Unless you live in Houston, (or you lived in London in the late 80s), you know Vanessa Riley from her brief but shining appearance on Project Runway: She’s the smart, funny Brit whose brief moment of nobility on the runway cost her the competition in a week where other, significantly more deserving drama queens (I’m looking at you, Nora), should have been booted off.
Project Runway isn’t the start of her career, however. She’s been working as a designer for over 15 years, the last of 10 of which have been spent building her own line. From her incredible store/studio/garden space in Houston, she took time out of her busy day to talk frankly with us about why Heidi Klum is no Tyra Banks, why she can’t get behind Hawaiian shirts, and what they don’t tell us about the guys behind the camera on Project Runway.
Have you been watching Project Runway on television, since it’s been airing?
(laughing) No. Well, I watched the first one, and I suppose you could say I was greatly horrified and pretty disappointed. It’s a very weird thing, to do something like that. Plus, I’m very busy – I do have a business that I run and a line that we do. Pretty much in the evenings I don’t want to run home to see the stupid program.
You said that you were disappointed and horrified – was that because what you were seeing in the episode didn’t really jibe with the way you felt while you were there?
I think my first perception of the TV program was, “Oh my god, there’s nothing in it; they’ve cut everything out.” There were 12 people at the beginning, there was dialogue going on all the time, there was fun and games and craziness – mad stuff. I’m pretty much a comedian. I did all sorts of impressions, and really kept everybody entertained. None of that is in the show. I come across as this really together businesswoman, where really I’m sort of a nut. They can make you look pretty much how they want you to look.
But I will say that the portrayals on the show are close. There was nothing freaky, that you’d say, “Oh my god, she’s not like that at all.”
In terms of your design work, did you feel like people got a good look at you?
No, I think that they totally cut me out, and I really believe that – and this is my opinion only… What you have to understand is that this is a television show. They don’t go out and say, oh, we’re going to pick these 12 people. There’s an enormous process going on. When I first went to the interview I thought everyone gets a fair crack at it. Now I think that the process is closer to having 12 profiles written out, then going out and trying to fit the people to the profiles. I don’t have any proof, or whatever, and to be honest with you I don’t really care. I believe that they have picked out their three qualifying people, and it has to fit America. Everything has to be planned. Nothing is spontaneous.
The whole reality TV thing plays on weak, desperate people. I don’t care how that sounds, because that is the truth. People that are very happy at home, and fantastically well off, whose businesses are doing great, do not go on reality TV. I went on reality TV because I’m in Houston, Texas: I got myself into a situation where I basically made a silly decision. I’ve set up this fantastic place, but it’s in the wrong place. I’ve got this great house, there’s a patio with a waterfall and flowers, a big studio in the back; it’s a dream place. When I was 15, saying I wanted to be a designer, this would be the place I imagined. But then, it’s plunked right in the wrong part of the country. So, that’s why I did the show.
One of the quotes Project Runway used of mine is that I’m just really, really disappointed that America didn’t get to see my clothes. I was really pleased that they used it, because that was it: I was just so disappointed that I went through all of that hassle and embarrassment – humiliation, really – and at times you feel inadequate. No matter how good you are. You’re like, oh god, should I have done this, am I making the right decision? You doubt yourself, for whatever reason. So, you put yourself through a lot.
Watching reality shows, as you were saying, you quickly come to realize that most of the casting is based on personality. One of the things that I thought was interesting about Project Runway, was that it looked, initially, like everybody did have a good, solid design background…
No. Absolutely not. When I got there I was really, really shocked at the talent that was there. I mean, I thought everybody was going to be like me – I thought that the challenges, and what they got us to do, would be a lot further up the fashion design scale. In reflection I understand that that’s probably not great TV. I thought we would be doing things like going to Donna Karan’s studio and directing the team, somebody else would go somewhere else, and the competition would be based on being a fashion designer. Being a fashion designer is not sitting in a room with college kids, sewing your garment start to finish. If any one of my clients thought that I was sitting in the back sewing, they wouldn’t come to me. The fashion industry is 100 percent built on image, and credibility; it’s not a bunch of kids that dream up an idea of, “I want to be a designer.”
I thought the talent on the show was very low. They just don’t have very much experience. I thought that there would be more people like, say, Alexandra, Kevin and I – and those two don’t have nearly as much experience as I do, but are experienced. I mean, at least all three of us made clothes for somebody else, other than our granny. I suppose I was shocked at that. And I was shocked at the challenges: You’re going to sit here and sew something up with four yards of cotton. I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me. Why?” Designers don’t do that. It was less image-based than I thought.
Being a fashion designer means you have to be diverse. You can’t come up with the same stuff all the time. Every season it’s different. But you have to have the same thread, feeling…I mean, you cannot change your client base. You can’t go from selling things to 18-year olds one season and the next you’re selling things to the 65 age group. Your demographics have to stay the same. Nobody on the show got that, care about that, or anything.
I’m sure that you’re under some agreement that you can’t give away information, but were you in contact with any of the contestants after you left the show? Did you still have any concept of what was going on?
Oh yeah, I know everything. And I stayed in touch with people. In fact, I think that I’m one of everyone’s favorites. I mean, everybody likes me – I don’t have any problem with anyone. The one person I don’t think I like very much NOW, because I’ve heard so much stupid shit about her, and plus I think she has no business being a fashion designer, is Wendy. We’re set to have a reunion show and meet up with everybody; I’m not looking forward to seeing her.
