Lavie by CK launches its RTW (ready-to-wear) line this weekend – the 18th of August!
We sat down with designer Claude Kameni, originally from Cameroon, now living and thriving in the United States as a designer.
The brand stands out for its bold embrace of prints, its viral prom dresses and show-stopping red carpet gowns.
We speak to her about her aesthetic, her journey and what’s ahead. Enjoy!
AsoEbiBella: We know and love @laviebyck but we’d love to know more about the designer behind it. Nice to meet you, Claude. How did this journey begin?
Claude Kameni of Lavie by CK: The journey began when I immigrated from the French speaking side of Cameroon in West Africa to the USA when I was 8 years old. I used to always draw and sketch dresses and fashion designs. Sometimes I would just cut up fabric and glue it together. When I got to high school as a sophomore I took my first sewing class and I fell in love with it. No one in that class paid as much attention as I did. LOL!
After taking that class there was an international night event at the school called “Global Explosion.” That’s when I asked my fashion teacher if I could create my first collection for the event. I went home that same night and I thought to myself if I’m going to be a designer I have to come up with a brand name. So I then thought to myself if fashion is my life then why don’t I call it La vie which means Life in French. I then added “by CK” for my initials Claude Kameni.
The next day my aunt took me to Costco where I purchased my very first sewing machine. I was cheesing so hard walking out of that Costco. I was able to successfully create my very first collection with that machine.
AsoEbiBella: Many young designers are afraid to start because they think the market is so saturated. How were you able to find your niche?
Claude Kameni of Lavie by CK: Honestly, it was a gradual progression my early gowns are definitely not up to par with the designs that I currently create today. I am passionate about creating custom gowns because I love to make women feel unique, confident, empowered and beautiful.
AsoEbiBella: Your prom dresses have broken the internet time and time again. Tell us how you’re able to make unique styles for every prom princess who comes to you.
Claude Kameni of Lavie by CK: When I design I don’t try to fit into a particular category. Instead, I create my own category. I like to think outside of the box because I strongly believe that your best work comes from simply bringing your imagination to life.
AsoEbiBella: Many designers shy away from prints, but you fully embrace it, bringing kente, dashiki and Ankara into mainstream American events like award shows and the likes. Tell us why prints speak to you so much.
Claude Kameni of Lavie by CK: The various African prints speak to me so much because I am a strong believer in the saying, “It doesn’t matter where you come from. But it matters most where you are going.” Wearing our prints to mainstream events and red carpets lets the world know that we are fully embracing who we truly are as people confidently and unapologetically.
AsoEbiBella: What outfits do you like making the most? Dresses? Jumpsuits? Sets?
Claude Kameni of Lavie by CK: I love creating dresses and gowns the most. It’s very exciting for me to see how my design visions can come to life.
AsoEbiBella: What’s next for LaviebyCK? Will we see you foray into Ready to Wear?
Claude Kameni of Lavie by CK: Yes absolutely, my first ready to wear collection for MEN and WOMEN will be launching this weekend – 8.18.18 for all of my #LaVieLoVerz and will feature 2 of my signature Ankara prints Sunrise and Moonlight. The new collection will be available for purchase exclusively on LavieByCK.com and Afrigora.com
The Collection is titled “Tache De Naissance” which means birthmark in French. This collection is the start of a new evolution in fashion. My goal was to leave my mark on the world. To show people what creativity is and how you can bring your dreams to life by simply believing in yourself and your abilities. This is just a sneak peek of what’s to come. A mark I hope to make a household name in the near future.
AsoEbiBella: You’ve made pieces for quite a few celebrities and influencers for major award shows and as internet sensations. How are you able to connect with them?
Claude Kameni of Lavie by CK: I’ve been truly blessed to have fashion stylists reach out to me to request looks for their various celebrity clientele. And I’ve also been fortunate to have experienced several celebrities contact me directly to request custom looks.
AsoEbiBella: How do you plan to conquer the international scene? Can we expect to see you at fashion shows abroad soon?
Claude Kameni of Lavie by CK: Yes, one of my many goals is to travel worldwide showcasing my creations.
AsoEbiBella: Do you ship worldwide?
Claude Kameni of Lavie by CK: Yes we offer worldwide shipping.
AsoEbiBella: Please share advice for upcoming designers who look up to you.
Claude Kameni of Lavie by CK: My advice to up and coming designers are these 3 things.
1) Don’t Give Up!!
2) Don’t listen to or internalize any discouragement or negativity from people.
3) Take your time and do not rush your process everything will fall into place by the Grace of God.
Check out some pieces from the brand new collection!
See more of Lavie by CK’s designs on their website LavieByCK.com and you can follow them on Instagram @LavieByCK.