Vivisection: Project Runway

Sometimes I think that DEs send or tell me things just because they know it’ll piss me off. I don’t mean to imply they do it in a mean spirited sort of way but rather as a form of entertainment. I mean, nobody gets mad quite like I do so I can see there’s plenty of potential entertainment value in pissing me off just to see where I’ll run with it. In that vein, many people keep asking me what I think of that TV show Project Runway, knowing full well that I most assuredly won’t or don’t like it. Jinjer (bless her heart) send me the 3 DVD set from last season because she knows I don’t watch TV -at all. Anyway, after having the DVDs for three weeks (sorry Jinjer!) I finally got around to watching the first episode.

For those who remain pure and unsullied -never having witnessed such putrid ugliness masquerading as entertainment- Project Runway is a pathetic pandering to the masses of wannabe fashion designers in the vein of the “Survivor” series. It bears not one whit of realism. Moreover, it is insulting to the professionalism of all those who’ve chosen this trade as their vocation. It reinforces the cultural stereotypes of those who’ve never stepped into a workroom. As most of my visitors know, Project Runway does not represent daily life in the needle trades industry. While I know our history is imperfect, the sum of our tradition deserves better treatment.

I really took issue with the constant references to fashion as being “cut throat”. It’s as though they’re deliberately instilling fear in participants to unseat them. Why? Other than that it makes for better TV -an abject fiction- I think the process and the message instills in viewers (and participants) the tendency to gestate the basest of instincts in people. I really dislike how they’ve played up the calculating angle, it doesn’t work like that in real life. The people you work with are not your enemy. Other designers are your colleagues, not your competitors. There is plenty of room in the market -do you only listen to one band or enjoy one actor/actress to the exclusion of others? I thought not.

Similarly, I resent the message that it is only fashion that is a worthwhile endeavor. The reality is, fashion is the smallest segment of the sewn products industry. As a matter of fact, it is the sewn products side -utility producers of goods- who are holding up half the sky. Or rather, about 57% of it. Apparel production constitutes about 43% of the industry with high fashion portion of that pie at about 3%. Now, if fashion were so successful and thus worthy of emulation, wouldn’t their slice be larger? As it is, it’s well known that many of America’s top designers are running record losses. Some of them are known to be sleeping on their parent’s sofas. That’s success? That’s a worthy goal for young people? It’s ludicrous. Any day of the week, I’d be willing to bow down to the mundane manufacturer of car seats, baby slings, tablecloths, throw pillows and uniforms because they are the ones providing the jobs. They’re the ones providing opportunity and the mechanisms by which families can support themselves. Who wants to work for an arrogant, self absorbed prima donna who can’t make payroll? That is success? Rather, I’d argue this is an absolute perversion.

The overwhelming cultural message is that fashion is the only endeavor worthy of public admiration to the extent that people within this industry have also internalized that belief themselves! This pains me. Sewn products manufacturers get no respect. Nothing is geared for their needs, very little addresses the basic needs they have day in and day out. Sadly, I’d have to conclude this site is similarly guilty of making short shrift of their needs. Several times a week, I get letters from sewn products producers who are practically apologizing for failing to produce “fashion”. It’s as though they’re apologizing for their own existence when these people are the backbone to our industry. They are the companies employing thousands, they’re the ones making payroll, they’re the ones buying fabrics and machines, they’re the ones providing opportunities and growth. They deserve much more of our respect. Sewn products producers hold up more than half of our sky.

Returning to my vivisection of Project Runway (I don’t believe my computer can handle of the bytes of data I can spew in derision), here are some of the problems I see with it. For one, most successful entrepreneurs in this business have never gone to design school. In Project Runway, all but 3 did. I reviewed the education history of the contestants and compared the tuition they paid and compared that to their rankings in the show. The bottom 60% of contestants paid 300% more in tuition at expensive (private) design schools than the top 40% of contestants did, so at least that bears some resemblance to real life. You don’t need an expensive private school education to make it in this business. In fact, the person who spent the most on tuition (Daniel, aka arrogant ass #2) was the first eliminated. For the contestants without a design school background, I calculated their tuition as zero because it was. In real life, most entrepreneurs don’t have a design school background, they’re coming from other fields.

