Every Wednesday, over 2 million people tune in to find out the fate of their fave - or least fave - member of Bravo's fashion reality show, Project Runway. And as a result of all this focus on the fashion biz, enrollment in fashion design programs is up - way up. In 2003, just under 250 fashion design degrees were awarded, while a scant three years later in 2006, that number had topped over 700.
While fashion educators are pleased with all the attention, they are less pleased with the unrealistic expectations the show is creating. "Some students believe that these attitudes that they see on the show are acceptable in the industry, and I see them beginning to portray this behavior," Anthony Miller, chairman of the Savannah College of Art and Design recently told WWD. "I try to give these students a mature point of view, and remind them that that is no way to act. I tell them that the show is heavily produced and edited to show the drama, and that is not real life."
While the show - which is taped in 32 straight days - may not realistically portray the day-to-day headaches of a working fashion, it does provide a glimpse into the actual workings of the fashion business and the stresses involved in life as a fashion designer. "Some people make the assumption that the show is an accurate account of how you educate the designer," said Tim Gunn of the Parsons School of Design, who assigns the contests their sartorial tasks & challenges. "These contestants are already designers, especially those on this season. We really push them to the limits of designing, and the pressures and stress levels they are experiencing are real, but this is not the education you get when you attend Parsons."
Rosemary Brantley, chair of the fashion design department at Otis College of Art and Design, is in agreement. "I have somewhere around 20 nieces, and I've asked them what they think of the show...They love the show, and after they watch it they will call me to ask things like, ‘what is draping?' I found it interesting that because of the show, they were asking about the process. There has never been anything about the behind-the-scenes process of design — that's what makes it so interesting." via WWD
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- Lesley Scott