Fashionable Book Review: Gunn’s Golden Rules
From his early days teaching at Parsons, to advising designers in the workroom on “Project Runway” or interviewing stylish celebrities at the Oscars, Tim Gunn has earned his spot as a well respected expert in the fashion industry. America and I have fallen in love with him through his role as the caring mentor on “Project Runway”, but few know of his private life and sometimes painful details that ultimately led to his success. His most recent book, Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work, reveals these details, along with eighteen “golden rules” he recommends following in life as well as your career. Although each rule on its own was incredibly enlightening, there were a few rules that really resonated with me and my career transition into the fashion industry. Rule 2, “The World Owes You…Nothing,” was particularly effective at describing the downfalls of divadom through the experiences of Gunn. The chapter begins with his painful meeting with a spoiled twelve year old wannabe designer, who he describes as the “most distressing example…of an overblown sense of entitlement” he’d ever seen. There are also juicy anecdotes incorporated to emphasize this diva overload, straight from the fashion shows and behind the scenes of the industry through Gunn’s eyes. He sees Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley bibbed, while being hand fed grapes, Anna Wintour being carried downstairs by her bodyguards after a fashion show and lunches with Diane Von Furstenburg at an NYC diner. If these stories alone don’t make you run out to buy this book, I don’t know what will. Of course, the fashion industry is notorious for diva-like behavior, but Gunn
believes counting your blessings, picking your battles and maintaining a sense of humility will set you a part, in the best way. “People who have the best careers and the best lives are not the demanding, screaming, flinging divas. They’re the people who take their ego out of it and pull all that energy into their creative life.” Another rule that truly resonated with me was Rule 16, Take Risks! Playing It Safe Is Never Really Safe. Knowing how competitive the fashion industry is, this rule helps mentally prepare you to stand out from the crowd and show your talents. Gunn details how he risked quite a lot to become a consultant for “Project Runway” when he was nearly fired from Parsons and received no pay for the first two seasons. However, Gunn acknowledges that all his experiences have taught him something and were important in the shaping of his career. “It’s good to push yourself and others to study as many different fields as you can, even if you think you know exactly what you want to do.” Overall, Gunn’s Golden Rules is not only an inspiring and insightful book for those pursuing a career in the fashion industry, but is truly applicable to any career choice. He draws from his personal experiences and the lessons he’s learned to show that good integrity and character are crucial to success in any industry and will never go out of style.
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Article by Lauren Pfingstag for Phoenix Fashion Week
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