Want to Be a Fashion Designer?

Project Runway guru explains how

Do you have what it takes to be a fashion designer? If you've always wondered, you're not alone. Plenty of iVillage members wonder if their talent and passion for fashion will take them to the top. We asked Project Runway's Tim Gunn to answer their questions.


What's it take to be a fashion designer?

It takes a creative aptitude, a point of view, technical knowledge, a keen business and marketing mind, a collaborative spirit, a respect for the client — and all of this wrapped up in a package of unbridled passion. Gone are the days of the fashion designer as temperamental artiste.


Do you really need to know how to sew to be a designer?

I've heard stories of people who create successful lines of apparel with just a great idea.

At the very, very least, to be a success as a fashion designer, one needs to know how clothes are constructed and sewn. One doesn't necessarily have to experience it firsthand, but it most certainly helps. Without technical experience, a designer is solely reliant upon in-house sample hands or a production factory abroad to implement the concepts. When one has firsthand experience, then one can say to the sample hand or factory, "What do you mean you don't know how to do X? Let me show you."


I love fashion and have designed my own clothes for years. I'd like to take it to the next level. Do I need to go to school for fashion, or is it better to intern at a fashion house?

If you've been designing for years, then by all means have an internship. The only reason that I may recommend a class is if you've not studied fashion history. For my students at Parsons [School of Design in New York City], an historical context for design is extremely important. That's why we require a three-semester sequence of fashion history (we call it "History, Society, Culture" because it's contextual) after a full-year of world art history.


Does being on Project Runway make a difference in people's careers?

Absolutely. The season-three auditions demonstrated that designers believe that the show is good for their career. We had an unparalleled number of seasoned, experienced professionals turn up because they want to take their career to a higher level.


How can I try out for the next season of Project Runway?

Go to BravoTV.com and register for the Bravo Newsletter (click on Newsletter at the bottom of the homepage). You'll receive regular updates, including, eventually, the dates for the season-four auditions.

(Don't miss an all-new season of Project Runway, airing every Wednesday at 10pm/9pm CT, only on Bravo.)

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