TAKE A CLASS with Michelle!!!

Jump into fashion design with this first class in a series of upcoming classes called ‘Art of the Skirt’.  Learn the basics of how to flat pattern, drape, use style lines and construct a skirt that fits YOU! (Yes fella’s kilts do apply)!  In this four session course, join Michelle Lesniak in her studio as she teaches you the skills of the trade-  from using industrial machines and tools (straight stitch machine, overlock machine and iron), to industry sewing techniques.  All skill levels are welcome!  

Class begins Sunday, January 10th in Michelle’s studio and is limited to 5 students.  All genders are welcome. 16yrs of age and up.

Class dates (6pm-8pm):

Sunday, January 10th

Sunday, January 17th

Sunday, January 24th

Sunday, January 31st

+ One one hour individual session TBD

Bleeding Heart Sweater

Believe or not, the email we get the most here at the studio is about my bleeding heart sweater from my Project Runway finale collection.  It was an awesome experience making this piece.  I worked with my friend and fellow Project Runway alum Joe Segal who teaches computerized design at Rhode Island School of Design.  With his help, I made the sweater on a computerized knitting machine.  I don't have a machine like this and even outsourcing production would be expensive.  It's actually so expensive to produce that I don't even have one!  The printed bleeding heart shirts and sweatshirts I have for sale are my way of giving you, my devoted bleeding heart fans, something close to the product you all love.  Hopefully one day we'll have the infrastructure to make the sweater available to everyone at a reasonable price point.  I'm so lucky to have such dedicated fans!


Coming to the runway Friday, October 9th in Portland, Oregon at FashioNXT.  My collection, ‘PIN ME / PIERCE ME’, has been a labor of love… lost love.  

Each collection I make tells a story, imparting emotion, sincerity, and depth to my clothing, making them not just garments, not just fabric, but a tale from the heart.  ‘PIN ME / PIERCE ME’ continues my tradition of emotive design, and has taken me down a beautiful road of healing, incorporating lace, roses, and a dash of heavy metal!

Promises made, promises broken ‘PIN ME / PIERCE ME’ is a collection based on the hopes of a promise that is only to be taken away.  Inspired by the pinning of a woman by a man as a promise of pre-engagement in the 1950’s & 1960’s, ‘PIN ME / PIERCE ME’ combines romance and heartache; the optimism of being pinned with the devastation of having your heart pierced. 

Continuing the story of my collection, I had sorority/fraternity pins made.  Click here to to buy your own! These are made to be worn as a badge of pride, a badge of courage, a badge of strength. We have all had a heart full of promises emptied by one swift pierce.  Tell me your tale and I will show you mine at FashioNXT on October 9th.  Hope to see you there!  Click here for tickets 

Fashion X Dallas

What are you doing tonight?  It's not too late to get tickets and be part of the fabulous event that is Fashion X Dallas.  Tonight you can see collections from me and other designers from my Project Runway family including Gunnar Deatherage, Melissa Fleis, Fabio Costa, Amanda Valentine, Sonjia Williams, Daniel Esquivel, and Sean Kelly.  Trust me, this is something you don't want to miss!  

6 more days!

Only 6 more days until my lovely Gunnar Deatherage will be here!  "What's he doing here in Portland?" you ask.  He's visiting me, of course!  Oh and showing his collection at Fade To Light on August 26.  That's not your only chance to see us though!  We're having a trunk show that Saturday, August 29, from noon to 6pm here at the studio (1123 SE Market Street, Portland, OR 97214).  Stop by to shop our latest pieces and say a quick hello!  

ml hits THE ANTHILL - San Antonio

On Thursday, June 4th I will be sneaking my designs into Anthony Ryan's fashion/lifestyle store: The ANTHILL!!! Not only do I get to reunite with fellow Project Runway Alum, but we get to dish, dress and not stress!

You in Texas?  You like dishing, dressing and not stressing? WELL, COME ON DOWN!


‘Falling Upwards’- Last chance!

