Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lunch with Leanne ( Marshall, that is)

This is the first installment of Lunch with Leanne. However, Lunch with Leanne ended up being Coffee with Leanne, at 6pm. So, the name may change, stay tuned. The idea is to catch people up on what Leanne has been doing since her big win on Project Runway, Season Five. Shes made a big move to NY from Portland, and has some pretty cool things in the works. When you meet Leanne, you get a sense that she is truly, deeply in love with designing and she wants to be a designer, not a celebrity. That’s not the case with some other PR winners we know. I won’t name names, but you know who I am talking about. Fierce.

Kate: Hey Leanne! Thanks for meeting me for a quick chit chat. So, we are in Brooklyn, NY. Park Slope to be exact. And you just moved here from Portland, OR. How do you like our little city?

Leanne: I like it actually. I mean, the weather has been horrible, kind of like Portland, but I’m getting used to Brooklyn living. I think it’s hard to move anywhere; you have to start a new routine and get used to the new ‘hood. And of course I was a little homesick, but that went away. There is so much to see and explore here.

K: So, are you using your apartment as your studio?

L: I actually found an amazing studio in DUMBO. Its right under the bridge and the space is so inspiring. When I need a break, I walk down to Fulton Ferry Park and just take in the view. It’s amazing. That’s a change, having a studio. In Portland my apartment was my studio. I didn’t have enough money for a studio or supplies for that matter. Winning money gave me the ability to have a studio just for design!

K: So now that you have proven your design skills to all of America (yay!), what are your next goals?

L: GROW GROW GROW! I want to be in boutiques and also online stores. I’ve been thinking about putting my things up on Etsy again ( Do you Twitter? Follow @etsy). I was on there before the show and I really like that website. It’s hard though, and overwhelming, because in the end of the day I am just one person. The sales and outreach takes a backseat because I need to focus on designing. Right now I’m finishing up my collection for, and that’s taking a lot of time, but I am excited.

K: So, the Bluefly collection, what’s the going to be like?

L: It’s totally my design and creative vision, but made for the everyday woman who loves fashion. Often designers will create some seriously couture and intense pieces for the runway, but adjust them for the consumer market. There are eight pieces all together in this collection. Hopefully they will go live June 15th!

L: And after Bluefly I will totally focus on Spring '10, which is underway now. I am going to make sure I leave enough tim
e to design this collection so I don't get stressed and feel pressured under a deadline. As you know, I was sewing up until two minutes before the doors opened for Fall 09 presentation. I don't want that stress again. And I really want to show under the tents (Bryant Park) before it leaves that space.

K: Wow, that’s an awesome goal! How are you making that happen?
L: Well, I am trying to make it happen, it’s so hard though. It’s expensive and you need sponsors. I am in the process of finding sponsors and I would love to talk to any companies that would be interested in working with me for Spring 2010, because it’s going to be an amazing collection!

K: It must be kind of frustrating to see past winners, again, won’t name names, easily get sponsors and exposure when they didn’t really have to try? I don’t have to tell you that you are one of the best designers I have seen, and I get sad when I realize you have to try harder when your product is better.

L: Yeah, it’s annoying because I don’t have a loud, bold personality. Again, my goal for Project Runway was to gain exposure for the Leanne Marshall collection, not to become a celebrity. I’m just not interested. I do wish I had a little more of that “go getter” trait in me, because maybe it would be happening faster, but that’s just not me. So I look to people to give me that boost, and I’m working on finding those people to help me.

K: I think so many people would love to see you rise up in the fashion world, and who knows maybe someone will read this and reach out to help! You just never know.

L: Yeah, that would be great! I have to get out there and show people that I am a good designer and just need a little push to get ahead.

K: We all need that. As the Beatles say, “With a little help from my friends.” You can substitute “friends” with “sponsors.” Ha-ha. Ok, so leave us with a fun fact that no one knows about you.

L: Hmmm, ok I guess this was going to come out at some point! Well, you know how everyone hates doing laundry? Well I really hate it and I knew that when I was down to one or two pairs of underwear, I needed to do the laundry. Well, in an effort to push it off a little more, I decided to make my own. Yeah, I made my own underwear. Really uncomfortable and I seriously gotta give props to underwear designers/ makers. I failed miserably, but it put off the horrible chore for a couple more days.

Home-made underwear, that's a first! We'll be keeping you posted on Leanne's process of finding sponsors, Spring '10 inspiration and her other fun projects coming up! For more on Leanne, go to

Fashion shots done by amazing photographer named Caitlin Bellah. Her site is HERE.

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