We had an opportunity to chat with Michelle Lesniak Franklin, designer of AU clothing and winner of Project Runway Season 11. The Oregon designer has been very busy since her Project Runway winning collection hit the Lincoln Center runway in New York City and was putting the finishing touches on the collection that is showing on the FashionXT Runway in the shipyards of Portland, but she had time to answer a few questions for us.
FNL: It has been a few months since you have won Project Runway, How has your life changed?
MLF:The biggest change is my frequent flyer miles. I travel a ton. Including overseas which is super exciting. I always have a suitcase packed because a lot of times, the travel is last minute.
FNL: What projects/events do you have coming up?
MLF: FashionXT, rebranding, new website, working on production, the list goes on…
FNL: What do you think of the fashion scene in Portland compared to what is going on across the country?
MLF: Portland has a real DIY attitude towards fashion, if you can dream it you can do it…I think that is the biggest advantage Portland has over other cities.
FNL: One piece of clothing/Accessory that is a must have in your closet.
MLF: A great pair of jeans.
FNL: Favorite piece you have ever made whether for sentimental value or for aesthetics.
MLF: My first leather jacket. I made it for my 30th birthday.
FNL: Favorite designer
MLF: Bottega Veneta; a design house that started out in handbags, beautiful and feminine but with an edge.
FNL: What was the first thing you ever made? What age?
MLF: I altered vintage clothing in high school. First thing I ever designed was my prom dress???
FNL: Where do you see yourself in five years?
MLF: Hopefully in an ice cave in Finland with a bottle of Aquavit and some pickled fish.
FNL: Are you excited about FashionXT?
MLF: Of course. FashionXT feels not only like a family but also helped launch my career.
FNL: Who was the biggest influence in your life in relationship to your career choice?
MLF: Family; my Mom, a couple of Aunts, my Dad, and teachers. There isn’t just one person.
Image by Michelle Lesniak Franklin Facebook
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