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Style Council 2013: Melissa Fleis

Photo by Angela Hau

Photo by Angela Hau

Meet this year’s cast of tastemakers who are setting the tone for fashion in San Francisco.

You might imagine a young fashion artiste to be inspired by, say, early 20th-century German art. But you may be less likely to expect that said artiste—a designer’s designer intent upon “showcasing the true potential of leather”—to continue working in San Francisco after finding a modicum of fame. Meet Melissa Fleis, 33, an MFA graduate of the Academy of Art University and Project Runway season 10 finalist who’s embracing her new hometown hero status. This past spring, Fleis received a warm reception for her underground show at the Mission’s conceptual gallery The NWBLK, where her pieces—replete with razor-sharp cropped leather jackets and asymmetric clutches—quickly dispelled any just-a-reality-star dismissals. These days, Fleis is at work on her Spring 2014 collection, which will showcase her distinct talent for leather cutting and hand embroidery. With her focused vision, daring individualism, and punk-goth mood, she may be the antidote to conventional SF fashion.

Inspiration:
The stark contrast of black and white combined with sharp, modern architecture in LA-based photographer Nicholas Alan Cope’s new book, Whitewash.

Cheap thrill:
Hands down, driving my ’71 AMC Javelin down an open stretch of road. I love the scenic route on the 101.

Signature accessory:
My custom necklace by Geoffrey Young. It’s made from a heavily oxidized sterling silver ring and encrusted with gray diamonds. The chain has little asymmetrical links.

The drink:
Bloody Marys by day, Manhattans by night.

Favorite movies:
A Clockwork Orange, Blade Runner, Breathless, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Silence of the Lambs.

Style influences:
Ambie Stapleton, Kate Moss, and Kate Lanphear all embody a cool, modern sophistication.

Uniform:
Black on black on black with a splash of my power colors: blood orange, magenta, Bordeaux, and shocking pink.

This article was published in 7x7's September issue. Click here to subscribe.