SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER: Do not read if you haven’t watched the finale of Project Runway!
Squirming yet? Well, here’s the verdict:
UPDATE: Yes, she won!!!
[The following was originally published on August 13, 2008.]
Leanne Marshall, aka Leanimal on Etsy, is living the dream: she’s currently a contestant on the highly rated television show—and fashion phenomenon—Project Runway. Each week, lovers of fashion and craftsmanship watch in wonder as a new challenge surfaces, and the sheer ingenuity of the show’s designers is put to the test. We recently got in touch with Leanne to find out her favorite pieces on Etsy, as well as to hear about her experience on Project Runway.
I’m Leanne and I run a small independent clothing line of my own formerly known as Leanimal, but now I’m just going by my name Leanne Marshall. No more animal!
I knew that I wanted to be a fashion designer since I was 12 years old and I dabbled in designing my ballet costumes. I ended up going to FIDM in San Francisco and getting a degree in fashion design, but after graduating I took a detour and worked as a graphic designer for five years. I was able to quit my day job as a graphic designer and do the clothing line full-time thanks to success on Etsy.
I currently live and work in Portland, Oregon and do my clothing line full-time—or more than full-time. It’s like my child, and it’s not 9-5; it’s my life! I do it all myself at the moment, but I’m hoping to expand and have hired help soon. At the end of the day, it’s wonderful just to be able to do what I love and make a living at it.
As for Project Runway, this was my second time auditioning. I auditioned for season 4 as a last minute decision and I made it past the first cut, but ultimately I didn’t make it and I don’t think I was ready for it then. The second time was the charm, and I was without a doubt a much stronger designer. I had been making clothes constantly in the last year. I think I made well over 200 garments that I then sold to boutiques or in my Etsy shop. Some days I would make up to three dresses in one day! So, I definitely felt much more prepared and confident in my technical as well as design skills.
Once I found out I had made it I was beyond thrilled! And of course it was so much harder than I could ever be prepared for! I’m used to working alone in my studio apartment all day long. It’s just me, my sewing machine and a closet that is overflowing outward with fabric! This environment was the complete opposite with the cameras, the crazy personalities and all the drama! But it was the experience of a lifetime, without a doubt, and I made some great friends while I was there, too.
Here are some of my favorites on Etsy:
I bought this picture for my boyfriend for Christmas, and marked it as a favorite. Well, the boyfriend read my favorites and surprised me with one of my own before I gave him his. So now we have lovely matching pictures on our walls! By ulmer, $25.
I love this style and the sense of humor! A wonderful artist! By pepperminte, $11.50.
Beautiful picks, Leanne! For previous Featured Buyer articles, just click here.