Artisan Chris Bergman connects with the show’s followers on Instagram
Jewelry artisan Chris Bergman lives and works in College Park, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C., that—though beautiful and bustling—isn’t exactly a hotbed of creativity.
In the absence of a local creative cohort, the former New Yorker turned to one of her favorite shows, Project Runway, to push herself creatively.
It started last season, when Bergman, who creates eye-popping jewelry in colorful polymer clay and sterling silver, began making a weekly piece inspired by what Project Runway judge Nina Garcia wore on the show. She posted her creations on Instagram with #whatninawore.
For the current season of Project Runway, now on its sixth episode, Bergman tasked herself with essentially doing the design challenges with the contestants—but she gives herself a week to complete each piece. “I usually do a piece that’s based on the winning design,” she says. “But sometimes it’s a piece based on the look that I think should have won.”
Her favorite creation this season was, in fact, inspired by a white dress that in the dark revealed colorful emoji heads. Bergman’s take: a candy-color emoji charm necklace. Looks that pay homage to #whatninawore still pop up on her Instagram. “It’s just me, so there are no rules,” she says with a laugh.
Bergman posts every Runway-inspired piece on the following Thursday to her Etsy store and on Instagram, in antipication of that week’s new episode. Most of the homages, she reports, have sold quickly.
And her split-screen Instagram posts, which feature screenshots from the show next to her new creations, “really get people talking about design,” she says. “It brings out creative discussions.”
The designer has been selling her looks only for a year, so she is still building her clientele. But she reports that her Project project has struck a chord with her clients and fans of the show. She tags the show, Nina Garcia, and contestants in posts, where appropriate, to increase her posts’ visibility. “People are really into it,” she says. “A lot of people like the show, and when they like it, they really like it.”
(Photos courtesy of Chris Bergman Jewelry)