What I’d Like to See on the Runway

Alison Morris -- September 24th, 2008

I don’t watch a lot of television, as a rule, but this season I am (once again) hooked on Project Runway, as is almost everyone I talk to nowadays. I was recently pondering the challenges they’ve had on the show during the current and previous seasons and it occurred to me that one challenge I haven’t seen them do and would enjoy watching is a challenge in which the designers have to incorporate text and/or letter-forms into their designs. Wouldn’t that be cool? I’d like to see Tim Gunn escort them to the New York Public Library to find "inspiration," send them off to Mood for fabrics, then tell them to "make it work!"

During the times I’ve hunted down funny t-shirts and the like to post here, I’ve stumbled across a lot of really POOR uses of text in clothing designs, and I would say very few of them could be labeled as "fashion." But there are people who have created reading material in wearable form and (to quote Tim Gunn again) "made it work." One of my favorite examples is the dress created by Robert Ryan that appears at the start of this post and originally debuted on the pages of Vogue UK. Robert Ryan does elaborate, beautiful cut-paper designs — each cut from a single sheet of paper — and this dress is one amazing example of the magic he can work with a pencil and knife. Other examples include his cover illustrations for books like Dara Horn’s The World to Come and John Connelly’s The Book of Lost Things. To see more visit Rob’s website and blog, or pick up a copy of his own book This Is For You.

I hunted around for other fashion featuring text in creative ways but apparently didn’t come up with the right string of words to Google, as my searches yielded nothing. This is all the more evidence, I say, that Project Runway ought to put some readable garments on the runway.

4 thoughts on “What I’d Like to See on the Runway

  1. Erlene

    Terrific idea! Put it on their website. IT would be great to have them do something with old picture books — actually have to incorporate them into their designs like they did the outfits out of car parts! They could also be paired with a picture book and use a children’s illustrator for their inspiration. I would think with all the publishers in New York this would be a natural connection! Did you see the episode of Martha Stewart’s Apprentice when they had to make a picture book? Anne Swartz at Random House was on it! Unfortunately, it wasn’t real successful as for results!

  2. Isabel

    Great idea. Some the ideas have been pretty crazy. I work in a kid’s bookstore and came across Four Feet Two Sandals today. I’m also in library school. I checked out your blog because I saw the words Project Runway. I love it and if I can think of a way to incorporate sewing and books in a career, I’ll be a happy camper.

  3. Rowena

    I love this idea! A girl in my grade school had a dress with simple words on it that she wore every spelling quiz day. My other friend had a charm bracelet with Rhode Island charms on it, including the word Rhode Island- she was dyslexic and it helped her learn the words pretty well.

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