Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Designer Introduction: Reyna Lay Designs

Hi everyone! I'm super excited to introduce myself to all of you amazing creatives out there.

 My name is Reyna Lay and I am the owner and fashion designer behind Reyna Lay Designs. As of last month I officially became an independent sewing pattern designer also. Yippee! I'm also the host of the weekly creative podcast called, The Reyna Lay Designs Podcast on iTunes where I interview people from all over the world with the intention of building, empowering, and inspiring creatives in all walks of life.

 I haven't always been creative. I grew up with two brothers and my dad because my mother passed away when I was four. So I grew up wearing boy clothes, playing basketball, wrestling, and being "one of the guys." It wasn't until my last two years of high school that I started finding the girly side of me. I started reading fashion magazines and looking at clothing as an outlet for my femininity, especially since I joined the military at a young age and had to dress in a uniform that wasn't very feminine.

 I joined the Army when I was 17 in order to pay for college and had my first child at 19 with my now husband of 10 years. During that time I still hadn't found my creativity, so it wasn't until my 24th birthday that the sewing bug bit me. I inherited an old Kenmore sewing machine from my husband's aunt and decided to use it to sew a dress for my 24th birthday. I loved how it came out so much, and I loved the whole process of creating something just for me, that I decided to go to school, finish my degree, and study fashion design. I graduated in the fall of 2014 with an honors fashion design degree from the college of business at Missouri State University. I also won the Best Designer Award for my senior class and an internship for a retail shop in Springfield, MO in which I designed and made 40 pieces to sell to their clients. It did so well that I decided to make it my full-time job!

I started RLD in the Spring of 2014, before graduation, in order to sell my senior collection pieces, but it has grown ever since. My main job is to create fashion collections every year, showcase them at fashion shows, the Harvard Eleganza Show being the latest, and then sell them online on my website and in several high-end shops across the country. I focus mostly on feminine ready to wear, with a touch of tomboy toughness. I also make custom pieces for people and for creatives such as singer Kam Franklin of The Suffers. She's wearing what I now call the Kam Dress, for her band's opening performance for Lionel Richie this Saturday in Austin, TX, but in a full on red, sequin fabric. I'm pretty excited about that because I'll get a backstage pass to it! Furthermore, I do styling for photoshoots and special clients, and I also make custom illustrations that can be purchased in my shop. These vary in forms of media: pens, watercolor, acrylics, and more depending on what a client wants.

I work from home and have turned my upstairs loft into a sewing area/office/podcast area. A few months ago I decided to start making sewing patterns in order for sewcialists out there to create designs that I felt were needed. My Miriam Skirt pattern made its debut early this month and has done very well so far. I am already working on my second sewing pattern, which will be FREE for all members of my group on Facebook, the Reyna Lay Designs Group. My inspiration comes from things that I want, but can't seem to find in sewing patterns. Also, I'm inspired by pieces I really love in stores but I can't afford. My second sewing pattern actually came to me in a dream a couple of days ago and I drew it as soon as I woke up. Even when I'm sleeping my mind is still creating!

 In the coming months I hope to finish a dress pattern and also a men's shirt pattern and release it in various sizes. My husband is a very creative person and constantly helps me design pieces for my men's line, Rugged Warrior. Because I have two boys, a 9-year-old and a 2-year-old, I will definitely be making sewing patterns geared towards boys and also in a variety of size ranges. My first pattern goes up to a size 22, or what is a size 44" waist in my line. I want my pieces to be versatile and available to all body types, because I think both men and women of all sizes should be able to make themselves something amazing and feel fabulous in it once they're done, regardless of their size.

Lastly, I do work from home which is great because I get to spend all day with my 2-year-old and also finish my masters degree in business management from Harvard while I work on everything RLD. My family, my business, the podcast, and school keeps me extremely busy, but I can't seem to function unless I have a million things to do, so it makes me pretty happy to call sewing and designing my job!

If you'd like to see everything I'm working on or sneak a peek into my daily creative life, feel free to join my FB group, like my FB page, follow me on Instagram, Snapchat, and/or Twitter with my handle @reynalay, and if you are a creative yourself and would like to be on my podcast, shoot me an email at: In the spirit of Halloween and to say thanks for having me on here, there is a 40% off sale on the Miriam Skirt pattern on my site when you use the code SPOOKY at checkout. The code ends at the end of the month, CST, so get it while you can. I hope you loved learning a bit more about me and please, leave me a message on any of my social media so I can get to know you too! Until next time sewcialists, stay creative!

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