Project Runway was one of a long line of "Kelli does something crazy and fun" adventures for Kelli Martin, the designer said in an interview last week.
Except now, more people are noticing. "Obviously, because people are aware of it now, my seams are a little straighter, and my fit's a little better," she said.
Her North Campus boutique, Black Market, was "bombarded" after the first episode aired, and her detailed yet deconstructed designs are almost completely out of stock now.
But you can expect more "pretty ugly" work from Martin, who grew up wearing crazy thrift-store finds on Columbus' West Side, went the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles and returned two years ago.
Successfully starting a small business in her hometown was important to Martin; down the road, she'll "slowly build my empire."
"I have my hand in so many pots right now. I'm trying to do a little bit of everything, and trying to get more people involved," she said. Martin has studio space in the back of her boutique and recently hired a seamstress - and the two have been "busting our butts."
In November, she'll show a fall-to-winter collection, her first since 2006.
"Kind of going to go with a grunge theme, which is really odd and against what I usually do, but I'm going to have it transition into kind of a more '40s-inspired, Mad Men-type, more feminine stuff," she said. "I'm excited."
Black Market, North Campus
At once both pretty and polished with raw edges and roughness