By Maria Jose Subiria
Shoppers in search of unique clothing, jewelry and accessories might find more than they expected inside a small Riverdale boutique.
Rose Couture, located at 1296 Ga. Highway 138, suite 106, has been operating for about two months and has attracted between 1,500 and 2,000 clients, according to Rose Hawkins, the boutique's owner. The shop's operating hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m., to 8 p.m., and Sunday through Tuesday by appointment only.
Hawkins said the store is open during the first part of the week by appointment only because she frequently travels on buying trips to other cities in the U.S. and abroad.
Local designers from Clayton County and other parts of metro Atlanta also have pieces for sale at Rose Couture, she added.
"I've experienced Buckhead, having a store there, but I feel the south side needs something contemporary, something fresh," Hawkins said of her decision to open her boutique in Riverdale.
Hawkins said her shop carries an array of outerwear, dresses, tops, separates, bottoms, slacks and skirts. The clothes are targeted toward women of all sizes.
According to Hawkins, who said she has been in the fashion industry for about 25 years, the clothing in her boutique features artistic details that distinguish one piece from another, and the accessories contain eye-catching embellishments.
Leather belts, as well as clothing made of real animal fur, are also available, she said.
Hawkins said the cost of the items in her store range from $25 to $249.
"The style is very innovative, edgy, high-fashion couture ... but at the same time it is an investment piece," she said.
Lily Taylor, a friend of Hawkins' who came into the store recently, said that while she liked that the boutique offers an array of designer clothing, she would've liked to see more plus-size clothes in stock. Hawkins said 25 percent of her inventory is plus-size clothing, and that she's noticed a high demand for those sizes. She said she is considering increasing plus-size clothing to 30 percent of her inventory.
"It's nice and unique," Taylor said of the shop. "Sure, I'll come back again."
Hawkins said when choosing clothes from designers, their style and vision must meet her taste in fashion.
"When I see something, I have to close my eyes and put together a look," she explained.
Hawkins said a number of celebrity clients in the area have either visited her shop or contacted her for advice.
She said she not only runs the business, but she also assists her clients in coordinating outfits to accomplish the look they want to achieve.
"If a celebrity would come in, no one would know, because everyone is treated like a celebrity," said Hawkins.
Hawkins said that before Rose Couture opened, her shop space was a dance studio. She hired an interior designer to transform it into a boutique.
"I [wanted] to make it flowable and moveable," she said.
Hawkins said she was born and raised in Brooklyn, and has had a passion for fashion since childhood.
"When I was 5 or 6 years old, my mom used to take me to Bloomingdale's in New York, and I would lay out clothes and tell my mom, 'I am going to have my own store,'" Hawkins recalled recently.
She said she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and graduated with a degree in fashion merchandising in 1982.
Hawkins said that after graduating, she moved to Germany in 1983.
Hawkins returned to the states and eventually moved to South Carolina, where she owned a clothing store and worked as a fashion consultant for a touring hair show, she said.
"I styled the whole entire show and created a look for fashion," said Hawkins.
She said she first visited Atlanta during a production of the hair show in 1990.
Hawkins said she opened a fashion boutique called Vain on Old National Highway, in College Park, in 1997. She opened a second boutique, in 2000, on Peachtree Road in the Buckhead community.
She said she closed the Buckhead boutique in 2003, and a year later, she closed the College Park location due to a decline in the business environment in the area.
Hawkins said she acquired the location for Rose Couture in September 2009, and opened the shop on Nov. 13.
"It [business] is getting better, because the word is getting around," she said.
The store can be reached at (770) 909-3691.