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Tim Gunn is an American fashion and television personality best known for his fashion mentor role on the TV reality show Project Runway. Gunn’s signature catchphrase, “Make it work,” made him a fan favorite.
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Tim Gunn is an American fashion and television personality born on July 29, 1953 in Washington D.C. With experience from the Parsons School of Design in New York City, Gunn broke out as a fashion mentor on the hit TV reality show Project Runway (2004). Signature catchphrases like, “Make it work,” made him a fan favorite. Gunn also starred in his own show,
"Make it work."
"It's a little costumey."
Tim Gunn's Guide to Style in 2007. That same year he joined Liz Claiborne as its Chief Creative Officer.
Designer and television personality Timothy M. Gunn was born on July 29, 1953 in Washington, D.C. Gunn's mother, Nancy, helped found the library for the Central Intelligence Agency, while his father, George William Gunn, worked as a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent. A fifth generation Washingtonian, Gunn was raised in the capitol's bucolic Cleveland Park neighborhood. His childhood, however, was anything but idyllic. Gunn was a shy and unhappy boy, who preferred playing with Legos and assembling his sister's Barbie toys to sports, which greatly displeased his father. Gunn changed schools frequently as a result of debilitating social anxiety issues.
After graduating from high school, Gunn enrolled in Washington's Corcoran College of Art and Design, where he discovered a passion for design and sculpture. He received his bachelor's in fine arts from Corcoran in 1976, and set up a sculpture studio in D.C.'s Dupont Circle, working in the medium of paper and illustration board. He also took a job at Corcoran teaching design and working in campus admissions. In 1983, he was hired as an Assistant Director of Admissions at the Parsons School for Design in New York City. He rose through the ranks at Parsons, eventually becoming an associate dean.
In 2000, Parsons' fashion department was in a state of turmoil. The curriculum had grown stale and stagnant, a lethal combination in an industry obsessed with the cutting edge. Gunn took over the department for what was supposed to be just one year, but he stayed on for seven. During that time he completely revamped the program, helping to place Parsons in the upper echelon of respected design programs. "It ended up being a tremendous labor of love," Gunn said. "It was hugely daunting and hugely unsettling in many ways, but what kept me focused and kept me on a straight and narrow line were the students."
Gunn was at Parsons when the producers of a forthcoming reality television show named Project Runway called. "I can remember my tone - in fact, I'm ashamed of it," Gunn recalled. "I was a little haughty and I said that I felt what they wanted to do sounded terrible and that the industry was in enough trouble without a reality show." Reluctantly, Gunn agreed to meet with producers from the Bravo TV network. He was won over by their vision, and allowed Bravo to stage the show at Parsons during the summer break and agreed to serve as an on-air mentor for contestants.
Project Runway premiered on December 1, 2004. Audiences and critics soon warmed to the weekly design contests, and to contestants' big personalities and creativity.
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