Now, since I went to Bravo’s website to do my research, I already know who “won” (it is splashed on the loading page, otherwise I didn’t “cheat”). Regardless, here are my impressions of the contestants based on viewing one episode. From one episode you can’t tell much but I will still offer what I saw in each of the contestants that drew my attention. Perhaps I’ll amend this as I view the other episodes.One thing you must understand before you read this is that I didn’t actually view their designs. Success has nothing to do with design talent! Nothing!

Most likely to succeed in real life: Kara. No doubt about it. While initially taken aback by the lack of a model, she was able to regroup. She had the guts to go to the mat and canvass the streets looking for a model even though it was likely she’d be considered a fruit cake or some kind of scammer. She didn’t panic. She was dismayed but she didn’t panic. She regrouped. In real life, I think she’ll be a winner. And no, I don’t give a damn what her clothes look like. She’d be just as successful making tea cozies. Of all the contestants, I’d think she’d be the easiest client to work with.

Most likely to be ignored by contractors, suppliers and service providers: Austin. What a putz. While I know that the popular image is that flaming queens are the most common among fashion designers, this belief is utterly and patently false. How can you take a guy seriously who’s wearing foundation? His every camera shot was orchestrated, seemingly well practiced in front of a mirror. You don’t see these kinds of mannerisms naturally displayed by anyone other than 9 year old girls. How can you take this guy seriously in a cutting room? For my part, I’d wait for the check to clear before I started any of his work.That said, I think he has some options if he can leave theater behind. He’s no dummy and he’s talented.

Least likely to weather a crisis: Starr. What happened with this chick? She’s an attorney -most attorneys cum designers don’t act like she did although they do have a tendency to hedge their bets. Usually they make better backers or product developers than designers. I think she was too easily taken in by her surroundings, believing all the trappings. I think her greatest liability was that she had the most to fall back on so she pulled her punches. Considering her relative security, I don’t think she gave herself a fair shot. It’s as though she felt she didn’t belong when she could have. I see a lot of DEs who do Starr-like things. Take some lessons from her. Give yourself a chance and give it all you’ve got. I don’t care what cushions you have to land on. Assume you have nothing. If she were an entrepreneur, she strikes me as the type most likely to be affected by “paralysis by analysis”. Her posture was to react, rather than to take any initiative.

Most likely to never make it as a designer: Daniel. This guy was arrogant, almost as arrogant as Jay. A butcher paper jacket? What was he thinking? Utterly unimaginative and he was lazy; designing is a lot of hard work. I really hate designers who act like they don’t care what they look like; he needed to wash and brush his hair, it looked dirty and unkempt. Utterly convinced of his own superiority, he was shocked to be eliminated, he never saw it coming. He’ll be lucky to get any job as an assistant or at most, a second-string designer. His highest career aspiration would be to get a job as “button designer” for RL. Then again, maybe Wal-Mart will hire him but I think they’re too smart for that. His tuition certainly paid off poorly.

I have three runners-up for the category of not making it as a designer and they are Vanessa, Nora and Wendy. Vanessa and Nora aren’t team players. I don’t know why I say that, I just don’t think they are. If you want to make it in this business, you have to be a team player. This whole competition thing of one against all others is crap. In real life, you have to work with your teams to make it. There is no room for prima donnas, only leadership. I think Wendy would only have a chance as an entrepreneur but even then I think she’d have a tough going of it. Wendy strikes me as someone who pretends to be nurturing and supportive but I got a feeling of passive-aggressiveness from her. She seemed too quick to play mommy. I worked with designers like this. On the surface, they mother the world but if things don’t go their way (often with unrealistic demands), they’re known to eat their young.

