not getting any reviews or features as we expected. It was back to the drawing boarding and things have taken a change.

Say a little bit about how you approach designing.
I keep it very fun, that sometimes can be difficult because I am involved in every aspect of the brand. I try to educate myself more everyday about the business side of fashion. That's very important to know.

What's next for HVS?
I look forward to welcoming new retailers for 2011.

Where can the collection be bought and what at what price points?
Pieces from the collection run between $75 -$400. HVS is available in select boutiques and online.

A stock list can be found on

Win a FREE neck piece from HVS!
Click here