Q & A: Why Aleahya Lewis Left Her 9-5 to Pursue Her Dreams in the Fashion Industry
With New York Fashion Week wrapping up; brands like Savage X Fenty, Fashion Nova, and Pretty Little Thing who just collaborated with “Icy Girl” Saweetie are becoming the talk of the fast fashion industry. These online businesses are serving up looks for all body types at affordable prices. The fashion world is changing rapidly and giving a chance for new creative’s to step on the scene.
This brings me to business owner, Aleahya Lewis. She’s the creative director of the luxury online boutique Alluxe Couture. Launching her online store 3 years ago, she is becoming a household name. Aleahya has been featured in Fashion Bomb Daily, XXL Magazine and Philadelphia Daily News just to name a few. Ebony Kiara got to speak with Aleahya and explore her black girl magic.
Ebony: How did you get your start working in the fashion industry?
Aleahya: I got my start working in the fashion industry at a very young age as a model. But I found myself falling in love with the behind the scenes portion than the actual aspect of being on the runway. I fell in love with the fashion, the fabrics, the styling and even just the hustle and bustle of the production. I later went on to become a personal stylist at Nordstrom where my love for fashion grew even more. Working everyday with all the top designer brands and clothing was nothing but inspiration and kept my mind going.
Ebony: What made you want to open up an online boutique?
Aleahya: After four years of working at Nordstrom I got bored, uninspired and unmotivated. I knew I needed to be doing more. Yes I was making ok money but that small percentage that I was receiving was nothing compared to the large amount that I was making for them. And besides the money, the impact! I was continuing someone else’s legacy instead of building my own. And that’s where the idea of A.L Luxe Couture was born. I knew exactly what I wanted to do but didn’t really know where to start. I was afraid of the unknown, but my fear of remaining complacent outweighed my fear of starting over so I took a leap of faith and it was the best decision I’ve ever made!
Ebony: What are some of the most important things you discovered while opening up a business?
Aleahya: Some of the most important things I discovered while starting a business was My strength, my faith and CONSISTENCY! Starting a business is no joke! It’s literally a roller coaster ride full of ups and downs, sleepless nights, laughs and tears. But I knew this was my calling so I stayed consistent. Even when I wasn’t getting any sales or any engagement on my social media I continued to post, continued drop new items and continued to pray and talk to God daily until finally something stuck, and there was no looking back from there.
Ebony: What were you like as a young girl growing up in Philadelphia?
Aleahya: As a young girl growing up in Philadelphia, I was always into fashion and I was always a hustler. Before I was old enough to work I created my own hustles. I come from a middle class suburban family where I never really wanted or needed for much but even at a young age I always felt the need to make my own money. My dad owned an auto shop where I started my first business. I would go to the shop after school, on weekends and summers and wash cars, sell waters, water ice, pretzels and whatever else I could get my hands on lol. When I got a little older and entered my teenage years is when I really got into fashion and modeling. I would model in any and every show I could find. From the high school fashion shows, hair shows to modeling for all of the up and coming Philly designers. I did this until I signed my first agency and started booking paid gigs.
Ebony: Which designers if any are you inspired by? Or overall who are some inspirations to you?
Aleahya: My favorite designer right now and who I would say inspires me the most is Mugler. Every collection is daring and edgy yet still very sexy and high end. Which is what I go for when designing and buying for A.L Luxe Couture. Another huge inspiration for me is Conna Walker owner of House of CB. She started her business at the young age of 17 and turned it into a multi million dollar company before the age of 30! Major goal of mine!
Ebony: When it comes to clothing, what are some of the top things you like to provide your customers? For example: quality, pricing, and/or exclusivity etc.
Aleahya: When it comes to clothing I like to provide a vibe for my customers. I want my customers to feel like they’re buying the latest looks that just walked off the runway without having to pay those high runway collection prices.
Ebony: Which celebs and influencers so far have been seen rocking some of your items?
Aleahya: With my brand growing more and more everyday I’m trying to turn it into a household name. I’ve had several celebrities and influencers rocking my pieces such as Cardi B, Kash Doll, Miss Nicki Baby from Love and hip hop, Arianna fletcher and many more. And this is just the beginning. My goals for the near future is to expand my brand and get it on big name influencers such as Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian.
Ebony: With so many women starting clothing lines, or opening boutiques; what sets you apart from the rest?
Aleahya: I like to provide high fashion, great quality, exclusive pieces for my customers at affordable prices that you can’t find at every other boutique. I think that’s what sets me apart from the hundreds of other boutiques and clothing lines that’s popping up more and more everyday. I try to be original! I put me into it. My style, my personality my passion and that’s what makes the difference.
Ebony: With NYFW ending, do you feel that the overall experience is evolving? From the runway, to the looks?
Aleahya: I definitely think the NYFW experience and the fashion industry in general is evolving. I feel like it’s more centered around the culture now. Years ago it was harder for US black designers, artists, models and entrepreneurs to get a foot in the door or even invites to these events whereas now Black designers like Virgil is designing for Louis Vuitton, Rihana’s breaking down the doors of the fashion industry to artists like Nicki Minaj opening and closing the biggest shows. I feel like the shows are becoming more extravagant with the themes and designers are being more daring.
Lastly, I always like to ask young entrepreneurs this question because so many black women and men own or want to start their own business.
Ebony: What advice would you give young women who want to start their own business but maybe don’t know where or how to start?
Aleahya: My advice I would give a young woman wanting to start a business is just go for it! Start wherever you are with whatever you have and build from there. It’s never going to be “the right time” you have to make it your time. And don’t give up! You have to have a plan A,B, C and D on how to make your dream work and see them all through until something clicks. Starting a business isn’t easy and it’s not going to be an overnight success. You have to actually put the work in and stay consistent. Hard work and consistency beats out lazy talent every time!
I really enjoyed interviewing with you guys thank you so much for having me and allowing me to speak to you guys about my passion.
Xoxo, Aleahya Lewis