Brittany Schock / Asst. photo editor
As a consultant on Bravo’s “Project Runway,” Tim Gunn’s fashion advice is some of the most sought-after in the industry. TV appearances aside, the fashion icon said he’s choosy with speaking in front of a large audience, but Ohio State made the cut.
“I only accept one or two speaking engagements a year,” he said in an interview with The Lantern. “I’m very picky.”
Gunn visited Mershon Auditorium Sunday for an Ohio Union Activities Board-sponsored event.
After Gunn shouted “O-H” to the room and received an enthusiastic “I-O” in return, he said with surprise, “Wow, that really worked.”
He kicked off his speech emphasizing how much he dedicated himself to his studies while in school.
“I was a very serious student. It was the only thing I excelled at,” Gunn said. “Academics were important to me…I thought I had to do something well.”
Recalling when he was called a “nerd” and “geek” in school, Gunn said he embraced the labels his peers gave him.
As an educator for 29 years, Gunn revamped Parsons The New School For Design’s fashion design program, located in New York City, making it one of the top design programs in the country.
“I ended up being a kind of Mr. Fix-It,” he said.
Gunn launched a new fashion design curriculum to Parsons in 2001, which allowed Gunn to make a name for himself in the fashion education industry.
Gunn also said he thinks some students disrespect academics when they dress inappropriately for class, especially when they wear pajamas.
“My feeling is, if you want to dress as though you never got out of bed, don’t (get out of bed),” Gunn told The Lantern.
Gunn advised students to implement the same respect to interview attire as well.
“Dress as though you’re meeting with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company no matter what the field,” he said. “If you land the job … once you get there, you’ll embrace the fashion culture.”
Nothing, including interviews, should be done without “150 percent” effort, Gunn said.
“It’s about assessing your skill level, your conceptual abilities and your experience at that particular time and producing the best work imaginable,” he said.
Gunn told students he applied this ideology to painting his apartment, making a cup of coffee and even cleaning up.
Some of the top student designers from the OSU Fashion Production Association were given the opportunity to show Gunn their best produced work on stage. Each student displayed one outfit they designed for Saturday’s “Step Right Up” circus-themed FPA Fashion Show.
Meghan Plumly, a third-year in fashion and retail studies and international business, designed an outfit inspired by a circus tent.
Gunn said he liked the “wearability” of the garment and was impressed by how well-made it was.
Alexandra Ruiz, a third-year graduate student in architecture, also impressed Gunn with the creation of her own fabric.
“The inspiration for my garment was actually the idea of a module that would then map the body,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz said she created a mold for the material on the computer and was able to create the fabric from there.
“It’s a true marriage of fashion, science and function,” Gunn said of the garment.
Gunn acknowledged Ruiz’s design was within the realm of “kooky” clothes, but his one rule for those kinds of designs is that the model can get in and out of a taxi.
“And she can get into a taxi,” he commended Ruiz.
“Kooky” clothing and runway designs aside, Gunn made a statement to fashion designers and a student in the audience seeking advice for applying to Parsons.
“We don’t need fashion,” Gunn said. “We need clothes. We want fashion.”