Melanie Trygg, Project Runway designer, looking to collaborate on a fashion message

PROJECT RUNWAY -- Season:18 -- Pictured: Melanie Trygg -- (Photo by: Joe Pugliese/Bravo)
PROJECT RUNWAY -- Season:18 -- Pictured: Melanie Trygg -- (Photo by: Joe Pugliese/Bravo) /

On Project Runway, designers need to make a lasting impression. Melanie Trygg wanted another opportunity to make a statement on the Bravo show.

While subtlety can be a virtue, big, bold statements are the name of the game on Project Runway. Melanie Trygg has a style that needs to be contemplated, examined, and appreciated. Although her designs didn’t always catch the judges’ immediate attention, she is finding a way for her voice and style to be heard.

In this Project Runway season, the big personality designers seem to have captured the judges’ and the audiences’ attention. While the season has only aired five episodes, the designers who love the drama, both on and off the runway, tend to have their voices heard.

Trygg, eliminated in ’80s-inspired Cyndi Lauper episode, seemed to fly under the radar. Although that approach had worked in other seasons, her subtle, Scandinavian influenced, modern designs seemed to be overshadowed by the brash, over the top looks and personalities.

Looking back at some of her designs, Trygg shined in episode one. If it wasn’t for her calm demeanor, Geoffery never would have been able to complete the challenge.

As the owner/founder of KLÄD, a design company based in Pacific Northwest, her looks are mostly custom. In many ways, her custom designs reflect a conservation between her and the client. While sleek and refined, there is a sense of ease in all the looks.

Although Trygg needed a stronger voice to survive the team challenge in Project Runway, she appreciated the opportunity that the show presented. After her elimination episode, Melanie spoke to Culturess about her experience, her fashion aesthetic and what is next for her brand.

Culturess: This week’s challenge is a team, capsule collection. How difficult was it to celebrate your design aesthetic when you were part of a group?

Melanie: We decided as a group that our materials would be what tied our pieces together, which allowed us to go our own individual direction when it came to fabrication and silhouette. The most difficult aspect of the challenge was the inspiration at large. It seemed like everyone else in the group resonated with the 80s and I felt completely lost when it came to my own personal inspiration.

Culturess: Cindy Lauper said, don’t blame it on the 80s. Do you think that the 80s and its fashion are having a fashion moment?

Trygg: I feel like I have been telling myself “it’s just a phase” since American Eagle had some 80s revival pieces in their stores back in the early 2000s. But, here we are! I think that there are many designers that have found elegant ways of reinvigorating the spirit of 80s fashion, but there are an equal amount of designers that are recreating something that has already been done. I was born with very broad shoulders and look horrible in neons, so I think I am predisposed to dread this trend having its moment again.

Culturess: What 80s style or retro look do you wish would have never come back?

Trygg: I think we have all had enough statement shoulder pads and mullets. I saw the mullet haircut coming back in about a year ago and thought to myself…“this is a joke, right?!”

Culturess: Fabric choice can make or break a runway look, how difficult is it to find the right fabric at Mood?

Trygg: Mood has an incredible amount of choices when it comes to fabric. However, it definitely became a challenge with five people trying to find a selection of fabrics that created a cohesive palette. It’s difficult for me to decide on fabrics in a store by myself, when I have had a full night’s sleep, plus two hours to shop, and no camera crew following me around! So, under pressure, and with team constraints, I’d put it at a 10/10 level of difficulty.

Culturess: This season, Christian Siriano has been quite blunt with his feedback. Did his feedback ever push you in a new direction?

Trygg: Almost every challenge I shifted my design in response to Christian’s feedback. He dresses a wide variety of clientele, and he knows the judges really well, so I would always at least consider and try something he recommended to see what direction it would take me. I loved getting his feedback!

Culturess: What type of look/style do you wish that you were able to show on Project Runway?

Trygg: One of my strongest areas of design is evening wear. I love to create statement gowns, and I think they speak most directly to my aesthetic as a designer. Dramatically draped and architecturally detailed gowns crafted with luxurious materials are the most aspirational garments I get to make and I think the judges could have seen more clearly what I have to offer! I played it too safe and didn’t take the risk to show my greatest skill and I’m still kicking myself for that!

Culturess: What is next for you and/or your brand?

Trygg: Through the exposure from the show, I look forward to reaching more people that believe in personal style and its ability to help tell the story they are trying to tell. I would love to build relationships with more people who know who they are and want their clothing to match their message – like musical artists or activists. I am also working on an annual five piece capsule collection of ready-to-wear clothing for forward-thinking grown-ups and possibly kids too – depending on how willing my 18-month old is to be a fit model for me!

Project Runway season 18 airs on Bravo, Thursday nights at 9 p.m. EST.

Melanie Trygg is owner/designer of KLÄD, a design company located in the Pacific Northwest.

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Do you think that Melanie deserved a second chance to show the judges her design voice?