One of my favorite television shows is Project Runway, which isn't all that surprising since I am a fan of fashion. I love the crazy competitions (make a dress out of stuff from the dollar store?), the arrogant designers, and the beautiful clothing they create in one day. But the main reason I watch this show? Tim Gunn.
Tim Gunn is a fashion consultant and design expert who started his career at the Parsons School for Design in NYC. He worked his way up to the fashion department, and turned Parsons into one of the most respected fashion schools in the world. His role on Project Runway is that of mentor to the designers. He uses his classic sense of style to provide valuable constructive criticism, always given with a gentle, kind touch. His catch phrase is "make it work", and somehow they always do.
I'm a big fan of Tim's take on clothing. "The most important part of fashion is how it makes the wearer feel. We're all entitled to present ourselves as we choose." Amen.
Last week, Tim went up a hundred notches in my book when he participated in a reality TV roundtable and stated that he would like to do a season of Project Runway featuring only plus-size models.
The facts are these: in the United States, the average woman wears a size 14. Yet what we see on the runway or in fashion magazines are waif like girls modeling garments as if they are merely clothes hangers. Such a terrible disparity between reality and fantasy, and it's doing a disservice to women young and old. Today I'm not discussing healthy weight or ideal size. Not everyone wears a 0, and fashionable clothing should be available for any woman who wants to rock it.
But maybe we're on the right track when someone as well respected in the industry as Tim Gunn says, "When I'm working in the real world with real women and we're shopping, we find that fashion seems to end when you get any larger than a size 12. How ridiculous is that? And most designers that I talk to have absolutely no interest in addressing this population, which I find repugnant."
Thank you for so eloquently saying what many of us have been thinking. Make it work, Tim, make it work.