By ModCloth Writer, Crystal Smith
Project Runway’s season finale is almost here, and we wanted to celebrate by catching up with some of our favorite PR designers. We’ve interviewed four past and present contestants who share our passion for unique, vintage-inspired pieces, and we’ll be sharing one with you each week for the next month.
Our first designer is Kelli Martin from Season 5. Kelli won the first challenge of Season 5, and wowed the judges with her unique edge. She’s been designing with this unique edge for years under her own line called Anti.Label. Here’s what she had to say about the show and her future.
Photo copyright of Bravotv.com
MC: Hi Kelli. What have you been doing since Project Runway?
Kelli: I have been working my ass off. I have been preparing for a huge Halloween fashion show called “Highball on High Street.” Halloween is my most favorite holiday and I am super excited to make some awesome pieces. I am also working on my own Anti.Label fashion show on November 21 at my store, Black Market.
MC: What was the most important thing you learned from Project Runway?
Kelli: That reality TV is NOT reality TV. I knew this going into it, especially after being on Jenny Jones when I was a teenager. I feel as if I over-analyze all reality shows now. I am like, “That is fake! That was filmed 10 days ago, and they are cutting and pasting it like it just happened!” More or less, I am much more aware…of everything.
MC: Were there any funny or crazy behind-the-scenes moments that didn’t air in this season’s final cut?
Kelli: Technically, I am not allowed to discuss what wasn’t shown, but I must say that there are days upon days of shooting and they only air 38 minutes. When I am working, I zone, I keep to myself, and I focus at the task in hand. When I am off the clock, I am a psychotic maniac! I am loud, crazy, and hysterical! The small time that we had in our room, I was doing toe touches while landing on my ass, dancing, and basically acting like…myself. It is just odd when you put all of these big personalities together, and some play for the camera and some retreat.
Kelli’s design from The Grass is Always Greener Challenge in Episode 2. Photo copyright of Bravotv.com
MC: How would you describe your personal style.
Kelli: It has evolved from my teenage years–that is for sure. I have been through roughly every subculture, and I have experimented with EVERYTHING. It is funny though, because as I get much busier, I realize that I am wearing rags while sewing! I can’t get into something hardcore wearing a poofy dress. So basically, when I am not wearing rags while sewing, I tend to like wearing vintage-inspired pieces, random pieces from Bebe circa ’97 or something, and then a higher-end piece. I have dressed so crazy in the past that I think I am over it. You have to evolve a bit. It doesn’t mean that you are no longer “punk,” “indie,” or whatever. I dress how I feel when I wake up.
MC: Who are some of your favorite designers?
Kelli: Although i love a lot of different designers, I don’t feel like any of them are me to the ‘T.’ I love the snug, fetish look of Thierry Mugler, the girly look of Betsey J., the rough-edged Vivienne Westwood vibe, and the straight-up weird look of Alexander McQueen. I am also inspired by the 1940’s military look, as well as vintage dresses. I like to mangle it together to make it my own.
MC: How long have you had your own label?
Kelli: I have been designing under Anti.Label since 1999. I actually began selling school projects from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising on eBay, and then realized that I could make a living that way! I sold on eBay for about seven or eight years. After that, I had completely had it with the over-saturation. I may start selling a few pieces from my store again in the near future, though.
A piece from Kelli’s Spring 2008 Collection. Photo from Kelli’s MySpace page
MC: Where can we find your clothes?
Kelli: If you are in Columbus, Ohio, you can find them at 2579 North High Street at Black Market. You can also buy on my new site, anti-label.com. And I may start selling a few pieces on eBay and Etsy again, too. I am totally sold out at my store and on the site right now, so I figure a throwback to the ‘bay’ may be a good idea to allow people to buy cheaper, random pieces by me. I am DESPERATELY trying to get my new collection together so that I can restock my site.
MC: What are your future plans?
Kelli: To take over the world. I am really impatient, so I am working on that. I want it all, and now. I am trying not to get ahead of myself, take things day by day, and not get too anxious. I have hired an assistant and a seamstress to help, but there are some things I have to do myself.
I want to have a steady, season-to-season line, possibly expand my store to the spot beside me, and then eventually take over the world with my empire. I have super-high aspirations for myself, so as long as I take it slow, it will happen.
MC: Anything else you want to add?
Kelli: That I am crazy. Just kidding! (Kind of)
Next Week: Kenley Collins from Season 5!!