The ‘Falling Upwards’ Spring/Summer collection is on its last tour before heading to production! There are three more cities and suitcases on the horizon which means you have three more opportunities to see it in person.

Upcoming Tour Stops:

Friday, June 5th: Fashion Week South, San Antonio, Texas http://www.fashionsouthglobal.com

Friday, June 12th: Seattle Fashion Week, Seattle, Washington http://www.seattlefw.net 

Saturday, August 1st: Atlanta International Fashion Week, Atlanta, Georgia http://atlantaintlfashionweek.com



A special thanks to:

Jewelry: The Salt Empire   http://www.thesaltempire.com

Music: Mr. Moo    http://worldofmrmoo.com/music

Film: Gunnar Deatherage & Glass Label    http://gunnardeatherage.com

The Best Way to Listen to Music

As many of you know, music is an emotional experience for me and plays a large role in the presentation of each of my collections.  It sets the stages, draws you in, tells a story, makes a fashion show a multi-sensory experience.  A few weeks ago, Chris Hatch, from Kuni Lexus of Portland, invited me to come listen to their latest stereo system, a product of the collaboration between Lexus and Mark Levinson.  I listened to a few songs on this system and let me tell you, this is the way to listen to music.  You have to try it out!  Click here for my interview with Chris and more information about this amazing sound system.

"Falling Upwards" at Fade to Light

I've been working nonstop in the studio for the past two weeks, but for good reason; "Falling Upwards" debuts TOMORROW night at Portland's own Fade to Light.  This is a great opportunity to come support local designers and spend an evening with Portland's artsy crowd.  It's going to be an awesome show and I'd love to see you there!  The show is Wednesday, February 25th, at The Crystal Ballroom.  Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm.  Tickets are available here.  See you tomorrow!

Sneak Peek at "Falling Upwards"

I'm so excited to share with you this amazing teaser video for my upcoming collection!  Special thanks to Gunnar Deatherage and Glass Label for putting together this short film.  You can see the whole thing by coming to one of my shows, the first of which is at Fade To Light (check the "Events" page) on Wednesday, February 25, 2015.  We'll also be showing in California, Washington, Texas, and British Columbia with hopefully more locations to follow.  Check back soon for tour dates and locations!

Gunnar's Coming!!!

Gunnar's coming, Gunnar's coming, Gunnar's coming!!!  I hope you all are just as excited to see this fabulous man as I am!  He's coming all the way from Kentucky to help style "Weather Worn" for its official photo shoot.  He'll be at this week's Project Runway All Starts Viewing Party (1/15 at Back Stage Bar) so be sure to stop by and say hello.  If you can't make it out Thursday night, or if you can and just can't get enough of us, drop by the studio (1123 SE Market) on Saturday (1/17) between noon and 6pm for the first ever Michelle Lesniak and Gunnar Deatherage Trunk Show.  This is also the official open house for my workspace so bring your friends for shopping, nibbles, and bubbly.  See you there!

2015 - New Year, New Designs, New Fashion Weeks

There is quite a bit on the horizon, designing for spring 2016 (Falling Upwards), getting summer 2015 manufactured, and traveling to new locations for Fashion Week.  

'Falling Upward' Spring/Summer 2016 will be traveling to different fashion weeks around the country and beyond this spring.  Where do you live? Perhaps close to one of these cities: Portland, Seattle, Austin, El Paseo, Trinidad... Just to name a few.

Where do you want to see the 'Falling Upward' collection?

Film for Fashion: Creating a Mood

Each collection that is designed and produced has an emotion, a theme.  To expand this theme and keep the heartbeat strong I collaborate with jewelers, musicians, textile printers, as well as filmmakers.  These short films are played during fashion shows to help set the stage, create the mood and keep the viewers engaged.   Here are two films that were made to accompany past collections:

Film by Zach Brown, original soundtrack by Mr. Moo aka Milo Hayden animation by Priit Pärn, breakfast on grass IVAN MAXIMOV, tales of tales

This second film evokes electric, toxic feelings. Both films are equally captivating, and help me convey what the clothing 'feels' like.

