Project Runway – Good Industry Image or Bad?

7127418127_322e2305ae_oIt appears that a lot of viewers think that Project Runway is a great show on tv. Well, I have to disagree. I am one who thinks that the show has in fact been a very bad example of what a fashion designers real job is realistically all about. Project Runway, in my opinion has served as a major bad influence for the industry as a whole and to the thousands of young people who have been swain by the show to study fashion design. While, for the MANY colleges, universities and other further educational institutions who offer fashion related degrees around the country, I am sure it has been a major boost in enrollment the fact remains there are not the jobs to sustain the graduates. Many have to take student loans that they will be paying off for many years to come. Or, once they have exhausted job interview opportunities, or worked for a while in the industry and become disheartened they are force to go bankrupt, and then it becomes the tax payers’ debt.

I deal daily with professionals in the apparel industry and I am also fortunate to guest speak at many fashion college events. I understand the industry and what are the many changes taking place on the Global platform. I can assure you that Project Runway has nothing to do with the real industry. I have had four of my ex-students, or Fashion Business Incorporated members who have been on the show. My feedback from them has not been positive. Project Runway is nothing more than entertainment and I would have no problem with it as a show if it clarified this. But, to watch continuously these mean spirited reality shows torture their participants’ is to me very distasteful. The industry has for years had a bad enough reputation and to add another layer of negativity is a shame!

Anyway, if anyone is reading this and wants to get in to the fashion industry first take the time to educate yourself about the many different job opportunities and the different colleges and what they offer. They don’t have to be private colleges that cost a fortune! There are some really good community colleges and state universities that offer good degrees. Personally, I have been very impressed with Cal Poly Pomona’s courses offered and their graduates. But, for the most part it is up to the students themselves to take what they learn and use that to network into a real job. Paying $35,000 a year for four years and then not getting a job is a financial tragedy.

The fashion business is an amazingly interesting and exciting industry that has been very good to me! I have had so many great adventures and opportunities. But, maybe I got a head start in my own reality and it is in my blood! I started sewing at twelve and learned from my mother, who was a designer for her brother who had a factory in Nottingham, UK. Her mother, (my grandmother) was a lace maker in Nottingham. My father was a chemist who specialized in textiles. My aunt had her own dress making business…. My grandfather on my father’s side had their own brewery…!:)

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