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Fashion mentor talks self-image

Skinny isn’t always pretty. That’s what Tim Gunn, mentor on the popular reality show “Project Runway,” would say.

Gunn shared his insight on American fashion with nearly 1,000 attendees at the fifth University Lecture Series (ULS) event Wednesday night in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom.

“When you see a model walking the runway and the circumference of her knee is bigger than her calf, it’s not pretty,” Gunn said. “There are boundaries associated with appropriate. If you want to talk about bare midriffs, it belongs on the beach.”

Gunn also spoke about his experience as a career educator at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.

“If getting fashion advice was easy, everybody would look fabulous, and regrettably not everyone does,” Gunn said.

During a question-and-answer session, about 30 attendees went to the microphone to ask Gunn about his experience on “Project Runway” and his thoughts on fashion.

Jordan Stafford, a freshman majoring in social science education, said he has friends who attend Parsons.

“I’m a huge fan of (Project Runway),” Stafford said. “(ULS) definitely made a great choice of having (the lecture) in the Ballroom, and not in the Oval Theatre like they usually do considering the amount of people in (here).”

Gunn said self-image isn’t what you see down the runway.

“I think – no, I know – it’s a very serious issue,” he said. “A bunch of people blame the designers, but I blame the modeling agency.”

Gunn said he feels lucky to have a celebrity-like job, and he left the audience with one piece of advice.

“Life is very serendipitous,” he said. “See where life takes you and how life can completely and totally surprise you, because I’m a living example of that.”