Leanne Marshall made it big on Project Runway, but before she takes off for NYC, she sketches out the Portland designers who’ll stay on her radar.

By Jill Spitznass May 19, 2009 Published in the January 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

SHE CAME, she sewed, she conquered. After enduring eight weeks of sleep deprivation, catfighting, and wacky challenges (like crafting a dress entirely out of supplies found in a grocery store), Portland fashion phenom Leanne Marshall’s fluttery, ethereal garments earned her the Project Runway title for season five—and $100,000 to put toward an apparel line. (Oh, and a new Saturn Vue hybrid.) Three months later, Marshall has already started on her plan to create edgy, conceptual looks á la Alexander McQueen. She’s hired the newly founded Portland Garment Factory to sew her designs, and some samples have even made it into New York City showrooms. And now the twenty-eight-year-old is following her clothes back East: she’s already on the hunt for a New York City apartment. We caught up with her before she left to find out which of P-town’s promising designers just might have the chops to follow her as fashion’s next big thing. Here are a few designers she thinks could have it all sewn up.

Leanne’s Short List:

HOLLY STALDER and KATE TOWERS (founders of Seaplane)

“Holly makes such feminine, pretty dresses; I also love her use of embellishment. She’s able to combine flirty and innocent at the same time, and that’s hard to pull off. Kate is also very good at making feminine pieces, and she knows how to incorporate found things on a garment in a way that really works.”;


“Adam Arnold is simply incredible at tailoring. He creates pieces for men and women that are at once timeless and special.”


“I absolutely love what Elizabeth Dye does with bridal gowns. She can take a mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress and work it into something new and beautiful for the next generation.”


“Liza is a really modern designer who creates beautifully architectural women’s pieces that are very flattering and aren’t too overworked.”


“John makes the best menswear I’ve ever seen—period. His work is cool and innovative, yet very well made. Not many people can do both at once.”


“Anisa does unusual, very cute women’s clothes that are just sophisticated enough.”

Filed under