Most likely to take the most bodies down with him when he goes up in flames: Jay. I know he won because the site spoils it for you, splashing it on the load page. This guy is an arrogant ass, more so than Daniel (arrogant ass #2). He had the nerve to say that if he was eliminated, it would mean there wasn’t one whit of design appreciation and taste from the panel of judges. Jay isn’t particularly talented per se but he has a forceful personality and he’s bright. He’s someone I wouldn’t trust; I don’t see him as someone who is likely to develop long term relationships with production and suppliers, rather, he strikes me as an opportunist. If he gets the right backing, I could see him becoming “successful” ala Tommy H -for a time- provided he matures and stops leaving a bunch of bodies around that he has to keep stepping over. As a woman, I think he’s gross, he makes my skin crawl.

In real life, jerks aren’t successful. Nobody wants to work for a jerk. If you’re a jerk, you’re going to have problems that more socially astute people will never have. You’ve created unnecessary barriers for yourself. This business is not the exclusive domain of hoity-toity design school graduates. Rather, the latter are the exception, not the rule. And again, fashion is not survival of the fittest one. There is lots of room in this business for talent and brains wherever you’re coming from. Successful companies are constituted of talented, hard working teams who are led by team oriented leadership. Success doesn’t mean mandating that your underlings comply with your slightest whims; there is no royalty here. Anyone can make it in this business. The messages propagated by Project Runway are unmitigated fiction that insults the commitment of people who’ve made this their chosen vocation. It is insulting to have one’s career summarized by such a caricature.

Oh, and in real life -for most companies- the significance of models is zero. Trust me, most companies never hire models beyond product shots for catalogs. You certainly do not hire models before you’ve decided what to design. Models have no say in the development of styles. Of all the ridiculousness of the show, the relatively important position that models had was the greatest fiction. I guess if you had to rely on a one-shot deal at being “successful” (in other words, not being eliminated) then it’d matter. Otherwise, it just sends the message that models are yet another barrier to the success of launching a designer entrepreneur.

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  1. christy fisher says:

    BRAVO (pun intended) Kathleen!
    I hate to admit that I do watch this show because it makes me feel better about myself ;-)
    (and I like to throw spitballs at some of the jerks- it’s a stress release)
    It is a joke.. and although the people you refer to are from the first season gets worse in the next season..(BTW Daniel follows his bliss right back into the next season)..
    One interesting note:
    Jay basically flipped off Bravo after winning and refused the Banana Republic mentorship in leiu of (hold your cookies) his OWN show (Yes, called Project Jay..which will follow the airing of Project Runway next season)
    I so agree with you that this just reinforces bad behavior and is totally unrealistic.
    Unfortunately, I see a lot of young people who are emulating these people..I see them at shows, in booths, as well as putting on local runway shows. they don’t want to be designers- they want to be pop stars.
    The whole idea that a runway show is the be-all and end-all of this biz is ludicrous..
    MANY great selling lines NEVER show on the runway.
    St. John just showed on a runway for the first time last season- and only because they are switching gears to cater to a younger crowd.
    Oh well..
    Carry on…

  2. Jess Latham says:

    Project Runway is my guilty little pleasure! I know it’s utterly ridiculous but I can’t help it! I love the show! I knew if you ever saw it you’d rip it a new one, lol.

  3. Danielle says:

    I love Project Runway – it’s the only show I look forward to! You took it awfully personally Kathleen. What do you expect from a television show? Project Sewn Product Manufacturing doesn’t quite have quite the same ring, though no doubt it would entertain people like us… it’s a game show, not a documentary, so I don’t get your gripe.

    As an aspiring designer I would never want to be a contestant on the show, because you’re right, it’s basically a spotlight for prima donnas and arrogant asses – that’s what makes it so darn entertaining. I love being entertained.

    I find that a fair comparison would be with fashion design school, what with the deadlines, the competitive atmosphere and the shared work quarters. Though the educational value of the show is beside the point, I find that those without fashion experience who have watched it have a greater appreciation of the ability involved in making an outfit in a short amount of time, because the show makes it apparent that it is not something that “anyone can do”.

