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Baton Rouge fashion designer hits international runways with Louisiana-inspired designs



In Baton Rouge, nurse, designer, boutique owner, wife and mother Crystal Lewis designs clothes for women like herself — women who want to be stylish and make a statement but don’t have a lot of time to spend doing just that. 

In September 2023, the brand, called Love My Reality, participated at New York Fashion Week with a show in Sony Hall, near Times Square. Crystal Lewis used the show to represent Louisiana, closing it with a traditional New Orleans second line stocked with bright handkerchiefs and umbrellas. On Sept. 21, Lewis is taking her fashions international as part of Fashion Week in Milan. 

The brand features items that range from neon sequined jumpsuits with sheer accents to two piece-ensembles with ruffles and ombre. Lewis says her goal is for each design to make a statement. She has a brick and mortar storefront located at 10156 Perkins Rowe, No. 130, in Baton Rouge, but the clothes are also available online. Jumpsuits and dresses range in price from $120 to $1,200.

Baton Rouge-based fashion designer Crystal Lewis

Lewis used personal goals and inspiration combined with the work she was doing on natural hair to develop the brand’s name — Love My Reality. In keeping with a “genuinely loving yourself” mindset, Love My Reality’s sizing is inclusive and goes up to 3XL. Lewis designs ready to wear for women of all sizes.

“You don’t have to do a whole lot with our pieces. They speak for themselves,” Lewis said. “I only do minimal accessorizing when I style models.”

Love My Reality was founded in 2012 with the help of her cousin, Charice Thomas, who is no longer involved in the business. In 2012, the brand debuted a simple natural hair graphic T-shirt design. Eventually, the brand transitioned to women’s fashion and has grown since. 

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A model wears one of Crystal Lewis’ designs from her brand Love My Reality. 

These days, her husband, Wayne Lewis, is her business partner. Like his wife, he also has a different full-time job. As parents of a two-year-old, the couple is putting their all into life and building a future. 

Crystal Lewis is a Baton Rouge native and a graduate of Belaire High. While she has always had a sense of pride in having a cohesive look, style and fashion have not always been her focus.

A veteran, Lewis says there was a time when she served in the military that she didn’t think much about fashion. These days, with a full-time job as a nurse, a baby under two and a clothing line, she uses her varied experiences to help make clothes for busy women.

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A model wears one of Crystal Lewis’ designs from her brand Love My Reality. 

“I make our pieces for women like me — busy women — who, when they dress up, they want to dress up and look good,” Crystal Lewis said. “We’ve always had a lot going on. I knew I wanted stuff that I could grab, put on a cute pair of earrings and go.”

They have also used their new knowledge of the industry to pour into local models. 

They created Walk Like a Model Bootcamp, which debuted in April, teaching skills including posing, what to pack in a model bag, how to show up to a casting call and ways to focus on positive ways to accentuate their best features.

When asked how she fits all that she does into her schedule, Crystal Lewis credits her mom.

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A model wears one of Crystal Lewis’ designs from her brand Love My Reality. 

“I don’t really know how I do everything,” she said. “I think I was always conditioned this way. My mom worked two or three jobs to make sure we had everything.”

Lewis says she doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon. She is honing her skills at walking the careful balance beam that includes motherhood, a full-time job as a nurse and entrepreneurship.

She says she’s learning as she goes and simultaneously staying focus on what’s important. 

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Models wears Baton Rouge-based designer Crystal Lewis’ designs from her brand Love My Reality. 

“I don’t know how I do it, but I know why,” she said. “We believe in our brand, we’ve invested anything you can think of — and we have to see it through.”

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