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Cardiff Character: Claudius Lewis

Claudius Lewis runs fancy dress business, it is not all about work, it is about living a happy life.

Claudius talking to a staff at his store

You are probably one of the people who have ever walked past a two-metre tall, costumed Bart Simpson with a funny wig outside the store “IC Fancy Dress” in Cardiff Castle Arcade and had a laugh. Claudius Lewis, the store owner said proudly: “people come to my shop and put a smile on their face, that is what it is about.”

To Claudius, work is hard, but life is fun. This may be the reason why he wears a smile whenever he talks. Things could never be easy. Claudius experienced so much, broken dreams, hard time, success, and he kept being grateful like his parents told him.

Chasing teenage dreams

At the age of two, Claudius moved to London with his families from the Republic of Sierra Leone. Two years later, they settled down in Wales as Wales is nice and friendly.

“I went to school here, at that time, I was supposed to be a footballer,” Claudius added in a low voice, “but I did not make it.” As the captain of the football team at school, he trained hard. However, a nightmarish injury put an end to his dream. “I lost hope,” Claudius shrugged, “after that, I began to do music.”

He is such a good bass guitarist and also playing saxophone in a semi-professional band “Whisper Zone”. “We had numbers of gigs in all sorts of places. Playing all night, sleeping all day,” Claudius chuckled, “we even got a record deal.” But the record failed to come out because of financial issues. “That is when I realised I needed to make money, not just stayed in a band and messed around,” he said seriously, “I got older, I must get steady.” 

Funny business, enjoyable life

Nobody wants to miss the opportunity to meet “Dalek”, a character from Britain’s most famous TV series “Doctor Who”. The only Dalek in Cardiff is standing outside Claudius’s store, which sells Dalek costume too. “My store is one of the stops of the Doctor Who tour,” he laughed, “ 30 tourists or more come here to take photos of Dalek every day.” 

In early years, Claudius ran fashion business and owned a coffee shop. He first started clothes design business but soon turned to do normal clothes because fashion burned money. Finally, fancy and vintage dress idea came up. This store aims to make customers delighted. As Claudius said: “People want funny things. Everyone comes to my store is happy and I am happy. To me, fancy dress is the future.”

Not like other businessman who could not survive without a timetable, Claudius said he is not organised. “I easily get bored, I just do what I want to do. I work, but also ski in Austria, cruise across seas in leisure time.” Claudius is so proud because he is doing what he really desires to do and he is in good health. He said: “Life is short, you got to enjoy the journey. This is my attitude.”