    Oh my goodness… I am now sullied with putrid ugliness in addition to being a fashion design grad. I should probably just move back in with my parents and give up, eh?

  4. Josh says:

    I’m so glad you finally watched Project Runway Kathleen! This is exactly the kind of discussion I’ve been wanting to have about this show. You ripping PR a new Ahole is the best thing I’ve read all year! To me it’s equivalent to a SciFi show on fashion lol, I’ve never taken it seriously but it does entertain. It’s the show you love to hate. Admit it you can’t wait to see the rest of the shows!

  5. Danielle says:

    I’m just kidding about moving in with my parents again ^ I never thought design school would be a liability! Don’t take me too seriously… I’m more entertained by your post than offended.

  6. Diane says:

    Last season escaped me but last Wednesday I played catch up on the current one while doing some hand sewing. I’m glad you exposed it for the fiction that is really is. The arrogance is over the top but it is amusing to hear Heidi Klum profess over and over “One day you’re in and the next day you’re out”! If you read the bios of the current group you’ll see that some of them are DE’s with sewn products. If they are already running a business then why would they care about a mentorship with Banana Republic? Is the lure of a new Saturn too good to pass up? How far can you go with 15 minutes of fame? In Jay’s case, TOO far!! Ok, it’s just TV. It doesn’t have to make sense!

  7. Camille C says:

    I’ve never seen it. I’ve looked at the websites at the clothes but was unimpressed. I like Chloe’s designs. I’m just one of the rare individuals in this world who doesn’t watch a lot of reality TV. I can’t debat it too much because i haven’t seen it, but it is just TV!

  8. Alison says:

    As an outsider to the industry I see the show rather differently. (I missed the first season, but I’m watching the second season together with the British version, Project Catwalk.)

    Kathleen’s point about the presentation of competitiveness between designers being completely wrong is well taken, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s a game show, and to me the competition between designers is just a convenient way of representing the strictures of the marketplace. “Fashion has no mercy” translates to me as “retail has no mercy.” It never occurred to me that we are supposed to think that real designers have to worry about the success of other designers. So for me at least, this aspect of the show is not problematic.

    I do know that an entrepreneur has to get up and work hard every day, and meet the challenges of that day. I enjoy that aspect of the series. I like watching the designers try to figure out how to balance budget, time, their vision and the customer’s needs. Some get a better balance than others. Again, the tv show is a cartoonish representation of what happens in the real world, but aren’t these real concerns?

    What I really like is that judgement is pronounced: this dress is *better* than that dress, together with some explanation of why. Kind of like what Kathleen does here on her blog: this technique is *better* than that technique. It’s not just about what you feel like: some things are actually better, and can be argued and discussed.

    Clearly the episodes are rigged for the sake of plot and personality, but even then we are treated to a comparison of what are supposed to be the best and worst and an explanation of what was good and bad, before someone is arbitrarily declared a “winner” and someone else is less arbitrarily declared “out.”

    I find this reassuring coming from a country whose president goes around saying things like “research and evidence are not important to me, because I believe something else” as if everything comes down to personal conviction, and discussion is meaningless. It gives me hope for the future. When the political leadership is morally corrupt, it’s up to silly television game shows to show the way.

  9. Big Irv says:

    Nice summary of the show. I doubt you will need to watch the remaining episodes. Jay won ! Who cares ?
    Kathleen, in “real life”, if any of this attitude and behaviour of the contestants made it’s way to our factories, the relationship wouldn’t last past the first hour. I do see “attitude” from all walks, but this is just a very inaccurate depiction of our business. If I’m not comfortable with a client in any way, I will let them know my feelings, and if we can’t work anything out, we both move on.
    I am surprised that no one was seriously hurt filming this show.

