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Thread: Is Project Runway Bad for the Fashion Industry?

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Is Project Runway Bad for the Fashion Industry?

    Fashion schools are graduating more students than ever before — enrollment has increased by 34% in the last decade, and over the same period the number of design degrees granted by the top three U.S. institutions has grown by 40%. At the same time, studies project that the fashion industry in the U.S. will continue to shrink overall, with some continued potential for growth in the very competitive high-end sector. So what are all those graduates going to do? And why are they trying to get into a dying industry in the first place?

    Former fashion week head Fern Mallis wonders if it has something to do with reality T.V. "I hate to fault somebody for being overly ambitious but I think that with the advent of Project Runway and all the reality TV, everybody thinks they can be a designer and have their own label the minute they're out of school when they sew two pieces of fabric together," says Mallis, who has a long history of appearing as a judge on such shows, including Project Runway. "[Because of] the proliferation of reality TV shows around fashion…you get a lot of students who just want to participate in this program because they want to be on TV or be a celebrity," says the head of the fashion design program at Pratt, Jennifer Minnitti.


    Is Project Runway Bad for the Fashion Industry? Calvin Klein, Fern Mallis and More Weigh In – Fashionista: Fashion Industry News, Designers, Runway Shows, Style Advice
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Former Project Runway contestants always seem to try to distance themselves from the show after they go out into the world on their own. Christian Siriano has been dealing with Project Runway demons for years, and Rami Kashou, who was on the show twice (and most recently ousted on the Project Runway All-Stars season) told us: “But it’s a game show, it’s nothing more to me. It’s produced.” And according to fashion industry insiders, if you want a career as a fashion designer, you’d best distance yourself from reality TV fashion, too.

    Last night we attended the Pratt Institute student graduate fashion show (more on that later), where Fern Mallis was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award by long-time friend Calvin Klein. Mallis pretty much created New York fashion week as we know it, initiating “the tents” format, and has been in the fashion business forever–many designers count her as a friend and mentor.

    We were chatting with her about advice she would give to future designers, and she had some pretty strong words about the bad influence that reality fashion TV is having on the industry. “I hate to fault somebody for being overly ambitious but I think that with the advent of Project Runway and all the reality TV, everybody thinks they can be a designer and have their own label the minute they’re out of school when they sew two pieces of fabric together,” she told us.

    And if the fashion industry wasn’t already hard enough to break into, shows like Project Runway are driving more students to design school and increasing the amount of competition. Which isn’t so great either. Jennifer Minnitti, the chair of Pratt‘s department of fashion design told us that they’re graduating more fashion students than ever before, and so are other fashion schools. “[Because of] the proliferation of reality TV shows around fashion…you get a lot of students who just want to participate in this program because they want to be on TV or be a celebrity,” she told us. “This is a TOUGH business.”

    Minnitti admitted that the shows are good from the perspective that they make viewers more aware of the industry, but schools are trying to assess students’ motives and wean out the ones who aren’t there to work. Mallis and Minnitti both agreed that time and a lot of hard work behind-the-scenes is what makes a star designer, not being on a TV show.

    And what did Calvin Klein have to say about it? After making a sort of “pffft” sound when we asked him, he said, “A TV show about fashion? That’s a momentary thing.”

    So future designers, step away from the TV and take these words of Calvin Klein wisdom: “To really have success and to really make it you need staying power. That’s not an accident. Those designers work at it all the time, they never stop.”

    Is Project Runway Bad for the Fashion Industry? Calvin Klein, Fern Mallis and More Weigh In – Fashionista: Fashion Industry News, Designers, Runway Shows, Style Advice
    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


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    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
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    I love Project Runway but even the contestants on there are mostly amateurs. There's only ever about 3 or 4 who are really talented/innovative and who can actually sew. The rest are usually making up the numbers and I always wonder how they'll make a living when they go back home.
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