Lifetime PR

Project Runway Designer Korina Emmerich: Our Exclusive Editorial Shoot and Interview

We have spent the last year interviewing numerous designers from various seasons of Project Runway, and from their testimonials, we have learned a lot about the PR experience.  Designers are chosen for a plethora of reasons to participate on this show, and it is an unforgiving and tough process.  We would not expect it to be anything less, of course.  If you are fortunate and talented enough make it onto Project Runway–  you are then sent to the location to live with strangers, not allowed to view any type of media, not allowed contact with loved ones or friends, and you shoot ALL of the challenges over the course of about 4 weeks, wherein your days are somewhere between 12-20 hours long.  It is a DREAM opportunity, but we assume it is not a DREAM process to endure.  It is true, though, that some of life’s hardest experiences are the most memorable, and the most life-changing.

Photo by Ben Trivett

Project Runway Season 13 Designer Korina Emmerich

Before you decide anything permanent about any one of the designers on this season of Project Runway, or any other season up till now, we’d like to remind you a little about the conditions these designers are working under while you watch them in your living room.  We’d like you to think about how you might react being in this type of environment, and to think about how you would feel getting closer and closer with each challenge, to a dream you’ve had your whole life.  Now, we’d like you to think about whether in the most extreme moment of stress, you might not give a shit if the cameras are on you or not.  You just might need to let out some steam.  Some people handle stress quietly, others vocally, or by lashing out, and even others by crying.  We’ve definitely seen it all in every season of Project Runway.

Photo by Ben Trivett

Korina Emmerich in one of her own leather designs. Click image to link to our EXCLUSIVE video interview.


We said “Auf Wiedersehen” to Designer Korina Emmerich on last week’s episode of Project Runway, Season 13.  We have to say as viewers, that this was the most angering episode we’ve encountered this season.  We noticed other online fans angry about the decision, surprised about the choice to let Korina go, and keep other designers who may or may not have already been saved multiple times, and who from our point of view, have not demonstrated the construction skills needed to continue to this level of the competition.  It was a hard episode for Korina especially, as the show’s editing did not help to paint her in a positive light at all.  She was clearly venting steam and stress in the one-hour final elimination challenge, and unfortunately, the cameras caught a moment of negativity that also seemed to anger some of the fans vocal on the internets.

Designer Korina Emmerich in a jacket from her Raven Collection

Designer Korina Emmerich in a jacket from her Raven Collection

Recently, when this season had just begun, we got in touch with Korina about doing an editorial shoot, using some of her own designs, and playing with a little vintage as well.  We spent the morning together styling makeup and hair, coordinating different looks, and asking questions for our exclusive video interview.

Not only are we happy with the final images and video, but we had a fantastic time collaborating with Korina, who in our minds was one of the front runners in this season of Project Runway.

Designer Korina Emmerich in Vintage from Tattoo Girl Lingerie

Designer Korina Emmerich in Vintage from Tattoo Girl Lingerie

Well, we know now that Korina’s runway show at New York Fashion Week will not be featured on Project Runway, but you can see some of it from Designer Helen’s Instagram feed here.  (Often the last 6 or 7 designers left on the series do show at fashion week.)  Little did we know, we shot one of the leather jackets featured in that very same collection. (See the collection on Korina’s site Here)  Needless to say, the whole experience was a pleasure, and Korina was both a pro and a joy to work with.  We hope to do it again in the future.

Designer Korina in one of her new SS15 Ephemeral Collection Jackets

Designer Korina in one of her new SS15 Ephemeral Collection Jackets

There you have it Project Runway fandom.  We ask you to take everything you see on tv with a grain of salt, and we remind you to see the work of all the designers up close and personal, if ever you get the chance.  Project Runway is a vehicle that can launch the career of a designer, but if these designers strive to be part of this industry for life, Project Runway cannot and should not define them forever.

Special thanks to Korina for her time, her patience, and her professionalism.  Keep up with her on Twitter @EmmerichNY, and on her site at

Photos by Ben Trivett (Copyright Ben Trivett). Hair, makeup, and styling by Coleen Scott.- C. Scott

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How Melissa Fleis Makes It Work

Melissa Fleis, Fashion Designer

Melissa Fleis, Fashion Designer


If you’re looking for a Project Runway alum with edge and drive, Melissa Fleis is your woman.  A finalist from season ten, and a competitor on All Stars season three, she plays with leather, angle and line, often accented with pops of color.  She likes her black, but she’s not afraid to think outside of the little black box that some designers can get trapped in.  Melissa  uses color wisely, whether it’s to accent her desired silhouette, or to draw attention to details.  She’s a badass, sexy woman, and when we look at her clothes, that’s who we envision wearing them.  We caught up with Melissa, getting her fashion hustle on from San Francisco, and she shared more details about what’s up-and-coming in her fashionable world.  Before we give too much away, we’ll let her tell you in her own words.


1.  Who are you, and what season/s did you participate in? 

Melissa Fleis, fashion designer based in San Francisco.  I was a finalist on Project Runway Season 10, and designer on Project Runway All Stars Season 3.

2. Please give a brief description of your design style.

Artisanal modern design with a feminine edge.
From Melissa Fleis' Defiant Collection

From Melissa Fleis’ Defiant Collection


3.  What was the most challenging thing about the Project Runway experience BESIDES the challenges themselves?

The most challenging thing for me was time management. I always found myself working until the final seconds before the runway.

4.  Who have you met or worked with during or since the Project Runway experience that you are most proud of or excited about?

I have been showing a lot with Mychael Knight, Daniel Esquivel, Jeffrey Sebelia, and Michelle Lesniak. I can’t say who I’m proud of the most. I’m just proud of us all!
Melissa at Dirty Habit, Palomar Hotel, San Francisco

Melissa at Dirty Habit, Palomar Hotel, San Francisco

5.  What are you currently working on or excited about professionally?

I continue to work on my own collections, as well as, custom orders, and designing uniforms for a new Kimpton restaurant in San Francisco. Hustling to make this all work!

 6.  Besides the basics, what sewing notion or tool could you NEVER do without?

My leather hammer!


 7.  Is there anything else you’d like us to know or see?

Some of my pieces are currently being sold at CHURCH Boutique in Los Angeles and Olivia Boutique in Los Altos, CA. I will also be launching my e-commerce site soon, so customers can order directly from the website!
(Update:  Since our interview, Melissa has launched her site!  You can find it here:
From Melissa Fleis' Defiant Collection

From Melissa Fleis’ Defiant Collection

Thanks so much to Melissa for taking the time to talk to us!  Melissa, we wish you nothing but the best with the Defiant Collection and the new site! – C.Scott
You can get in touch with Melissa on Twitter @MelissaFleis, or check out the website at
All text and images provided by Melissa Fleis unless watermarked, linked, or specified.