Orcas woman competes on upcoming season of ‘Project Runway’

<em>Contributed photo</em>
                                <strong>Melanie Trygg.</strong>

Contributed photo Melanie Trygg.

Orcas Islander Melanie Trygg is making her television debut when the 18th season of “Project Runway” launches in early December.

The owner and designer of KLÄD, a collection of minimalist statement-wear, Trygg has been sewing since she was a teenager.

“My mom and grandma were both talented seamstresses and I had access to my mom’s vintage cast iron singer sewing machine. I was always creative as a kid, but sewing clothing appealed to me as something that was both a unique skill and an opportunity to express myself creatively,” she said. “I’ve been working on my current line, KLÄD apparel, since 2012 with a focus on runway presentations, custom garments and trunk shows.”

Bravo’s Emmy-winning series returns with 16 designers competing to take home a $250,000 grand prize, a feature in ELLE magazine, the chance to be featured in a Bluprint digital series and a mentorship with the Council of Fashion Designers of America. This season is hosted by Karlie Kloss with mentor Christian Siriano and judges Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell and Elaine Welteroth.

The Barnacle will be hosting viewing parties of the show on Thursday, Dec. 5, 12 and 19, beginning promptly at 9:30 p.m., as it airs live.

“I go between deep, stomach-turning anxiety to see myself on national television — I’ve always hated hearing my own recorded voice — and excitement,” Trygg said. “As a kid, the idea of being known by the public was very enticing to me. As an adult, I’m pretty terrified by it. However, I am hopeful that people will want to connect with me because they relate to my story and point of view as a designer and that is very exciting to me.”

Trygg has participated in runway shows regionally as well as in New York during fashion week in 2017, all of which brought her to the attention of “Project Runway” producers.

“In my New York show, I was lucky to be able to have model Mimi Tao, ‘Project Runway’s’ first trans model, open my show,” she said. “I went through a pretty rigorous interview process before being selected (for ‘Project Runway’). It was both exciting and nerve-wracking to be considered. I’ve done work on the production side of projects in the past, so it was very weird to be on the other side as the ‘talent.’ It took a while to get used to.”

Trygg says she is currently working to “elegantly enhance the beauty of natural fibers and dyes with organically draped garments finished with geometric detailing.”

“Deadlines are my biggest inspiration — the push to get something finished and out the door, before my 16-month-old wakes up from a nap,” she laughed. “I’m also very inspired by people that have an iconic sense of style (and sense of self) right now — that’s anyone from Diane Keaton to Emily Ratajkowski.”

Trygg underwent major growth as a designer during filming of the season last spring in Brooklyn.

“I finally realized that the things I’ve been telling myself for nearly a decade now — you’re not good enough or special enough or unique enough or savvy enough to be successful in this industry — are not necessarily true,” she said. “I realized that if I want to be successful with the work that feeds me creatively, I just have to do it and move forward. There is room for my point of view in the fashion industry if I put in the work to make room for myself!”

Trygg says her most memorable part of the experience was spending time with the other designers.

“We are each so different from an aesthetic standpoint, yet we are all trying to do the same thing,” she said. “It’s really inspiring to see how everyone’s hard work has paid off and will pay off as they continue on their respective paths.”