  10. LeAnna says:

    I actually love PR for entertainment sake. I like rooting for the designers I think have something, and booing and hissing prima donnas.
    However- even when I am watching it, I’m often confused and befuddled about much of the show. This actually put alot of things about the show in perspective. After I read Kathleens book, and since I’ve been reading this blog I think I think I watch it much differently.
    Especially some of the judges comments, and the designs they like. They contradict themselves in they way that sometimes they’ll say a design isn’t wearable, but they’ll often choose a very artsy piece as a winner ( I’ve noticed this alot in the 2nd season)
    I also don’t think decisions are ever made by how easily/difficult pieces would be to manufacture.Your post was a good read, and I agreed with alot of it.
    I also aprecciate the fact that you’ve made it clear that you don’t have to be a design school graduate to succeed in the industry.

  11. Milan says:

    Like most of the opinions expressed above me, I too feel that you have the wrong impression of the show. I personally do not tune in for the ‘cut-throat’ entertainment, but for the consistent innovation and vision that excites me on a day-to-day basis. In other words, the show is inspiration for people not accustomed to this industry or any branch of it. I’m a graphic designer, and yet fashion and garment design inspire me far more than anything else can or will. I don’t have a stiff perspective of the show, nor do I take it seriously. I appreciate the fact that programs like this provide exposure to an otherwise (as you mentioned) dying industry.

    I mean, almost every point you brought up is sort of obvious to the average viewer. We know you don’t have to go to school to make it in the design industry, for example. Those contestants just happened to be the only ones who stood in line and auditioned for the show.

    Overall, I think the producers of this show have their heart in the right place. They just find themselves catering to certain demands for network ratings and television trends.

  12. Carol Kimball says:

    Milan: “almost every point you brought up is sort of obvious to the average viewer”

    Unfortunately, my perspective is that they’re not. I don’t have TV either and only glanced through the web site stuff on the first season (never made it to the end), and am fairly isolated up here in the mountains, but I can’t tell you how many times in the past year someone has introduced me and had the new acquaintance respond, “like on PR?!” having a very difficult time squishing me into that weird skewed box. These were not stupid or ignorant people, either, just responding to the pervasive influence this (alas, successful) show has splashed into too many brains.

    Kathleen has spent a major part of her life deliniating the reality of this business for D-E’s. If anything, her response is amazingly restrained.

    “Reality TV” may be the oxymoron (emphasis on moron) of the 21st century.

  13. Josh says:

    Milan, Regardless of how you feel about the show, Kathleen is right to say what she’s saying if for only to educate people the reality of the apparel industry. A lot of people watch the show and think it is the reality of fashion. It’s important that someone explain otherwise. I think it’s safe to say Kathleen is the first to do so.

    Where does Kathleen say that fashion is a dying part of the industry? She says it’s a small part of the industry. Doesn’t mean it’s dying. It’s probably always been a small part of the industry.

  14. Dave says:

    These producers don’t have their heart in the right places at all. They are doing the industry a major disservice by the way they are portraying it. Reality TV has created a need for subject matter, and this year it is “high fashion”. What’s next ? ” A day in the life of a Walmart Greeter ” ? . Their hearts are in their back pocket.

  15. Mary says:

    I’m a brand new reader – not in the industry at all – simply fascinated by the business side of it.

    I do come from a fine arts background and was in an industrial design program at one university and graduated with fine arts/graphic design degree from another.

    The reason that I like Project Runway so much is that it really captures the experience of being in a competitive art program (at least in my experience). Of the 100+ people who entered the program I graduated from, only a handful graduated.

    But, that educational environment was a fantasy world – much like the one portrayed on Project Runway (and I work in a totally different field now – not even using my degree). Professors opinions were subjective and hypocritical. Real world production was not a consideration. In many cases projects that could meet production standards were denigrated the most severely in critiques.

    I’m not really sure what the producers of Project Runway are trying to depict. The real fashion world? That seems unlikely. They’ve done a great job of capturing the fantasy world of many college fine art/design programs and I enjoy it for what it is. Glad that it’s not me up there!

