In early April, the Fashion Institute of Technology hosted a discussion event for Tim Gunn’s new book Fashion Bible following with a Q&A after. Famously known for one of the host of Project Runway; creating the oh-so-famous phrase "Make it work.”, his new show Under the Gunn, beauty expert for Walgreens, and a previous teacher/mentor at the Parsons New School of Design.
"I love learning and education, but I hate school. Not until I got into art and design is where I began to love it. I realized that the answer to a problem isn’t in a book, it is you. Everyone has a different path to follow"
When being offered a job as a teacher at Parsons he was terrified to even accept, "this will either kill you or cure you", since then he has had 29 years of teaching under his belt. Working in Parsons he realized the main problem from the school was the curriculum. He saw how the students were not showing their full potential, there was no individuality being shown. Hated to see how the students were serving the program rather than seeing the student’s vision to design. Wanted students to focus on creating a collection and give them the whole academic year to do that. He stated that is good for students to "try new things; the anxiety, stress, being terrified keeps you attentive." All the students were limited to expand their creativity around the curriculum. He wanted to change that, he wanted to see the student’s vision in design.
When discussing on students learning fashion design he said "Fashion is historical, financial, economical, political; fashion history is important, history of your discipline is important"
His book discusses the fashion pieces throughout the decades and the relevancy of fashion today in the 21st century. In his conclusion chapter he mentioned the irritation towards the non-existent plus-size fashion industry. He stated how designers don’t design for “real women”. In America there is a high demand for plus-sizes, but they are no designers in the industry making them and many refuse to. “Often when I see a collection come out, I wonder, who is the woman these clothes are made? I sure don’t know her”. Even mentioned a conversation with a designer discussing on designing for plus-size, the designer responded by showing no interest in dressing anyone larger than a size 12, cue Gunn’s remark "Maybe you should be!" *you go Tim Gunn, four for you Tim Gunn*
Here is the Q&A from the forum event:
1. Lessons you learned?
"The world owes you nothing. Make your own place, do everything 150%, be patient, have self-discipline, truthful, and have a critical analysis of your work."
2. How do you keep up with fashion trends?
"Don’t believe in chasing trends, it’s only good if it works for you. Don’t follow all these trends, do what is best for your style and body type."
3. What is it like to influence style?
"I am a truth-teller, I respect people, and give confidence. There isn’t a formula for fashion. It is hard because people need a cheerleader, our clothes sends a message how we are perceived. Accept responsibility for what you’re wearing. Everything happens for a reason, when it should.
4. What do you think about the Kim/Kanye Vogue cover? (this set a laughter among the audience)
"well….uhh….it’s Vogue…" *insert the shadiest of shade faces*
His answer and expression made us all laugh, and it sparked curiousity of the past feud with Miss Wintour, and spoke in detail on what exactly happened which was just amusing. In summary of the feud; After Gunn witnessing Ana being carried buy guards (literally carried) down the stairs from a fashion show, since Ana does not ride in the same elevator with
'normal people'. Gunn claps back with "Doesn’t know how to work a Manolo", the comment did not sit well with Ana, starting the whole mini fashion-dispute. Here is Tim Gunn discussing it here on Live with Regis and Kelly
5. How to cultural influence on fashion?
"Enrich other cultures and your own to fashion. Be who you are and let it shine. Know who you are in your core. It is about you, your self-performance and vision. It’s about your work, make it spiritual, and make the results superb."
6. What kind of changes you want in the industry?
"Designers should communicate more with the consumer”
Tim Gunn is inspirational and a humble, sweet person. He is very genuine with every word and answer being given. He truly wants to help each aspiring student to go forward their dreams and to continue to expand our own creativity.
Leaving on a good note, he gave us one last piece of advice "Don’t look over your shoulder, look straight ahead."