Tim Gunn—educator, author, and co-host and mentor for the smash fashion design reality show Project Runway since its debut in 2004—spoke to a packed house of students at the Haft Auditorium on April 2. With his characteristic warmth and charm, he walked the audience through his career, beginning with his realization that he “didn’t like sweating and didn’t like getting dirty…I loved learning and I loved education.”
It wasn’t until he started studying art, he said, that he discovered who he was. Then a mentor asked him to help teach a design course—and almost three decades later, he hasn’t looked back.
The greatest lesson he ever learned is that “the world owes you nothing. You have to make your own place in it. You have to do everything at 150 percent or greater.”
Asked by a student what it’s like to influence so many people through shows like Project Runway and his books on personal style, Gunn said, “I hope I’m giving people the confidence to make their own decisions [in what to wear]. If fashion were easy, everyone would look fabulous.”