  16. Andrea says:

    Hi all:

    I really agree with Kathleen. And it’s refreshing to hear. MAny people ask me if I am a die hard fan of PR. The whole idea just offends me. I have to work really hard to get my stuff out there, it’s like a competition with the world….why do I need to see it re-enacted on TV. The worst part of it, is that I was actually starting to think I was being stupid for feeling that way!!

  17. Susan McElroy says:

    I saw bits of this show for the first time this week and couldn’t really sit through it. But two comments on Kathleen’s post above really set me to thinking all day: One, that it’s a “game show”. How true! That’s more perceptive than it seems. Flashing lights, celebrity one-liners and prizes behind curtains are boring, so now we have game shows with pseudo-reality backdrops to bring in viewers so somebody can sell cars or deoderant or whatever else is advertised. (The real reason for the show, after all) It doesn’t need to be really real if viewers keep watching the commercials.

    The second comment was that it might not portray the real world but it does portray at least in some manner the “real” world of the fashion design school. That is (probably–I’ve no direct experience) absolutely spot-on. I believe one of the problems with prima donna designers is not that they’re inherently arrogant, but they’ve been sold in some ways a bill of goods by the design schools. I.e., “You (the student) pay us big bucks so we can make you into a “designer” who can demand a big-bucks salary when you graduate, though actually all we’ve done is exchanged xx years of our classes for your big bucks so you can go out there and compete with everybody else for work when they’re over. Hopefully we’ve given you some advantage, but of course there’s no guarantee of that–if there were we’d find a job for you when you leave.”

    That’s a very cynical view of higher education, and I’m sure I’ll get some heat for it, but I lived for decades in the academic world, and I stand by it.

  18. Karen says:

    I love Project Runway. I’m aware that it’s a game, and it doesn’t bother me. I think that it’s great that the competitors have to design, draft/drape, cut, and sew everything themselves, albeit under contrived circumstances. “Real” designers (and we have some great ones in my little town) have to do a lot of that work themselves, and don’t make much money from it. I see too many teenagers who think that designing is just about drawing a pretty picture of a girl in a prom dress and having someone else do all the grunt work.

  19. Michael says:

    Heh. Shows like these remind me why I don’t watch television.

    I’m hesitant to pound on people who went to design school, since I went myself (Bachelor of Science degree in Apparel Design and Production from Colorado State University, thank you very much). To paraphrase Michael Douglas’ character in “Wonder Boys,” you can’t teach someone how to design. What I got was some tricks of the trade and exposure to broad concepts in textiles, production, draping, pattern making, economics, social-psychology of clothing, etc. Going to school doesn’t make someone a successful designer (I should know). Tenacity, experience, contacts, intelligence, will serve a designer better than being able to make pretty pictures. While I don’t “idolize” anybody, I do admire people like Ralph Lauren and Daymond John (FUBU). Polo started by selling ties at Brooks Brothers. FUBU got started Daymond making and selling tie-tops (People magazine, 3/17/97. I have the article taped to my wall).

    I think a lot of the “winners” on those shows are washouts (must not be colorfast). The only winner is the TV station, and only if the show gets ratings. In order to get ratings, the show should be dramatic/funny/whatever. The more people who watch, the more they can charge advertisers.

  20. La BellaDonna says:

    You’re stronger than I am, Kathleen; I couldn’t bear to actually watch all the episodes, since I don’t enjoy that kind of interpersonal drama and competition. My preference would be the KT show, starring Kathleen Fasanella and Tim Gunn, who show us What Works And Why, but I don’t think I can get it sold. What I did was look at the designs and read an awful lot of reactions.

    The most interesting thing to come out of the entire show, I think, is that this season (and I haven’t even looked at all the designs for it this year), is that Ass #2, Daniel, applied for a second opportunity. He came back humbled, hardworking, talented, and standup. Oh, and tidier! He was a totally different person – someone with talent and a strong work ethic, and someone I’d work with and/or for. He’s one of the very few participants I wound up respecting.

