Last week I had the opportunity to attend a fashion panel at the Fashion Incubator San Francisco in Union Square. FiSF is a non-profit, 501c3 incubator committed to turning fashion apparel designers into successful San Francisco entrepreneurs and employers. Each year FiSF provides six Designers in Residence with premiere workshop space at Macy’s offices in downtown San Francisco and offers yearlong business and production training from experts in the San Francisco fashion and economic development communities.

I love attending events at FiSF and hearing the perspective of fashion designers who are so committed to their craft and have to work so hard. They offer so much insight into an industry that so many of us care about.



The panel was an amazing group and featured:

Melissa Fleis, Designer/Owner, Project Runway All-Star

Emily Meyer, Designer/Founder TEA COLLECTION

Steve Pinsky, Owner BABETTE

Laura Compton, STYLE Editor San Francisco Chronicle

Moderator: Tony Bravo, fashion contributor to San Francisco Chronicle's Style section and SFUnzipped

After the panel, I was able to meet Melissa Fleis. Everyone knows her from her days on Project Runway  Her cool, laid-back style made me instantly want to connect with her. She is beautiful, charming, stylish, funny, articulate, and oh so talented! I love that she is based and San Francisco. It was great hearing about her recent project designing the uniforms for Dirty Habit restaurant in SOMA. Check out the video with her interview and her design process for the uniforms <here>. You can also pick up her pieces at these boutiques.

Project Runway. Season 10 Cast. Melissa Fleiss, center in black dress.

Project Runway. Season 10 Cast. Melissa Fleiss, center in black dress.

Here are some of my favorite looks from her collections.

From her website:

Melissa Fleis is an American fashion designer currently based in San Francisco, California. 

Since receiving her Bachelors of Arts Degree from the University of Michigan, as well as her Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Fashion Design from the Academy of Art University, Melissa has been committed to launching her self-titled brand. 

After studying with former Alexander McQueen advisor Simon Ungless at the Academy of Art, Melissa spent her Fall / Winter 2012 season in Lucca, Italy interning under Italian fashion designer Alessandra Marchi. 

Shortly afterwards, Melissa was selected to participate in Lifetime’s Project Runway Season 10, where she later went on to show her collection as a finalist in the "top three" at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week .

Having always been fascinated with German art movements such as Bauhaus, and Dada - Fleis combines her bold, architectural silhouettes with a modern, artisanal edge.

Melissa has been focusing her recent efforts on creating a collection of handmade garments and accessories - as well as building her brand through various fashion shows, gallery events, collaborations, and educational workshops. 

She spends the rest of her time creating custom made to measure garments for select clients.

Melissa designs her clothing for the contemporary woman, as well as herself.