As the Associate Dean of Parsons School of Design, Tim Gunn established his career as an educator. While he originally taught Fine Arts in Washington D.C., his new adventure in New York City led to discovery, challenges, and plenty of memorable stories like the time Diane von Furstenberg told him to 'think about it,' referring to the way he dressed, which subsequently led to his discovery of great fashion (and a great leather jacket).
It wasn't until America fell in love with Tim Gunn on the hit TV show, 'Project Runway' that we'd learn about a man who has spent his career mentoring students of design.
When Tim joined Parsons in 2000, the department was "a dino," describes Tim. With the support of DVF and others at the school, Tim was able to change the mentality of its teachers and change the way the school taught. "It was about changing the culture," said Tim. "The best faculty members are the ones that pull these things out of you that you didn't know you even had inside. The best approach to helping students find themselves, ascend to a high level of conceptual thinking is to pummel them with questions, as opposed to telling them what to do." With that mentality and straight-forward teaching, Tim brought Parsons School of Design into the 21st Century.
It was during this time, that he transitioned from a faculty member to 'Project Runway.' "I remember my first challenge on PR was setting boundaries. I was in the sewing room threading a bobbin for one of the contestants. The producer pulled me aside and asked me what I was doing. I told her, 'I'm threading a bobbin,' and she quickly told me I didn't have to do that!" It was in that moment that Tim learned the importance of mentorship.
Now, after 12 seasons of 'Project Runway,' Tim is onto his next big adventure with his new show 'Under the Gunn' which focuses more on mentoring young talent. The show, which premieres January 16th, promises a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into creating a design collection from start to finish.
What's next for Tim after 'Under the Gunn' has yet to be seen, but with Tim's creativity and zest for life, the possibilities are endless.