Fashion designer Lara Bly is aiming to bring a new fashion-forward vibe to the South Side of Bethlehem through her design.
At her South Bethlehem-based Fashion Design Studio and Boutique, Bly said she offers many designs that consumers cannot get anywhere else from mainstream clothing brands. She said her goal is that her work wouldn’t be the kind of fashion designs shoppers would see at the mall.
Bly said she takes the impact of her clothes and boutique on customers very personally. She realizes for many women, clothes are more than just what they wear—they can define how women feel about themselves.
She said anyone can be pretty when they wear clothes that make them feel comfortable.
Bly said once they do, even without a personal style, they walk, stand and talk differently.
Audree Chase, a longtime friend of Bly’s, said Bly not only advertises comfort and style, but treats clients like friends.
“She goes above and beyond to make you feel comfortable in not only what you’re wearing, but also your relationship with her,” Chase said. “You will become a friend when you leave her shop and I don’t think she’d have it any other way.”
Bly knows closets can go out of style and said she never wants a woman to feel as if she can only wear her pieces out a few times. By offering two piece sets, her clothing line allows women to mix and match the clothes they purchase from her boutique.
“You can completely change the look of that one dress that everybody started seeing you in,” Bly said. “And then you can make those everyday pieces for your wardrobe that you can keep forever because the quality is great and they’re timeless.”
She said she hopes to give those who enter her store not just a new addition to their closet, but a very personalized experience.
Affordability is also something Bly considers when designing her clothing. She said she wants the pieces she offers to be available to anyone who walks into her store on the South Side. For her, clothes should be fashionable and fit nicely and customers should not feel as if they have to choose fashion over function.
“Feeling pretty, being comfortable, being fashionable is exactly what I do,” Bly said. “Ensuring changeable wearability is very specific to my personal brand.”
Bly had worldwide experience in the fashion industry before opening her boutique in Bethlehem.
She said she learned how to design, sew and illustrate from the American College of London, picking up many skills that allowed her to create the clothing lines she offers today.
After graduating from college, she worked in Los Angeles, New York and Beirut.
Before establishing her store at 202 East Third St., she worked at the Banana Factory.
She said she wanted to give people a taste of runway and custom made clothing that is one of a kind.
Kate Hughes, director of Fig Magazine, said Bly’s boutique was something South Bethlehem was lacking and she doesn’t see anyone doing better than Bly, even though competitors have tried.
Bly is unmistakable not only for her clothing line and her store’s experience, but for who she is.
She prioritizes her friends alongside her career.
“She has this larger than life personality and laughter that goes with it,” Hughes said. “So if you’re hanging out with Lara, you are smiling and laughing, guaranteed. She just lights up a room. You just feel like you’re her friend when you go in there.”
Bly loves what she does as well.
“It’s not a job when you love it,” Bly said. “It never becomes work.This is what I always wanted. I always wanted this store. I’m doing exactly what I want to do.”