Breaking News: Portland Designer on Season 11 of Project Runway

The new season of Project Runway starts at the end of the month and there will be another Portland designer on it.

By Eden Dawn January 10, 2013


Dress by Michelle Franklin

Rumors were swirling, but now we have confirmation and a reason to watch the new season of Project Runway. Fresh in my inbox is a press release from the owner of Garnish boutique informing us her employee Michelle Franklin will be on the upcoming season. If the name sounds familiar it's because I've written about Franklin before sitting on the judging panel of last year's Catapult: Emerging Designer competition. She showed great promise then and while not super well known in the local scene yet, we're all rooting for her to give us another Runway crown.


Garnish team member Michelle Lesniak Franklin has been selected to compete on the upcoming season of the hit television show “Project Runway,” premiering January 24th on Lifetime.

“All of us at Garnish are excited to tune in and cheer for one of our own,” says Garnish founder and lead designer Erica Lurie. “Besides being an incredible designer, Michelle is tenacious, spirited, and works hard for herself and her teammates.”

A Portland native, Michelle took a chance and left behind a decade long career in the wine industry to follow her true passion, design. Attendees at Portland Fashion Week 2011 witnessed the debut of her first lineMichelle is Well. Impressing fashion editors with her striking silhouettes and innovative outerwear, Michelle boarded the express train to become an influential local designer. She has since been recognized as one of “3 Designers to Watch” by The Oregonian and has continued to woo fashionistas with her rebranded line,Au Clothing, that, in Michelle’s words, “celebrates the smart, sassy, articulate, nerdy woman.”

Michelle joined the Garnish team of designers in May of 2012 during a critical time of expansion with the opening of their second location in the Pearl District. The Pearl District location also carries Au Clothing’s fashionable raincoats and knit dresses. Michelle’s edgy, bold style has played a key role in Garnish’s collaborative design process, in which all team members gather monthly to brainstorm designs for next season’s collection.

According to, this season is said to be unlike any other and will feature more team challenges than ever before. “Working in a team environment at Garnish helped prepare me for the bumpy ride that is Project Runway,” states Michelle. After seeing how she has been such a strong team player, Erica and the Garnish Gals are confident that she has what it takes to go far in the competition.

See Michelle’s designs at her website here:
Click here to view Michelle’s bio on Project Runway’s website.

Designer Michelle Lesniak Franklin

Michelle's line AU Clothing can be purchased at:

Garnish Boutique
1524 Northeast Alberta Street, Portland, OR 97211

Anne Bocci Boutique 
7824 Southwest Capitol Highway, Portland, OR 97219 

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