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‘Project Runway’s’ Tim Gunn Defends Show’s Record for ‘Success’

TCA 2014: The mentor says every designer has a different plan for their career

“Project Runway” mentor Tim Gunn had to school an audience of journalists about what it meant to be successful in fashion.

At Thursday’s Television Critics Association press tour, Gunn sat on a panel to discuss his new fashion design show, “Under the Gunn.” But one journalist was more interested in asking him about whether the show has learned any lessons when it comes to picking winners who don’t become successful due to lack of business acumen.

Gunn pointed out that it’s always a toss-up when the show chooses a winner.

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“You just don’t know,” Gunn said. “I always say that the ‘Project Runway’ winners can only achieve what their resources and ambitions allow them to.”

When pressed further about whether creative people tend to be horrible business people, the mentor agreed.

“I always suggest that designers have a business partner,” he suggested.

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When pressed further on the show’s record, Gunn answered, “We’re inclined to look at Michael Kors and define that as success. But, a designer may not want to be a global brand. Chloe Dao has done fantastically with stores in Texas and appearing on QVC to help fund her business.”

On “Under the Gunn” (which premieres on Jan. 16), Gunn said he gets to do more of what he loves from “Project Runway.”

“Great designers doing what they do and my role mentoring,” the former Parsons fashion professor said. It’s really an extension of who I am. I was in a classroom for 20-some years.”

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The series pairs “Runway” alums Mondo Guerra, Anya Ayoung-Chee and Nick Verreos with their own designers to mentor with Gunn guiding them along the way.