This week's golden inspiration, Tim Gunn, came from Washington D.C. and quickly discovered a passion for design and fashion. Growing up, he didn’t have any role models like him so he forged his own path. Now, people know him as a TV personality and design mentor as well as an inspiration for those of any age.
Tim does not have a background that would predict success. He grew up as the son of a FBI agent and had a mostly lonely childhood. No one would have predicted what he would go on to become.
After high school graduation, he enrolled in Washington’s Cororan College of Art and Design and became interested in design and sculpture. From there, he set up a sculpture studio in D.C.’s Dupont Circle, creating paper and illustration board sculptures. Not long afterward, he also took a job at Corcoran teaching design and working in campus administration. You could saw that when Tim entered the world of academia, he made his first steps toward his future success.
Tim Gunn didn’t receive the call from Bravo to become a consultant and later mentor for the contestants of a fashion reality TV show Project Runway until he was the Honorary Chair of Fashion Design at Parson’s School of Design and Chief Creative Officer at Liz Claiborne Inc. and his mid 50s. When most are already fully established in their career and considering retirement, Tim boldly accepted the offer. The decision landed him on the small screen and later led to his widespread role as a mentor.
He now plays the role of the guiding grandfather for young designers. Just as we need our grandparents to help “make it work” in life, Tim Gunn plays the same role for leading creatives in the fashion industry. The most important lesson he provides for those who look up to him is the ability to be true to themselves. As Tim has said “we’re all entitled to present ourselves as we choose to as long as we accept responsibility for it.”