Tim Gunn Tossed His Childhood Photos & More Surprising Facts



rexusa_1292639egPhoto: Gregory Pace/BEImages.
Most of us were first introduced to Tim Gunn on Project Runway where his "make it work" catchphrase caught on faster than the crop-top trend. And, yes, maybe to this day we find ourselves quoting him when faced with a rather challenging task. But, while the former Liz Claiborne chief creative officer has often shared advice in a public forum — he's written quite the collection of books — yesterday's Reddit AMA was a first.

Understandably, some Reddit readers couldn't help but ask the tastemaker about their own fashion dilemmas, but there was much more to take away from the talk than just the importance of buttoned sweater vests. Here are the five facts we're happy we learned.

— "Make it work" is not new.
Gunn said he created the phrase about 20 years ago. "It originated in my classroom and was spoken to a student who wanted to throw out a project and start all over again. And, I said no. You're going to make it work. And, what it means is: Offer up a diagnosis for what's going wrong, and a prescription for how to make it right. And, each time that we engage in that process, we move forward with more resources available to us."

— Don't expect to see any childhood photos of him.
"You know, I've never told anyone this," Gunn said in response to why one user couldn't Google up many young pictures of him, "in an effort to run from my past and disguise it, I got rid of all of the scrapbooks my mother, kept going back to when I was a baby. Truly. So, that's why whenever talk-show hosts or a producer asks for these pictures, there are barely any. My sister had a few, but that's it, and this was before digital. I've never told anyone that, but that's the truth.

— He thinks the fashion industry is really letting down the plus-size community.
And, petite women, too! "The fashion industry at large has been the worst public relations vehicle for larger women and petite women, they are both maligned and neglected. And, I honestly do believe it's getting better. I do. And, I'm doing all that I can to prod the industry and get them to pay more attention. Because, I find it to be reprehensible and repugnant that two populations that are so pervasive in this nation should be so badly neglected."

— He makes a great boss.
Actually, this comment was from a Reddit user who used to work for Gunn. "I don't know if you remember me," jaroberts24 started. "I was the production coordinator on the first season of Guide to Style. I just wanted to thank you for a making working on that show a lot of fun and to let everyone here know that, even after being in this business for over a decade, you are still one of the nicest people I have ever worked with.

"Case in point: I started after the first episode was already filmed, so I was 'the new guy.' And, on my first day I was just kind of wandering around set, a little dazed (it was my first network TV gig), and Tim noticed, I suppose, and he came up to me and said something like, "You are the new guy, huh?" [He] walked me around set and introduced me to everyone on the crew. I probably never properly thanked you for that out of sheer shyness, but it really helped me get over that hump of being the outsider and calmed my nerves that day."

— Gunn fell victim to acid.
No, no guys, not that. Acid-wash jeans. When one user asked him which fashion trend he most regrets, he cited this '80s throwback. Happens to all of us, Tim.

Click over to Reddit to read the full AMA.

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