Film by Nathanael Trimboli

Fashion X Dallas

After three fashion shows across the country in the last four weeks, believe me when I say it's hard work.  Late night sewing, last minute additions, and early morning traveling (6 am departures!) are just the beginning!  Even with all the work, traveling, and sleepless nights, it's totally worth it.  The best part this latest show was the people I got to see.

On Saturday at Fashion X Dallas, I had the privilege of showing with several amazing designers from Project Runway.  I really enjoyed seeing everyone's collections, each of which was unique to the designer.  Being with Laura Kathleen, Korto Momolu, Mychael Knight, Jeffrey Sebelia, Daniel Esquivel, Melissa Fleis, and Anthony Ryan Auld in Dallas was like a family reunion (even though this was my first time meeting some of them in person).  All I have to say is the next time I see these people (especially Anthony Ryan and Melissa) can't come soon enough!



I was lucky enough to be asked to give a presentation this month at FID, Festival Internacional de Diseño, in Costa Rica!  FID is an international design conference held to inspire and educate with presenters traveling from all over the world speaking about their trade: fashion, food, interior design, fine art, architecture and graphic design.

The topic of my presentation was “Finding Inspiration through Life’s Trials” and began with a short intro, my Project Runway work and what inspires me today.  The highlight of my presentation was a mini fashion show (a small portion of my ‘Girl Incarnadine’ work) that really let the crowd see into my day to day work.

I have to admit that I get pretty nervous before I give a presentation, and with a crowd of more than 2,000 attendees my knees were knocking and my pulse was racing. By a minute in my fears are gone and I am feeling cool as a cucumber.  The best part was, I was talking about what I do, my process and how my personal life affects how I design.

All creative people work in different ways.  There is no right or wrong way.  It has taken me 30+ years to learn my process and I hope by sharing mine others were inspired to hone their own. Viva Pura!  Thank you Costa Rica!

Renovation Underway

Here at Michelle Lesniak Headquarters we believe the New Year is a good time to do new things...so after much deliberation (hardly any at all) we bit the bullet and are expanding the studio! 

Our expansion is going to bring lots of new and exciting opportunities; more space, a kitchenette, small lounge area in which to drink tea, but most importantly a place to get creative and move about with ease. 

Stay tuned, we'll be back with the before and afters, here's the current state of things.

Oh, and we almost forgot to say, 'HAPPY NEW YEARS', wishing you the best for 2014!

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Momento Mori

Monday was the most amazing, inspirational photo shoot we’ve done to date!

Using the Fall/Winter 2014 line entitled “Decay,” we put together a shoot inspired by Memento Mori and Victorian death portraits.  These portraits known as Post-Mortem portraits, Memerorial portraits, Memento Mori or Mourning portraits were common place at the end of the 19th century to serve as keepsake of the departed.  Children were often seated on the lap of a parent.  Adults seated in a chair, perhaps surrounded by their family members; the end result being haunting, eerie and captivating to look at. 

JUST what we were pining for.

Collaborating with our favorite photographer Kevin Focht at Left Turn Studios, the talented hair and make-up stylist Sarah Adams of Salon 77, here is a preview of what is to come:


And don’t internet search Post-Mortem portraits if you want a good nights sleep.

Unwrapping Happiness… & A Naked Lady!!

Big shipments today at the studio!  Shipping in and Shipping out!  

First things first, new Patent Leather Wristlets are in stock ready to ship, truck, unicycle, or pogo-stick into your hot little hands, or the hands of a friend.  Red, Black and Dark Plum leather with brass hardware. (This is the only bag used at Michelle Lesniak headquarters).

Secondly… Rudolph came early and brought us our first ever full body dress form, also called a pant form, which we promptly named “Olga.” It is a tradition to name a new dress form, and in keeping with tradition, “Olga” was born.  Now all that is left to do is get this girl some PANTS.