ShaVi Lewis has been taking risks in the fashion industry since 2002 when he founded his luxury women’s wear brand specializing in custom cocktail & evening wear.
Brought up in a home surrounded by creatives ShaVi began to develop his unique flair and attention to dramatic details as a child.
ShaVi’s luxury women’s wear designs have been graced the Emmy’s red carpets and on the second season of “Pose” on client Diva Davanna Booker. His pieces have also been seen on celebrities Leah Janae and Cynthia Bailey, and at the Bermuda Fashion Festival.
Most recently, however, you may recognize ShaVi from the 18th season of Bravos Project Runway.
Being raised in a home of plus size family members ShaVi knows the struggles faced by the everyday curvy fashionista and works to create luxury fashion for everybody.
The Curvy Fashionista was able to get the scoop from ShaVi about Project Runway, his design process, and beyond!
Our Style Q &A with Designer & Project Runway Contestant, Shavi Lewis
Q: In what ways has your design process changed and also stayed the same since your initial launch in 2002?
A:Since the launch of my brand in 2002 I would say my process has evolved in a few ways, I now know how to install a zipper correctly and I pay a lot more attention to detail.
My very first collection was all stretch because my zipper game was wonky.
I still find myself just throwing fabric on the form and basing my design on how it drapes. But now I know how to create a pattern based on the drape that the fabric shows me on the form- if that makes any sense.”
Q: Who would be your dream client or celebrity?
A: “Mariah Carey would be my DREAM CLIENT living. BUT, if I could pick anyone dead or alive it would be Josephine Baker.
Both of these women exude the definition of Glamour in everything they do, and that’s how I want my brand to make women feel.
Glamour isn’t for a specific occasion but should be celebrated every day in every way.
Glamour isn’t for a specific occasion but should be celebrated every day in every way. ShaVi Lewis
Q: What has been your favorite challenge on Project Runway?
A: I would have to say my FAVORITE challenge this season has been the Cyndi Lauper Challenge (episode 5).
I’ve always been a little different than all the other kids around, growing up on 70’s and 80’s rock as a child influenced me in a different way than most in my area.
So with this challenge, I got to fully be myself and not hold back. Because that’s what being “PUNK” is- being free and creating without limitations.
Q: What are some changes that you would like to see happen in the plus-size fashion industry?
A: Some changes I would like to see in the Plus Sized Fashion Industry would be a commitment to quality fabrication in garments for the mass market.
Coming from a family of Plus Sized Women, I hear and see the struggles that they have when finding luxury garments for any occasion.
9 times out of 10, I wind up making them something because they can’t find what they want.
Also the whole label of Plus Sized as a whole other category, bodies are bodies and it’s all about proportion. The designer offerings shouldn’t change just because of size.
Coming from a family of Plus Sized Women, I hear and see the struggles that they have when finding luxury garments
Q: What did you learn about yourself when being challenged while being on Project Runway?
A: Being challenged on Project Runway taught me to trust my instinct and follow thru with my first Idea.
I’m quite a perfectionist, and a lot of times I second guess myself and wind up back at my first idea after doing a mental marathon of opinions.
As Brandon says “You gotta lean all the way into who you are.”
“Thus we are losing the history and the knowledge of these skill sets and as an affect losing more jobs that could help smaller brands get more established.” ShaVi Lewis
Q: Can you share more about the importance of bringing back the life of the garment district of NYC?
A:The importance of bringing back the life of the garment district is the history of NYC. Most of these buildings were full of craftsmen that perfected their line of work, to produce some iconic pieces that we still reference today.
Because of outsourcing, the Garment District has seen the closing of many smaller garments and textile manufacturers.
These are what smaller brands rely on to produce. We don’t have the budget to outsource to another country to get started in the business.
Thus we are losing the history and the knowledge of these skill sets and as an affect losing more jobs that could help smaller brands get more established.
“I’m gonna dress the whole damn family!
Q: Where do you see your designs going in the next 5 years? 10 years?
A: In the next 5 years, I see my designs as a multi-tiered brand with a Full Luxury Collection offering garments and pieces for my clients for both day and night with an accessories line to follow.
In 10 years ShaVi Lewis will be a full lifestyle brand with multiple extensions in the Home, Accessory, Fragrance Industry, Menswear, Children’s Wear (Lol) I’m gonna dress the whole damn family!
You can learn more at ShaviLewis.com
Follow ShaVi on Instagram: instagram.com/shavilewis/