Project Runway Thoughts

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I just saw the premiere episode of Project Runway on Lifetime. I've watched it for several years now--never regularly, though. I caught an episode here and there, and I recognize the designers from past seasons. The "All Star" 2-hour special that preceded the premiere was really interesting. Seeing all those old designers come back and meld seasons was trippy.

But I have to say, the television show is so far from reality that it's laughable... Having some experience in clothing construction, I know what it takes to make a garment actually work, and the time constraints they are put under are ridiculous. That's not design, that's "what-can-I-get-done-as-fast-as-I-can"... I shudder to think of the quality that's sacrificed simply to staple things together so they can be worn down a runway for 30 seconds (if that). I laugh when I see them struggle to try to rethread a serger or change the needle... Good grief, what world have they been living in that they don't know how to operate the machines they're working with?

I am the first to say that I know nothing about the fashion industry. I blissfully developed what skills I have without having to dip my feet in that cesspool. And I call it a cesspool with respect--it's a damn vicious one where survival of the fittest is the rule of the day. But life is more than that. Theatre taught me that. Life is more than how you look and how you give that first impression. It's more than letting your clothes dictate your "cool factor", or dressing "appropriately" for the job.

Underneath all that industry is a world of real people who buy what comes out of the fashion factory. And the people that I live and breath with, that I value, that I admire and that I ultimately want in my life... well... They're not the people that drive the fashion industry. They're the multitudes of people that wear clothing 3 and 5 years out of fashion. They're the masses that don't pay attention to the latest line arriving at Sax or Nordstrom. They're the average every day joes that have to put two cents together to come up with four.

Fashion is not "the new". Fashion is belief in one's self. Fashion is confidence. Fashion serves whatever purpose is required by the wearer for whatever situation they are in.

It's not slamming together a dress in 24 hours with a bunch of carpet from a restaurant.

That's simply thinking on your feet. And the industry may have an element of that, but it certainly isn't everything.

I would urge you to take Project Runway with a grain of salt. Speed and ingenuity will always take a back seat to heart and care. Real fashion isn't about the designer at all, but how it makes the person wearing it feel. And if they feel good in what they're wearing, that's all that's important.

And the people in my world understand that. They don't want Mr. Blackman judging them on a best/worst dressed list... They don't need him to dictate what "looks good." According to whom??

Wear what you love. Express yourself, and the people who should matter in your life will respect you. If others don't, then they don't deserve to be in your life anyway.

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