Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why I don't want to be on Project Runway

It’s been suggested many times by friends/family/people that buy my clothes that I should try out for Project Runway. Not wanting to get into a huge rant, I usually just mumble something along the lines of “Yeah, I’ve thought about it” and then I try to change the subject.

Well, here’s my huge rant. With a little introduction first: In the past I’ve put off making a serious decision on whether or not to audition because I always assumed that my chances of making it on the show were pretty slim. Then several months ago I got an email from their casting department, encouraging me to send in an application for Season 8. Again, I avoided thinking about it, this time because I was busy with school. Then last month I randomly mentioned the email in my tailoring class (Project Runway is a popular subject at fashion school) and my teacher got super excited and basically demanded that I audition. I went home, looked up the email and checked out the application process. By that time I only had a couple days left to submit a biographical 10-minute video and a bunch of other crap. So I put it off again, thinking, maybe next season.

Getting that email made me realize that I do have a reasonable chance of getting picked for the show. Not because of talent, because I’m a fucking weirdo! For reality TV to work, shows need all sorts of characters. Wouldn’t I be great as the token punk rocker on the show? Let’s remember season 2: the winner, Jeffrey, was an ex-junkie neck-tattooed rocker dude. He won because of his design talent, but wouldn’t have gotten on the show if he didn’t have an interesting story to tell.

I like to tell myself that I’m open to whatever crazy experiences life chooses to throw at me. Being on reality TV definitely counts as one of those experiences. And even though I doubt I would win, the show would be a great way to promote Deranged Designs.

But after reading this article, I’ve made my final decision all over again: no!

It’s a little old (published in 2007) and therefore a little outdated…but I’ll get to that later.

If you aren’t going to read this article (yes, all seven pages) you might not completely understand my point…so here’s a summary of a few points in the article:

In the fashion industry, being famous doesn’t pay. You have to have a legitimate business behind you for fame to be of any use. Project Runway isn’t teaching these people how to run a successful clothing line.

Of course there’s a lot more to it than that…just read the damn article.

Now that you’ve read it, here’s what I plan to do instead of spending five months of my life chasing stardom on TV. WORK! I’m almost finished with school and I think I’ve got a good handle on what it takes to run a successful business. I have a lot of plans on how I’m going to make this work out for me, including some changes I need to make, because right now it’s barely paying the bills. In 2 or 3 years I’d like to be able to move my workspace out of this falling down punk house and hire several people to help me out. I don’t care about being rich and famous. I’m not claiming that I don’t love money. But on my list of priorities, it’s not very high. I’d rather live a comfortable life, doing what I love without worrying about whether or not I can afford expensive things. Forget getting my designs on celebrities and in Vogue magazine, I’m happy just going to punk rock shows and seeing my friends wear my stuff. Chasing fame and fortune would involve a lot of sacrifice and probably fuck up relationships with my friends and family. I just want to run a normal business and not let it take over my life.

Which is why this blog post could also be titled “Why I’m not moving to New York or Los Angeles” or “Why I really don’t give a fuck about doing fashion shows all the time” or “Answers to all the questions people ask me that drive me crazy!”

Fashion might look glamorous but making fashion is not. The fashion industry is nothing but the business of manufacturing and selling. I started making clothing because I couldn’t afford Hot Topic when I was 13. (Yes, seriously) I started selling it because it was a good way to avoid getting a job when I was 16, and because I couldn’t fit anymore crappy handmade mini-skirts in my closet. I’m still doing what I do because I’ve moved past the crappy skirt phase and I have found that there is so much more to learn. Everything about fashion design/manufacturing fascinates me. I expect to be happy doing this for the rest of my life.

I don’t need the fame of Project Runway, the expenses of big city life or the glamour of a fashion show to run my business well or to keep me satisfied. Now if only the general public could understand that, and stop bothering me with well-meaning advice! (Really, I appreciate that people are so interested in what I’m doing. It’s just hard to show that when I get asked the same questions so many times.)

One last thing: the exception to the article about the failing Project Runway winners is Christian Siriano, who does seem to have a good business sense and is doing well after winning the show. He can handle being a celebrity AND running a business. He also won the show when he was only 21- more hope for youngsters like me! But that’s not going to change my mind about my goals. He makes a great celebrity. I would not. Thanks for reading.

Christian Siriano link:

PS. Want to read more about the unrealities of Project Runway? I just did a search on my favorite industry website…


  1. Joe Schmo ( Steve the giraffe )May 27, 2010 at 11:57 PM

    wow. I like this blog entry.
    (and we both know how capable you are)

  2. I think just having the knowledge that you're obviously capable of being extremely successful and well known is enough to be proud of. If you gave in to the industry, eventually you'd have less say in what you design and you'd be exploited as a stereotypical punk rocker. Plus if you went on Project Runway, it's a fucking reality show! They would decide how they want to portray you on television and people would gobble it up.

  3. I have read a few of your articles and say you have a good head on your shoulders, even with all that drinking:P The fact that your learning this young is awesome! My advice to you is, give me some advice haha. I don't think I am as comfortable as you speaking my mind on blogs, and I am also approaching the business side of things going, what's the best way to do this NOW? It's nice to come across people who can admit the ups and downs and seem so accessible without the clicks and attitude. I came to the same conclusion as you did about Project Runway, especially after how they treated Mondo. Basically I limit my TV time because it just seems like a bunch of downer judge-me shows. As for the people who think the fashion industry is fun, forgive them for they know not (the long hours planning, setting up, sewing, unpicking, fitting, cleaning threads, arranging for shoots, things or people not showing up on time or not at all, getting stiffed.... ) The good part is when things go right after so many things go wrong. Looking forward to your posts about your internship.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Teddy!

    I was also pretty disappointed with the result of last season's Project Runway. I don't watch too much TV either, sometimes it can be nice to turn off my brain and watch all the dumb stuff that's on, but there are so many better things to do with my time!

    So far my openness on my blog hasn't gotten me into any trouble...that I know of. I might have to become more professional when I try to grow my business. But for now I'll have my fun. Not everything I say should be taken seriously, lol!