Thirteen Questions: Melissa Fleis

NWBLK designer Melissa Fleis is previewing her new Defiant Collection at a private reception Friday, September 19th from 6-9pm, followed by a Pop Up shop Saturday from 11-4pm, both sponsored by 7×7.

Questions by NWBLK Creative Director Steven Miller (SM)
Answers by Melissa Fleis (MF) September 18th, 2014

SM: What is your background?
MF: Beauty and fashion
SM: How did you come to found Melissa Fleis?
MF: I started my brand as soon as I returned from filming Project Runway Season 10. People kept requesting that I make them something to wear – so I started with custom leather jackets and built it from there.
SM: What is it that most excites you about the work you do? What part of your process is most exhilarating?
MF: I love seeing my original concepts and designs come to life. Finding new sources of inspiration ( although not easy ) is always exhilarating for me as well.
SM: What do you do to “re-fuel” your creativity?
MF: Sleep and travel
SM: We at the NWBLK believe that most people interested in architecture and design are also interested in other pursuits like food, fashion, music and technology. How do these things weigh in to the way that you think about your creative endeavors?
MF: All of these things impact me in one way or another. Music and architecture particularly play large roles in my creative process.
SM: Who’s work most fascinates, inspires or repels you and motivates you to action?
MF: Rei Kawakubo
SM: In what ways do you give back to your greater community? Do you teach or are you involved in sponsored events or fundraising? Do you have a charitable cause that you like to contribute to financially or otherwise?
MF: I’ve taught classes in trend forecasting at City College, visited elementary schools, and contributed to panel discussions at UC Berkeley. I show in local charity based fashion shows like the Junior League and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Cancer Program.
SM: Many people that we talk to have said the travel is very important to their inspiration. Are there places that you like to go for inspiration?
MF: I seek inspiration from the typical places of inspiration like art exhibitions and nature. However, my main source of inspiration comes from visiting Europe, whether it is Berlin, Antwerp, Amsterdam or Florence. London is next on my list. I still can’t believe I haven’t been there.
SM: Do you attend tradeshows or fares; fashion week etc. when you travel?
MF: I’m jumping on the pop-up shop bandwagon at the moment. However, I am currently showing my collections at Austin and Dallas Fashion Week, as well as through charitable organizations like Junior League and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Cancer Program.
SMWhat are your favorite magazines? Digital or print?
MF: i-D, Oyster, Tirade, AnOther, LOVE, ZOO, Numero, Style Zeigeist
SM: What is your favorite color?
MF: At the moment it’s Metallic Midnight Blue – but I do LOVE black.
SM: What’s the NWBLK?
MF: NWBLK is a place where modern artists can showcase their work, and collaborate with other like-minded individuals within a curated space.