Melanija Knavs was born in
Slovenia (then part of
Yugoslavia) on April 26, 1970.
 Her father, Viktor Knavs, was from the nearby town of
Radeče, and managed car and motorcycle dealerships for a state-owned vehicle manufacturer.
 Her mother Amalija (née Ulčnik) came from the village of
Raka and worked as a
patternmaker at the children's clothing manufacturer Jutranjka in
 As a child, she participated in fashion shows featuring children's clothing, along with other children of workers at the factory.
 She has an older sister, Ines, and an older half-brother whom she reportedly has never met, from her father's previous relationship.
Knavs grew up in a modest apartment in a housing block in
Sevnica, in the
Lower Sava Valley.
 Her father was in the
League of Communists of Slovenia, which prohibited its members from openly practicing religion.
 As was common, however, he had his daughters baptised secretly.
When she was a teenager, Knavs moved with her family to a two-story house in Sevnica.
 Then, as a high-school student, she lived in a high-rise apartment in
Ljubljana. She attended the Secondary School of Design and Photography in Ljubljana,
 and studied architecture and design at the
University of Ljubljana for one year before dropping out.