Lavanya Coodly: Gifting the Runway with Urban Glam

Photography Credit: Andrew T. White

Nowadays, fashion designers have different outlooks when it comes to the industry. Lavanya Coodly, a Manhattan based fashion designer, is promoting hand craftsmanship and the practice of weaving communities while cultivating her own business.

 She pursued fashion through a self-generated strategy while handling design and the financial budget on her own. Coodly utilized her business degree along with her sense of fashion to interact with entities such as The Republic Collective and AMCONNYC as well as with fashion markets to gain retailers.

 Since discovering her label, Coodly has styled celebrities for red carpet events and has had her designs featured in a plethora of fashion-forward magazines in Europe and the U.S.

 With that said, I took the time to speak with the designer about her perspective on the fashion industry, her latest collection and more.

 Lavanya, what inspired you to become a fashion designer?

Aida, it is such a pleasure to be interviewed by you. I really believe my journey began when I was seven years old. My mother gave me a piece of blue lace and I designed a dress for myself with it. From that age onwards, I designed all my clothes, but this interest did not morph into a full-time job until much later. 

Where inspires your designs?

My inspiration is derived mostly from the world I live in. I love taking long walks or drives and soaking up as much natural beauty that I possibly can. I am equally inspired by urban life and the beauty created by people. Music has also played an important role, from which I draw inspiration. I see colors in music. So, it is a combination of all these that drives me to design. 

 Give me a rundown on your design process.

I begin with creating a mood board by putting together all the seasonal sources of inspiration. I look at projected color trends, review prints that we have created. Based on my seasonal inspiration, my team members and I begin sketching looks. After sketches are compiled and edited, a muslin or a prototype of each garment is made first. Creating a prototype also gives us an opportunity to further edit the smallest of details on the garment. If everything looks fine, we proceed to making the final piece. Not every final piece is photographed. 

 Tell me about your latest collection.

My latest collection is designed to be worn in Spring and Summer of 2023. The collection was inspired by my time spent in Newport Rhode Island, Los Angeles, and France. The pieces are predominantly Resort wear and relaxed but also modern and stylish in fit. I have used blues and white predominantly, but there are other soothing colors too. I’ve also experimented with Indian-inspired embroidery on gossamer cotton. 

 How do you feel your collections have grown to give the industry a fresh outlook?

With each collection, I have learned several new things and expanded my vision too. I’ve learned about technique, fabric manipulation, production efficiency and become better at time management. I have still got a lot of learning to do! I have also incorporated feedback from my customers and designed accordingly. Some styles were created purely from personal interest, which will be revealed in the Spring. 

 What are you currently working on?

I am currently planning the Autumn/Winter 2023 collection, scouting outdoor locations for photoshoots and doing Holiday shows and events. 

 What do you look forward to with your current collections as well as your upcoming collections?

 I look forward to the process of creating and learning something new each day. Although some days can be nerve-wracking, there is never a dull moment…I can assure you. I love matching my sketches to fabric and editing the collection, but most of all, I love the satisfaction of seeing my pieces come alive on my customers after working so hard on them. 

 What do you look forward to as a designer and what are your plans for the future?

I look forward to expanding my collection to include a bridal line, getting more sophisticated in design execution and finally, I would love to see my garments in multi-designer stores at home and abroad. 

 To keep up with Coodly and her upcoming collections, follow her on Instagram over @lavanyacoodly.