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Kelli Martin Showing New Designs on Friday

Melanie McIntyre Melanie McIntyre
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Columbus native and “Project Runway” alum Kelli Martin on Friday will host a preview of 20 new winter looks for her clothing line Anti.Label.

The event, called the Anti.Label Rock and Roll Fashion Show, kicks off at 8 p.m. at What the Rock?!, located at 1194 N. High St. Martin launched Anti.Label in 1999 while she was a 19-year-old student at Los Angeles’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.

“With my first designs, I was paying homage to what I was into at the time: late 70s punk,” Martin says. “Everything was mega tattered, patched, studded, zipped, and strapped! Although my clothing was deconstructed, I always tried to maintain a solid foundation for the garment, primarily to separate me from the average DIY-er. Today, I have mashed together my love of high fashion and street style to create a more wearable, yet not watered down, version of the originals.”

In the following interview, Martin discusses the make-believe love child who inspired some of her latest pieces, where you can buy them, and the “awesome, nice people” who got her to stage a show in the Short North.


Melanie McIntyre: What inspired the new looks featured in your Rock and Roll Fashion Show?

Kelli Martin: The show is in two parts because I can never decide between pretty and ugly. I have to do both, always.

For the first mini collection, I pulled a lot of my colorways from the movie “Mad Max.” Everything is dirty tans, gray, black, slate blue, and cream. I was inspired by Anti.Label, circa 1999, to create a few “higher end” tattered pieces.

The second collection was initially inspired by the idea of Jerry Lee Lewis and Brian Setzer having a baby! I just really wanted to make a royal blue sequin tuxedo jacket. From that spawned a black, cream, royal blue, and silver collection consisting of silk, wool, tweed, and brocades. It is a little more on the fancy side, but still dark and wearable.

MM: What can show attendees expect to see on the runway?

KM: My primary focus was supposed to be on dresses and coats. However, I have a little bit of everything.


MM: How long did you work on the collection, from conception to production?

KM: I have been toying around with ideas for a new collection for some time now because I took off a couple years to “refresh” after Project Runway. The “grungy” collection was initiated about two months ago, although pieces are still being finished up. The second collection I had in my mind, but literally just started sewing two weeks ago!

MM: When and where will these pieces be available for purchase?

KM: I typically sell all of my samples on Etsy. I am slowly building more couture pieces for [Anti-Label.com], as well as some garments that I have multiples of, such as screened Ts. I plan to have everything posted before the end of November at Etsy.com/shop/AntiLabel.

MM: Why host your show at What the Rock?!

KM: Mike [Renner] and Heather [Ziegler] asked me if I would be interested and I said yes! I met them when I had Black Market and they were always such awesome, nice people! I also tend to want all or nothing, so I figured this would be a laid-back, more personal setting to show some of my new collection− kind of like a glorified trunk show.

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