Style Conscious

As Fashion Week Cleveland arrives this month, we check in with local designer Lotty Lewis.

When it comes to Cleveland's distinctions, fashion isn't exactly on the short list. But the organizers behind Fashion Week Cleveland have a slate of reasons not to count it out. The ninth annual event kicks off May 3, and Cleveland-based fashion designer Lotty Lewis' collection is one of 10 that'll be showcased at the closing-night runway show May 11.

Q. What inspires your designs?

A. I'm inspired by nature, and different cultures and ethnicities. ... I try to give the feel of the different types of natural beauty that are out there and inspire women to feel that they can wear something and be comfortable at the same time.

Q. What do you like most about fashion?

A. As a designer, I like the fact that I can help others see themselves as a whole different being. ... Some people come to me and they don't know who they are. The clothes make them feel so much more confident. The way I construct clothes gives them that feeling.They can look beautiful and not want to look like a model, but like themselves.

Q. What's your take on our fashion scene?

A. It's growing. ... [Now] you can click a button and figure out what people in South Africa are wearing or what's new in Japan. When I was in New York six years ago, I could see how it took Cleveland a longer time to get hip to trends, but nowadays everybody is on top of it.

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