About me.

Hi there, I'm Aris :: 

I'm the creator and designer of "House Of Aris", a brand born out of my need for connection and deep love for fashion. I was born in the Dominican Republic, into what I call a stereotypical dysfunctional Afro Latino family. My parents were both absent, but the music was always playing and the sun never stopped shining. For as long as I can remember I used fashion to escape my reality, styling and designing fabulous outfits for my misshapen Barbies. My father was a tailor and my fondest childhood memories are of us playing with offcuts at his atelier. He was a humble man who effortlessly conjured smiles from his customers whenever they would pick up their freshly made, tailored suits. Looking back, I believe it's that memory that inspired me into wanting to dress people for a living. He passed away a few years ago, doing what he loved, sitting behind his sewing machine.

At the age of 6, I became violently ill as a result of malnutrition and tuberculosis, so my mother who had been living abroad picked me up and I moved to Belgium with my two older brothers. Ever the extroverted introvert, I would spend most of my teenage years indulging in a sinful mix of drugs, parties and second hand clothing whilst exploring the vibrant underground culture of Antwerp. I didn't know it then, but growing up in Europe would forever shape my sense of individuality and ignite my desire for self expression. Initially I was studying to become an architect, but after being hired by my favorite teacher to work at her art gallery 'De Zwarte Panter' on weekends, I fell in love with fashion like never before. Something about seeing people all dressed up in beautiful fabrics, enjoying their fabulous self really excites me. At 16 I somehow ended up on a reality tv show, which made me paranoid so I eventually dropped out and started working as a wardrobe stylist and doing small modeling gigs on the side. It wasn't glamorous nor did I make much money, but it made me happy so I stuck with it. During that time I also started working at a high end second hand store called Pardaff, where I got to learn what high fashion really was. Obsessed with fashion I would spend every little bit of money I made buying designer pieces at work. I like to think I was merely making an investment and studying fashion while on the job. Then one day, I decided to visit my mother and stepfather who by now were living in China. It took me awhile before I made up my mind, but eventually I decided to permanently move to China and take a chance at experiencing something new. Needless to say, it ended up being a life-changing decision that would forever alter the course of my life. 

What is “House Of Aris” :: 

 Very long story short, It's been about 8 years since I left Belgium and I've been traveling and living in different countries ever since. I've traveled to many amazing countries like Japan, Singapore, South-Korea and have since lived in Vietnam, Thailand and now back in Vietnam. It took me a long while to figure out what my life's purpose was due to my path being littered with unresolved trauma and depression. But once I settled down with my now fiance and bestie Kane, everything fell into place. House Of Aris is basically an ode to all the ups and downs that have shaped me throughout these years. A thank you to the colorful people I've been lucky enough to meet, who inspired me in their own unique ways. It's my way of giving back to the world all that it has given me by being authentically myself. For many years I believed that I was inherently flawed because I never fitted in. I was never religious, never black enough, never white enough and never felt "good" enough. I was a stranger in my own family and had a hard time expressing myself in a healthy way. I was a zombie consuming myself from within and therefore wasn't able to ever reach my full potential. And even though I'm a hopeless dreamer, I never dreamed that my dreams could ever come true. I tried and failed many times before finding my real purpose, but once I did, I realized that there is a place for me in fashion and that I don't need to fit in in order to feel good about myself. 

So in 2017 ‘House Of Aris’ was born to bring out every dreamer’s unapologetic and colorful inner self. I first started by creating harnesses and single pieces and in 2018 I started selling them on Etsy. What started with just little ol' me in our tiny Vietnamese studio apartment has now grown into an actual business that employs incredibly talented tailors who I consider family. I started with nothing but a dream and in two years I've been able to grow my shop to what it is today. All because I firmly believe in high quality fashion made with love from start to finish. To keep our standards high, I only work with independent tailors who decide how much they get paid and are therefore not only able to enjoy their work, but also able to have a fair pay in an industry that has always exploited small tailors and creators. My love for fashion has shaped my life and I'm grateful that I now get to share that love with other people around the world. Our customers are interesting, eclectic people from different walks of life who like myself have a love for art and expressing themselves creatively. They remind me that that being different is a good thing. In the past two years they've not only helped me find my purpose, they've inspired me to grow as a person and to believe in myself. It is that energy that motivates me to keep evolving as a designer. House Of Aris is essentially my home and I hope you feel welcome here.


Wanna know more about me?

Read my interviews by ASBO Magazine & Tripper Mag :

https://www.asbomagazine.com/artsculturelifestyle/2018/9/10/aris-van-calster

www.trippermag.com/destinations/2017/4/3/people-weve-met-aris