    Now, if someone could just edit everything so it’s just the segments with Tim Gunn, I’d buy that collection in a heartbeat.

    I think Jay was a fool to be in such a big hurry to put his name on a failure, but I’m not surprised. Reminds me of a recent event at a local fabric store (the one that’s closest to the design schools, as opposed to down on Fabric Row):

    ME: scrounging through fabrics and clutching treasures

    ENTER: Two young Austin Scarlett Wannabe’s, talking loudly to each other, about needing “point two five yards” of whatever. The ASWs accost the owner, and he shows them the velvets. They are unaware of the difference between rayon velvet and silk velvet. We didn’t confuse them further with cotton velvet. As they wafted past me, I stage-whispered, “It’s a “quarter of a yard!” They looked at me in total non-comprehension.

    As they paid for their fabric, they started to drift off, with the owner saying they were owed fifty cents in change. They waved it off, and I couldn’t stand it. I called to them through the store to go back and get their change, and scolded them about it being a bad habit to get into. It might not matter in school, but it would during a production run.

    I’m sure they thought I was a nut, but they got their change and wafted out. The owner and I exchanged looks, and commentary. He’d been doing the eyeroll over the “point two five yards,” saying (to me) that nobody who’s actually in the business talks like that. We commiserated over the student population, since he gets to see a LOT of them. His take? These were two who were not going to make it. That was my take, too. But I’ll bet this pair thinks they’re going to be the Next Big Thing, and that all they need to do is land on Project Runway.

  21. Olga says:

    Designing clothes is my hobby, I also like competitions and kind of enjoyed watching the first season. But then it’s become unhealthy, seems like it’s not about fashion design anymore. I think, personality is important in any industry, and Project Runway is just another TV show – not more than that.

  22. Leighel says:

    I just happened to see the same episodes you are talking about because my daughter rented the the tapes and brought them to me. You see I don’t watch tv either so it was my first time. I agree with you the show has nothing to do with what actually happens in the industry. I mentor some young people coming into the business and I constantly have to remove the “Project Runway” brainwashing. It’s not easy but somebody’s got to do it.I am going to put a link to this article on my website.

  23. Seth Meyerink-Griffin says:

    I haven’t seen the show, and have no intention of doing so; I *hate* reality television. (If I wanted reality, I would hang out in the alley next to my apartment and watch the gang members and homeless people.)

    Since I haven’t seen the show, this question might sound a little dumb. Are the contestants selecting fit models or runway models? I have been operating under the assumption that a fit model is fairly important, but a runway/photo model is only important insofar as they have the same size/body type as the fit model.

  24. Kathleen says:

    They are selecting runway models AS their fit models. The horror of it all. This practice certainly hasn’t helped improve consumer knowledge of the industry at all. Btw, your assumptions are correct.

  25. Rebecca says:

    Kathleen, reading your book and your posts about the real sewn product manufacturing relieves so many of my fears of the big bad fashion industry… Thank you. Thank you. It is such a weight off my shoulders to know that my intentions to design good garments doesn’t HAVE to compete in the realm of fashion. I spend so much of my time studying garment construction, understanding better fit and better fabric use… I really don’t have time to be on top of fashion right now. BUT, I do think I know what kinds of clothes are good garments that we go-to when we open our closet for what to wear. Your realism is good for us as we design in the face of Project Runway’s scary hold on viewer’s sense of fashion and/or garment-quality. Thanks again.

  26. In the years since Project Runway aired, I really feel like it has been detrimental to the fashion industry. There are now thousands of wannabe people trying to be designers and get famous. They create horrible watered-down “fashion” and are elbowing out people with real skill with their loo-at-me diva attitudes. Sometimes, it makes me really feel ashamed to call myself a designer.

    On another point, Jay hasn’t done too bad for himself. He does some cool, colorful fabric design and has a clothing line that is ok. It’s very mall-hipster type looks. Certainly not high fashion.

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