What We Learned From Tim Gunn

On Thursday, November 8, Project Runway star Tim Gunn spoke to Penn State students as a part of Penn State’s Distinguished Speakers Series. World Campus students had exclusive access to the live stream of the event. Two World Campus admission counselors, Laura Anderson and Carli Donovan, had the chance to attend Tim Gunn’s talk, and wanted to share their experience with World Campus students.

Fashion expert, Tim Gunn spoke at a live-streaming event Thursday, November 8.
Fashion expert, Tim Gunn spoke to World Campus students at a live-streaming event Thursday, November 8.

As avid watchers of Project Runway since its debut in 2004, the idea of seeing Tim Gunn in person was such a thrilling surprise. We didn’t know exactly what to expect from his appearance, as he has always been more of a behind the scenes presence on Project Runway. Nevertheless, in typical Tim Gunn fashion, he “made it work.”

We certainly were surprised to discover that Tim’s background is not in fashion! He actually began his career teaching in Washington D.C. and never imagined that a career in academics would lead him to becoming a critical voice in the fashion world. When he started his role as the associate dean of Parson’s School of Design, his life transformed into one that he didn’t think was possible. You just never know where life will take you, which is something that many World Campus students can likely relate to!

During our time with Tim, he imparted several nuggets of wisdom for us to carry home. When it comes to shopping, Tim suggested working within a set budget, as people with deep pockets tend to make poorer fashion decisions. Since we are both already on a budget, we have this one covered! Regarding trends in fashion, he recommended thinking (more than) twice before spending hard earned money on a trendy item that will soon be yesterday’s news. Instead, opt for more classic pieces that will never go out of style. This is a point that we couldn’t agree with more, as we both tend to stray away from the fashion trends and stick to items that are more sustainable. Our favorite piece of advice from Tim was that it doesn’t matter what you wear, as long as you take responsibility for it.

Hearing such a sensible and humble perspective on life and fashion from a man who is also on a first name basis with Donna Karan and Michael Kors was extremely refreshing. He was gracious enough to allow audience members to ask his questions, and he was also very positive and uplifting. He’s the kind of guy that you could sit down to have a conversation with and feel completely at ease, even if you have never really met him before. Tim is a great example of a man who has not lost sight of manners and has respect for everyone—regardless of his celebrity status. What a great evening it was, and we hope that everyone who was able to tune in enjoyed him as much as we did!