'Project Runway' Star Patricia Michaels Takes Aim at NY Fashion Week

Courtesy – Oneida Indian Nation

The crowd at Turning Stone Resort Casino looks on as the giant 20th Anniversary cake, created by Buddy Valastro, is unveiled Sunday.

At midnight, fashion designer and Project Runway season 11 runner-up Patricia Michaels launched her revamped PM Waterlily company -- via her twitter.com/h2opmwaterlily feed. The relaunch becomes official tonight, Thursday, July 18, at Rouge Cat, a downtown Santa Fe nightclub. (Rouge Cat is located at 101 West Marcy in Santa Fe; the fun starts at 5:30 PM and the suggested donation is $5.00) Team Patricia will announce their Indiegogo fund-raising campaign, which has a target of 49K in 49 days -- see indiegogo.com/projects/project-pm-waterlily for details.

The $49,000 will go toward expenses of preparing, travelling and showing her next collection at New York Fashion Week. Following the PMWaterlily fundraiser the event will morph into a viewing party for the premiere of Project Runway season 12.

Team Patricia is undergoing start-up glitches but is starting the campaign, because time is limited and there will be more fund-raising events along the way. Patricia’s loaded schedule has her back and forth across the country and while it’s all good, in the end what’s important is studio production, the quality of her lines, the time frame, and the shows on either end of the country. This will all build-up as shows, events and publicity get bigger because as they say, there’s always the next one. This requires a well oiled machine, or more to form, a well loved harmonious natural organism.

Flyer for Patricia Michaels PMWaterlily fundraiser July 18 at Rouge Cat, 101 West Marcy in Santa Fe

To get this organism on the good red road, think about organizing the elements of a touring band, an orchestra, a big top circus, and a pow-wow from city to city. There’s probably no contract, label advance or sponsor. You have to rent the venue, pay everything to prepare the show, travel the whole company, maybe the stage show changes, you pay to invite an audience who don’t have to buy tickets to the venue yet want to be entertained, and then maybe they will purchase something from you. At some point you also have to pay all your support staff, and then pay your team and yourself.

Patricia points out that entertainers, performers and installation artists get paid for their art and talent. Fashion Designers don’t get paid outright yet have to pay models, photo and video-graphers, advertising, licenses, fees, insurance, drivers, wranglers, food, seamstresses, artists, dyes, paints, tools, fabric, sewing machines, production and event crew, studio and technology needs. The extensive list can be seen when you go to the site to donate. As an angel you could donate to cover specific needs or donate in-kind services. Like other community fund-raisers, small donations from friends and fans will be the bulk of donations. There will be incentives for donors, including t-shirts, scarves, coats, VIP tickets, studio visits, VIP Runway guests, and other high end incentive rewards.

Fashion designers have been putting on shows before touring bands and installation artists, their events are high culture or cutting edge avant-garde. And it seems strange to us that they don’t get paid unless they have contracts. Michaels also compares it to high end jewelers who only make so many pieces, and charge accordingly. A fashion designer usually can not charge as much as a high end jeweler and the fashion piece has to fit exactly on the individual.

Patricia Michaels designs. Source: instagram.com/pmwaterlily

She describes her Ready-to-Wear line as eco-friendly at all levels. Her work is always in tune with nature and the environment, inspired by the elements and conscious of protecting the earth in these modern times. The natural world is the driving force behind the PM Waterlily design process. Dyes are nature based, fibers are from local sources, the textile printing and hand painting emphasize the minimal machine work. This all reduces waste and conserves energy, seeking a balance with our earth. Part of the design and concept is to mix and match, move from casual day to formal evening, create layers or go minimal, create many looks for yourself. It’s about being a smart consumer, eco-friendly in your choices and becoming the medium and wearing the message.

At one point on Project Runway, some hyper critical judge said “who would wear this?” That probably meant, it doesn’t look like all the same sleek black stuff we all usually wear, it’s so different and organic. You have to be willing to understand and embrace the concept, how we are all related, how everything we do connects to each other. There’s no sweat shops, no mistreatment, the only geo-politics are about protecting the earth.

Patricia calls all supporters Seeds, and the poetic metaphors continue with levels of awareness and participation: seeds, birds, feathers, trees, branches, leaves, trunks, roots, earth, sky, water, rivers, plants, animals, our communities, our nations and our mother earth. How we all contribute to growth and success. How we all share the same elements, how we all share the same difficulties and struggles. How we are all related.

Visit Patricia Michaels on Facebook at facebook.com/PatriciaMichaelsPmWaterlily and at her official site, patriciamichaelsfashion.com.Thursday night's fundraiser and Project Runway viewing party takes place at Rouge Cat, 101 West Marcy in Santa Fe. Suggested donation is $5.