The local designer uses her music and lyrics to create unique clothes

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MILWAUKEE – A Milwaukee woman is making waves on the city’s arts and culture scene, creating one-of-a-kind pieces that turn poetry and lyrics into fashion statements.

“Everything I do, I try to create with purpose,” said Carle “Under5ive” Lewis.

Carle Lewis, known within the Milwaukee music and arts community as Under5ive, says she draws inspiration from her life experiences, both good and bad, to create her work.

From lines on a page to a print on a shirt, Lewis says his means of expression came from within.

“That’s how I started to really create for myself. I did not create for others. I started to create for myself, even while writing. It all stems from the fact that I wrote, really, to heal myself within,” Lewis said.

Her mother died when she was young and for a long time she says it clouded not only everything she did, but also the way she saw the world.

“I was the type of person where I was happy on the outside, but I bottled a lot of things up. Once I started writing, I wrote poetry, everything of that nature. But, once I started writing and realizing, “man, I can write with meaning and purpose.” I started writing things that I wouldn’t say and kept inside,” Lewis said.

From there, she says her creativity exploded, giving her the outlet she needed to find herself.

Soon, she began working on songs like “Rise,” which led to performances showcasing her skills on the mic and her flow as an artist.

“That’s what lives in my mind. It comes as I create,” Lewis said.

For her, her song lyrics don’t just live on the page. Often they become the inspiration for pieces like these.

“When I design: do I put the visuals, do I put the colors that in my mind evoke a certain emotion for me?” said Lewis.

As she continues what she calls her journey, she says she has no intention of slowing down.

Since this is a real passion project for her, the money she earns is just, what she calls, a blessing.

“I don’t expect people to like what I’ve created. When people do that, I’m really amazed. I’m like, ‘wow, that makes me feel good’. So, I just want people to know that if you decide to support me, even with words of encouragement, it’s worth more than the money. If you don’t buy anything, you know, even if you just tell someone else about what I do, it’s just a blessing to me. Everything else is just icing on the cake,” Lewis said.

If you would like to see more of Carle’s creations, as well as hear more of his original songs, visit his website here.

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