@gabrielsaldana via flickr
Generally, I have never been a slave to fashion. Call it my Midwest (Iowa?) sensibilities or just a general lack of knowledge and interest, but clothes were never anything but something to wear when I was growing up. I’d just pick up on what my peers were doing and do that (oftentimes poorly), from tight-rolled jeans and Hypercolor shirts to anything a) baggy and b) plaid. My inexperience and lack of interest became disdain.
So when Project Runway first came on the air, I was quick to denounce it as another crappy reality show vying for the attention of the American public. My wife loved it, though, so I had no choice but to put up with it for an hour a week.
Tim Gunn changed my opinion. While a guest on the Daily Show (click here and pay attention at the 3:37 mark), he discusses fashion and that…we don’t need it. Fashion isn’t essential: it’s just of a time and a place. With just a few sentences he completely melted away my apprehension and discomfort, giving me access to a new way to look at fashion.
His words bounced around my head for weeks, and when the new season of Project Runway came on, I sat down and actually watched. Behind the name-calling and passive-aggressiveness, the art these designers produced was simply breath-taking. I developed a respect for them and found myself in passionate conversations with my wife about how certain dresses draped or the unique patterning of a top. I was hooked and haven’t missed a season since (particularly last season where FABIO GOT ROBBED).
When you are living your art, you’re going to meet people who, at best, want to blow you off and criticize you or, at worst, want to intimidate you and knock you out of the game. It’s one thing to steel yourself to these kinds of reactions (you should) but it take a special kind of zen master to remain composed and invite those critics in. Aspire to be Tim in your everyday dealings, because you never know when that crazed critic is going to become your latest convert.