Week 4: My Designer Life by Gretchen Jones of Project Runway

Take off the blind fold will you. I mean, will I, can I?

Tunnel vision, oh god, I have had such a serious case!

After hours spent alone in the house, after sewing non stop for days (insert Project Runway flashbacks) and after vision skewed physically and mentally, the arduous process of inner struggle took hold. And I found myself wondering – is the role of a designer to tell you what to wear now, or what to wear next?

First and foremost I am a woman. And on a personal level, creation is about asking the question, “What is it that I want to wear, can’t find or what speaks to me personally?” The benefit of being a designer is getting to translate desires into design. I want to make clothes, not costumes. I myself play dress up daily, to self express. Designing the items that lack in a wardrobe, my wardrobe is the approach I take.

What makes a good designer great is their ability to listen to their own creative voice and intuition, rather than the public or mainstream. Translating to you, technically speaking, what it is we want to wear. And for you that means what we want you to be wearing next.

After a mildly terrifying review (to be honest the most “positive-bad” critique of my life), during the midpoint in this season’s sampling, my intuition was confirmed. What I had created and presented throughout past seasons and the viewing of PR, had lost its relevancy within my creative hand. And did not and does not work within the context of the direction my work (and self) is taking. Which begs the question – are designers dictators or fortune tellers?

Perhaps a little bit of both.

If you liked what it is that I have created, if you want what I was feeding you a year ago, even six weeks ago, why wouldn’t that be my focus, the next idea? The beauty of this industry is that it works with the way I create. The second I am finished with a concept, I move on. Not holding onto what it is that I have created, but what it is I will create next. Fashion design enables constant dialogue. Communicating in a manner that translates the context or chapter last lived and exposed to, while looking onto the next horizon. Anna Wintour once said “Fashion is not about looking back, it’s about looking forward.”


As I left my critique this past week, with three out of nine designs safe, two in critical care and a few left for the morgue, I thought to myself – what is it that I wasn’t listening to or seeing? My intuition, that’s what.

I am where I am today because I stay convicted. I trust in the direction I am taking because I must. The best part about fashion is that it is objective. If the direction doesn’t suit you, if it doesn’t look like the road you were on with me last season, you can hop off. Or you can trust that your future may just come in a different shade of Gretchen.

For now, eight days left, eight garments remaining.

This is the fourth 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.