PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A famous designer from Portland is being featured next month in one of the country’s top fashion shows.
The first week of October puts Portland in the fashion spotlight and one of the premier events is FashioNXT. Time Magazine has called FashionNXT the second-best runway show in American after New York.
The event showcases local designers, many of whom have earned national reputations.
Michelle Lesniak is one such designer.
She won Season 11 of “Project Runway” and “Project Runway All Stars” earlier this year.
Lesniak said Portland may be known for certain stereotypes that have nothing to do with fashion but that isn’t a reflection of its fashion identity.
“Just because we’re a smaller town, and they think we’re all granola and nuts and hiking, and we actually do have a big fashion scene,” Lesniak said.
The designer said FashioNXT sets Portland apart.
“I’ve done fashion shows all over the world, from Peru to London and New York, Vancouver, B.C., and it is the best production fashion show. It is absolutely stellar.”
Portland is home to many up-and-coming fashion designers and several other “Project Runway” winners. Featuring them in during FashioNXT has put Portland on the world’s fashion map.
“We pay very close attention to who we’re inviting, who we’re showing,” said FashioNXT producer Tito Chowdhury. “That creates a tremendous platform for seeing a good quality of independent designers and also other brands.”
Lesniak, who was born and raised in Portland, said the focus of fashion is no longer confined to the traditional big U.S. cities.
“It doesn’t have to be in New York anymore, it doesn’t have to be in L.A. anymore. And I think Portland has a really strong voice because we dance to a different drum,” said Lesniak.
Lesniak’s collection at FashioNXT will be her first since her “Project Runway All Stars” win in March.