Interviews

Haven Street Style Studio

As I’ve said so many times before in interviews and even in my blog posts, I am a designer, but not a stylist. I always enlist the services of a stylist for any show or presentation I may be doing for ENAMOUR Design House. I admire stylists for the vision and versatility they see when faced with a wide range of clothing and accessories. They turn those items into looks and styles that speak to not only the person wearing the clothing, but the onlookers and passerby. Clothing is utilitarian, but style is your voice without speaking, it solidifies your feelings and conveys your confidence. Melissa Souza of Haven Street Style Studio helps her clients achieve this with her personal styling services. I was looking forward to interviewing Melissa to see what inspires her and how she helps others feel their best.

 Melissa, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

I’m a southern California based fashion stylist and owner/founder of Haven Street Style Studio, a creative agency dedicated to providing exceptional styling services. I specialize in curating great style for print as well as every day life, and dabble in some celebrity styling. I consider myself a high-end-low-end mixologist, believing you can have high style whatever your budget. Many of my clients have called me a mix-and-match master! I think mostly because I like to start in their closets with their existing wardrobe and create fresh looks from a new perspective, allowing their wardrobe, and their investment, to stretch.

What was your first experience in fashion that made you pursue becoming a professional stylist?

I’ve really been involved in fashion in some form or another for a very long time. Not too many know that I’m an avid horse lover and rider, although these days it’s become tougher to get away on horseback! I think my fashion ‘career’ began way back when I was showing Western Pleasure and picking out color coordinating rider outfits and horse blankets!

Truly, I’ve always liked helping people pick out clothes {whatever the occasion} and dressing them to feel confident. Let’s be honest, confidence is your best accessory and when you look and feel good, you radiate in every aspect of life.

My very first ‘real’ client when I started Haven Street Style Studio was introduced to me via a friend and is someone I still style, and actually a guy! He was looking for a promotion within his company and wanted a sleeker, professional appearance. After we cleaned him up, he went for his interview and was immediately promoted. Now he’s successfully climbing his corporate ladder. The right clothes can be life changing!

What has been your favorite trend and or fashion movement and why?

Ah, this is a hard one because trends are movements of the moment, so I’m always moving right along with them, though classic is always in style, so I definitely try and incorporate something classic in every one of my looks!

I’m personally such an eclectic dresser, and my mood definitely steers me in fashion. One day I might wear something considered ‘rocker chic’ and the next it may be more ‘boho’ style. I guess if I had to choose a fashion trend of the moment, I’d say the whole off-the-shoulder/cold-shoulder pieces popular at the moment has it in the bag! I love being a bit edgy in my style, but as a mom, I also love being comfortable. These off-the-shoulder tops are so versatile. They strike the perfect balance between edgy, chic mom-on-the-go, and can lend to a classic vibe depending on the styling!

If we’re talking fashion movement, I’m loving the ethical, or eco-friendly movement such as what you’re doing with your fashion business. I’m excited that fashion is taking a stand. I’ll be honest that I do like adding in luxury pieces to my personal wardrobe and I do own a few leathers, but I love my faux pieces; some even more than the real thing. I’m excited more designers and fashionistas are turning toward faux pieces and showing the world that faux can be just as luxurious; it’s all in the styling! I do believe these types of pieces elevate a look, and opting for well-constructed, amazing faux designs gives the best of both worlds. Not to mention a fantastic price point.

And, what has been your least favorite trend or fashion movement and why?

Alright, I know this is coming back around with the whole 90s style being trendy, but the tees under your spaghetti straps is not a personal favorite. I’ll admit I’ve said that about several trends {like skinny jeans before it really even became a thing} and then I try it and end up loving it! So I cautiously say that about this particular trend! I can remember this as a kid and it’s purpose was more for not looking too risqué. Right now, with the whole bare shoulder trend, I’m just not really understanding this one. I don’t know, give me time maybe I’ll change my mind on this!

 

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Can you tell us some of the things you are currently working on?

My personal style business is where I started and I segued into working in print. Then last year I began dabbling in celebrity styling. This year has been all about getting back to my roots as a personal stylist, so I have a ton of new clients and former clients that are looking to update wardrobes and work together seasonally. It seems as though this year is huge for everyone whether it be reunions, weddings, graduations, or setting new business goals. All of these being important events for looking your best. I also have some other long term projects in the works, so you’ll just have to stay tuned!

What do you think the most important thing women should know or try to convey with their style or choice of clothing/fashion?

I think it’s all about what’s on the inside and letting your confidence shine. Clothing and fashion are simply the outer layer to being comfortable in your own skin. When we don’t have to worry about how we look, we are more comfortable and confident, and confidence is your best accessory, period.

What’s been one of your favorite projects to work on?

Ah, June, you’re asking all the tough questions! It’s so hard for me to pick just one. On the personal styling side, I love helping amazing men and woman find their confidence. I’ve had clients say to me during a fitting that a particular outfit is so them, but not something they’d pick for themselves. Especially dressing a new mom who maybe hasn’t met her postpartum weight loss goal, but showing her she can love her body the way it is and focus on enjoying her new role in life with the right kinds of clothing, or fitting a male client on his journey to finding love again after a difficult breakup. Seeing their face light up at how they look and ultimately feel is such a rewarding aspect of my job.

When I get to work with photographers and stretch my creative brain, that’s also rewarding. I love stepping outside of the box and really getting to create artistic fashion. Maybe that’s why I can’t settle into one genre of the styling game!

What’s next for you and the Haven Street Style Studio?

Life has thrown me in different directions, so I try not to plan too much. Just as I start to focus on one aspect of my styling business, an unexpected project takes me by surprise. I’m sure there are great things in store for me, but I don’t exactly know what that is yet, and I’m perfectly okay with taking it one style job at a time!

I’m a big fan of Melissa’s style, and I can’t wait for her to share it with you on our Instagram! Melissa will be taking over our Instagram feed Wednesday, October 19th. She’ll be giving us all the behind the scenes peeks and live streams of her day to day as a stylist.

To know more about Melissa, her services, style and transformations visit her website or be sure to follow her on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter.

 

 

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