Local Designer and Model on Bravo’s "Styled to Rock"

Designer Kristie Metcalf is Seattle's hope on Bravo's "Styled to Rock"

Bravo TV’s “Styled to Rock” is my latest fashion reality show obsession. I love, love, love it. It’s totally awesome and the added bonus: there’s a (totally inspirational) Seattle-based designer, Kristie Metcalf (a 2012 Seamless in Seattle contestant), and gorgeous model, Teela (also our current Seattle Bride cover model). The show, produced by Rhianna and hosted by super duper style stars Pharrell Williams, Erin Wasson and Rhianna’s stylist, Mel Ottenberg, is a competition show, where edgy rock and roll designers duke it out for a huge prize package including $100,000, a fashion feature in Glamour magazine and a place on Rihanna’s design team. Each week even more super duper style stars show up as guests, including Kylie Minogue and Kelly Osborne, for whom the designers must create an outfit befitting their fabulosity.

I connected with Metcalf to find out about her and what’s next now that she’s been bitten by the TV bug.

Alison Brownrigg: How long have you been designing?
Kristie Metcalf: Really, since I was a kid. I was always making weird things, like conceptual art sculptures out of construction paper, or leather mini skirts for my American Girl doll. My senior year of high school I was lucky enough to take a fashion design course. It was a surprisingly cool course for a Salt Lake City public school, yet our small class of fashionistas had to share the room with Home Ec class. While most of the other kids were making flannel PJ pants I was making my Dior inspired prom dress.

AB: Did you go to design school locally?
KM: I did my undergrad work at Western Washington University, where I was a Fairhaven (interdisciplinary) major. I studied costume design along with fine arts and women’s studies. More recently, I studied fashion design at New York Fashion Academy here in Seattle.

AB: Where is your studio?
KM:My backyard. It’s little cottage that my partner and I converted from a tool shed. We did all the insulating, dry wall and flooring ourselves. It was quite a project. I love my space. I can watch our chickens roaming around the yard while my assistant—our cat Prince—dozes in a chair overseeing the final product.

AB: How do you describe your design aesthetic?
KM: Colorful, feminine, modern. I have a very Scandinavian design sense. I’m all about form and function but a little quirky too.

AB: How did you hear about “Styled to Rock” and had you been considering going on reality TV for a while?
KM: I actually received an email from “Styled to Rock”. I almost ignored it thinking it was spam! I’ve been a big fan of shows like “Project Runway” for years and always thought, “Oh, maybe someday I’ll apply.” When this offer came along, really out of the blue, it seemed like such a fun twist on the genre that I thought why not try for it, never really thinking I would actually get on the show. It was totally on a whim, but I think sometimes the best things happen that way. Sometimes you just have to follow your gut and go for it.

AB: What was the biggest challenge/pressure you felt during the show?
KM:They had bad coffee. It came out of a huge can. Discount coffee. On the serious side, it was the physical environment more than the time constraints that created the pressure. I’ve worked in theater in the past, making costumes with tight deadlines and big personalities, so that aspect was nothing new to me. However, dealing with that on top of sharing a big loft style living space with said personalities, little to no privacy, very long days and little sleep, and knowing every moment was being filmed. Everyone was constantly on. It was very intense, very draining to be under the microscope every waking minute.

AB: Have you dressed any local rock stars?
KM: Not yet. Hey rock stars! Call me!

AB: What local designers do you admire?
KM: I love so many local designers it’s hard to pick. I admire not only Cameron Levin’s designs but also her commitment to women’s causes and her role in organizing The Pink Carpet Project. Also, I’ve been obsessed with Meghann Sommer’s jewelry lately. I love the unique effect of her pieces; they’re both ethereal and modern.


Teela (TCM Models and Talent) Photo by RYAN MCVAY

AB: What was the biggest lesson you learned from the show?
KM: That you’ve got to trust your gut. From applying to the show, to choices I made during the challenges, the best ones I made were when I listened to my intuition, even if it meant taking a big risk.

AB: Of course, we don't know the outcome of the show yet, but what's next for you?
KM: Launching my line, Calotype. I’m committed to making my mark in Seattle and want to be part of building the fashion scene here in the Pacific Northwest.

AB: Is there anyplace in town where people can shop your line?
KM: Velouria boutique in Ballard and CalotypeDesigns.com. I will be showing and selling my work at Fashion Riot at Teatro Zinzanni on November 26 and doing another trunk show at Velouria on December 14.

Root for our girl, KM, on Friday at 8 p.m. on Bravo.