Week 3: My Designer Life by Gretchen Jones of Project Runway


I’ve hit a wall. I hate everything I’m making. I have no energy or love for what it is I am creating and I feel like I’ve stepped down a path I’m not sure I am in love with.

I hope that this is a perpetual feeling all designers feel. My fingers are crossed.

As I face unchangeable choices, decisive distinctions in the aesthetics of this new collection, I doubt my talent. I doubt the color pallette, the concept, the conceived silhouettes.

I’m frightened and the truth is, designers do not like to express such fear, the dark side of a glamorous world meant only to entice, not to share our insecurities with you. The truth is, I’m an artist and I am frightened. So much anticipation and interest in what I do next is making me totally freak out!

I have been given very little time to pull it together and I push to create work that inspires, yet pays homage to the work I’ve done in the last year, to give the garments people seem to have connected to a chance. Yet, from a creative point of view, it’s like painting with colors you mixed from a series past. I am not inspired to be re-hashing old concepts, I’m just not, but I feel drawn to giving them the chance to be loved and worn in a way I think they deserve. Double ugh.

The company I keep right now is solely the pattern paper on my floor (still cutting on hard wood floors as I was pre-Project Runway win) and it is begging me for more time. I am faced with the focus on refinement. On doing the best version of ideas I’ve already had. Once again the reality of design, rather than art hits me. I am creating for you, not me – or at least to some extent. Many of the pieces I am designing are in some sort of way retrospective, re-worked garments that you connected to but that I have just fallen out of love with. A “lovers quarrel” so to speak, but one within myself. I think for better or worse, that’s a sign of a good designer. Moving on the second they grow.

Perhaps it’s time for me to stop working on the elements within this collection that reflect on past works, and move onto the pieces that will challenge me, challenge you to think outside the box of what you think of as “Gretchen Jones.” It’s time to think architectural elements, not “Lady Of The Canyon,” or better yet, how I can meld the two.

I can do it, I am doing it – its just hard to do it alone. We artists [we designers], need our cheering sections. Especially coming off of a year/experience that so harshly critiqued not only my every stitch, but character. If I am to fail, I say fail hard. Blow it all at the craps table – I may just win big.

What a blessing it is to be troubled with issues such as these. Fifteen days and counting til the finish of a collection I hope to die for. Sleep and restful thoughts are just a glimmer on the horizon.

This is the third piece in a new series at EcoSalon with Project Runway winner and sustainable fashion designer Gretchen Jones. For Jones, her daily apprenticeship with the “school of life” has been her guiding teacher and we look forward to bearing witness to her weekly inspiration collages, featuring ideas and scenes from the streets and parties of New York City, where she recently located. As well as her innate sense of style she’ll be pulling from a world of patterns, textures and all the designers who have preceded her.