Season 5 Premieres Early 2016
  • Ari South from Project Runway All Stars Season 3
  • Christopher Palu from Project Runway All Stars Season 3
  • Daniel Esquivel from Project Runway All Stars Season 3
  • Elena Slivnyak from Project Runway All Stars Season 3
  • Irina Shabayeva from Project Runway All Stars Season 3
  • Jeffrey Sebelia from Project Runway All Stars Season 3
  • Korto Momolu from Project Runway All Stars Season 3
  • Melissa Fleis from Project Runway All Stars Season 3
  • Mychael Knight from Project Runway All Stars Season 3
  • Seth Aaron Henderson from Project Runway All Stars Season 3
  • Viktor Luna from Project Runway All Stars Season 3

Melissa Fleis

San Francisco, CA, Season 10

Bring us up to speed!

Since "Project Runway," my primary focus has been starting my own brand. I first began by designing custom leather jackets and accessories for a select group of clients, which eventually led to the soft launch of my company through a fashion show at the NWBLK gallery, in San Francisco. A selection of my work is currently being exhibited and is available for sale through the gallery. I’ve also been trying to be as active as possible about participating in events such as the AICI at Bloomingdale's, speaking about fashion and education in schools, and attending a variety of fashion shows. Currently, I am working on my Spring/Summer 2014 collection, which will make its debut as part of Austin Pride on September 6!


What garment from your season of "Runway" do fans compliment you on the most?

Everyone still loves my electric blue dress from the Marie Claire at work challenge!


What do you think you are best remembered for from your season?

From what I’ve gathered, people seem to remember me as being "real." I’ve been told on a few occasions, "When  you cried, I cried!" which is always funny to me. Most important, I love it when people remember me for my specific designs.


Who has been your favorite client to design for?

Clients are like children; you can’t have favorites (officially).


What celebrities would you love to dress?

Cara Delevingne, Liv Tyler, Claire Boucher, Miley Cyrus—all would look great in my clothes.


What are your strengths as a designer at this point in your career?

I think some strengths of mine are having a definite voice and style. My work resonates well with both men and women, which I believe is a true gift. My weakness, hands down, is second-guessing myself.



How has your design aesthetic changed since your time on the show, if at all?

Since it’s only been a year, my style hasn’t changed drastically. However, being a designer is a constant evolution.


What are your favorite pieces/staple items in your closet?

Usually one of my hand-embroidered leather vests. Black, of course.


Which fashion rule do you think is begging to be broken?

All of them. Who needs rules?


How do you choose what to pack for "All Stars"?

I don’t really put much thought into it. I just grab what I always wear. However, one important factor I do think about is shoes! You have to wear comfortable shoes when standing on your feet for that many hours!


What "Project Runway" challenges do you think are the best and worst of all time?

The best? Any challenge where they’re allowed to go Europe. The worst? Baby challenge from Season 10. Loved working with and designing for the mom and baby, but taking care of the electric baby was definitely a challenge


Who is your favorite fellow "Project Runway" designer from any season?Christopher and Fabio from my season. They always make me laugh. They’re hysterical!


What goes through your head when you see yourself on television?

I actually find it funny!


What is the one thing fans still would be surprised to find out about you?

That I only started sewing 5 years ago.


What makes you All-Star material?

I feel that I represent a very distinct style, voice and viewpoint.