With the ambition to capture all the intricate and unique components in every garment that is made, ShaVi has taken his love of fashion to new and unclaimed heights. Showing that you should never be afraid to move out on your passion or withhold your creativity for any reason or anyone.
Knowing that you are an amazing fashion designer, is there anything additional that you can share with us about who ShaVi is?
I’m not quite sure, I’m more of an introvert and extrovert. The show brought me out of my shell a lot, I’m normally very comfortable behind the scenes but being in this environment allowed me to show the world a side very few get to know. I guess I’m a bit guarded?
Did you ever desire to venture into any other career field?
YES! As a child, before I figured out you could make a living making clothes, I had aspirations of joining the circus as a performance clown. My aunt got me into the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade one year and I got to be a clown in one of the groups’ BEST TIME OF MY LIFE. I even researched Clown Colleges, yes its a real thing, to attend after high school. Either a clown or a spy like James Bond because they always had the best wardrobe, cars, and vacations.
Regarding your designs, where do you gather your inspiration?
I gather my inspiration simply from women and locations! I walk down the street every day and imagine where these women passing me by are going and what they should wear. I also will see a great location or building and design a garment that fits in that space to complete the picture. It’s all very Editorial because it’s more than just a dress, it’s a feeling, a mood, a vibe …an entire MOMENT.
You’ve had the opportunity to work with several well-known individuals, can you tell us how it felt to have or see your first garment on a celebrity and heavily publicized?
The first time seeing my work on Cynthia Bailey who I have LOVED since her early modeling years was so surreal. Like I know I made the dress and boom there she is wearing it in a magazine. I was so motivated to create more so I can contribute more beauty to a rather ugly world at times.
Is that what pushed you to want to join the Project Runway show?
What pushed me to join Project Runway was the platform and the opportunity for more than just my narrow audience to see my work and what I can contribute to the fashion community. Growing up in New Jersey we don’t get many mainstream fashion editors to come to our shows or events, plus I felt like there’s a stigma on New Jersey style based on examples like Jersey Shore and other Stereotypes and I wanted to show the WORLD that YES NEW JERSEY HAS CLASS, SOPHISTICATION, STYLE, AND TALENT! I am one of NAY talented Designers from this overlooked State.
How did it feel to find out that you were accepted on the show?
When I found out I was accepted onto the show I hung up, I had just awakened from a nap and thought it was an extension of my dream. So I guess it was my DREAMS coming true. I was so happy and excited to get in the workroom and crank out some looks.
Looking back, is there anything that you would have changed while on the show?
Looking back, the only thing I would have done differently was taken more risks. I was holding back in fear of being eliminated for doing too much for the criteria of the challenge. I’m used to making dramatic pieces but worried that my critiques from the judges would be that I took things too far. Looking back at some of the other looks coming down the runway, I think I could have taken more risks and gone full throttle from the second I stepped on set.
What did you learn, if anything, while you were on the show?
While being on the show, I learned its okay to be completely 100% myself and to channel that energy into every piece I create. As Brandon says, “You have to lean fully into who you are with your work.”
Can you tell us what you have coming up next?
What’s coming up next for me is the full launch of my brand. Before the show, my brand had been on hiatus after switching creative directions. I’m working on something special in the city of Newark, possibly a Debut Collection in September, with a few surprises along the way.
How can people continue to follow and get in touch with you and your work?
People can follow and get in touch with me and my brand on my Website www.shavilewis.com where they can sign up for my email list to keep updated with everything ShaVi related. I’m also on Facebook and Instagram.
All images courtesy of Bravo and ShaVi