Austin calls me all the time. That was one of the other things: Austin and I, we formed an instant bond, and a really great friendship. However on the show, they don’t show it at all. We were always laughing and joking. Austin is a great complement to me, I suppose – we play really well together, let’s put it that way. He reads Barbara Cartland, and all the old, English, funny, fuddy-duddy – old lady-type stuff. He is an old, English woman trapped in a skinny, American gay-guy body. And he loves that. He instantly loved that about me – the fact that I’m pretty flamboyant, and I love everything that’s eccentric and extravagant, and so does he. He calls me every three days, or so. I stay at his house, in New York – I mean, I’m in contact with him a lot.
I’ve spoken to little Starr, who got such a bad rap on the show. She’s a great person, too. I mean, at least she’s educated, and she’s not fake.
Have you had to do a lot of press for the show, so far? Or have there just been a couple of events?
No. That was really, really disappointing. This is what Austin and I always joke about, that the whole thing was so low-budget. You got the feeling that you really had to bring your own packed lunch and knapsack with you, definitely make sure you’ve got a mode of transport to get home, because there was no telling if anybody was really going to look after you. I don’t think they’ve publicized any of us very well, and that’s a whole separate conversation really, because the show is something that we all gave up a lot of time for.
Really, I think you’re used. I mean, obviously you’re used, but that’s ok if you’re going to get something out of it. So far I don’t think anyone’s gotten anything out of it. We haven’t been paid for anything. We haven’t received any information that future deals are going to come up. But, who knows? I mean, I know that a couple of producers have said to me that they would love to work with me on television. I don’t know if that will happen. I kind of would like to do that. But, as far as the fashion thing goes…
You know what you also have to understand? Reality TV and fashion design together is an oxymoron. I don’t think that being on reality TV and running around trying to sew something up is really going to encourage somebody who wants to buy a $1500 jacket from you. It’s not the fine, tailored image that you have to work on, in order to extract that wallet from some rich old bag who wants a fabulous outfit to wear to a ball.
Especially if, as you say, you guys haven’t gotten the publicity out of it that you expected. I mean, I would think that that would be one of the main reasons to do a show like that: The idea that, whether or not you win the competition, it’s a way for people to see your work.
Absolutely. I knew that I wouldn’t win. I mean, I absolutely knew. To be honest with you, before I went, I had two or three emails from horrible people saying, “You shouldn’t be on the show,” because they did advertise the show as for “amateurs” and then I’m the one person who wasn’t. I think when I went into the interview, they were like, oh god, we can’t resist her – European, funny, a fashion designer living in Houston, Texas; that’s a lot of things that are interesting. And then I think they knew that if they had one person like me it would be okay.
I mean, they either had to have 12 people that were young designers, but with their shit together, or they had to have twelve completely unknown, not-knowing–what-they’re-doing-at-all people. Because, to mix it up would be too difficult. It wouldn’t be fair. Anybody who knows me will tell you, “Oh my god, they didn’t show how good you are at all on the show.” They eliminated me deliberately, in some weird-ass way that was set up completely, because if I have to make a wedding dress, or a uniform, or something like that, I’m going to kick everyone’s butt. I really do think that – just because I’ve got more experience, and I’ve been doing custom clothing for people for years. It didn’t surprise me that I was eliminated. I just want to try to get something out of it now.
After having your own line for so long, and going from a retail environment – where the biggest critique you’re going to get is whether or not a customer buys your designs – did you worry about switching into more of a competition mindset, where you’re being judged on these different challenges? Or did you just say, “I’m going to go there, I’m going to do what I’ve done for the last 15 years, and I’m not going to worry about it.”
Oh god, it was terrifying. The thing is, they don’t give you any chance. The whole idea is pretty much to make it as bad and stressful for the little contestants as possible. I mean, they didn’t tell me that I was actually going to be on the show until the day before.
So you didn’t have any transition time.
No. And basically everything about the entire process is set up so that it is hard on you, not so it’s easy on you. It’s difficult, it’s uncomfortable – so that you may say or do things that maybe you wouldn’t usually. First of all, what happens is, you kind of get this weird selection process that goes on for-absolutely-ever. By the time they tell you that you’re actually in the show, you’re kind of like, “Oh god, I don’t know if I even want to go.” Because it goes on forever. By the time you get to go, you’re really nervous, because they won’t tell you anything. Before we went, we didn’t know even what it was going to be. I mean, now you know what we had to do, sew little things up, and go out and do lots of different things. But when we went, we had no idea what we were doing. So, it wasn’t a question of trying to transition from one thing to the next, because you didn’t really know what the hell you were transitioning to.
It was just sink-or-swim?
Yeah. And you have to have so many anxiety tests, psychological evaluations, blood tests, talk with a doctor, talk about how you view the world, all this shit, because they’ve had people commit suicide after these things.
I really don’t want you to think that it was negative, because the fun parts were meeting… For me to meet colorful people was fantastic, because I’m living in Houston, Texas, and I’m from London, and constantly I’m being surrounded by people that look at me like I’m something from a zoo. I’m a 35-year old woman who’s single, with this crazy fashion thing going on, and if people can’t put you into a little group, design a little life for you, then they feel like they can’t be a part of it. Here I don’t get to meet colorful designers, ever. So, that was fantastic for me, to have people to talk to, even though they didn’t give you a lot of time. Everything was sort of controlled. The producers tell you where to go, and you’re separated a lot of the time for interviews.
But I loved meeting all the different people; that was great. Some of them didn’t talk, though. Alexandra and Kevin – they didn’t say hardly a word the whole time they were there. When I was there I talked to Wendy a lot. And now I’ve found out that I was her big threat. Wendy’s a freak. How can you get to 40 years old, or 45…
If you haven’t made it by now in fashion in any capacity whatsoever, you’re not going to. You’ve gotta start this career early. That sounds mean, but it’s true. You’ve got to start doing something, because just think – your client base alone takes you years to build. I read one of the messages on the message board at the beginning, when I was checking, and they said, “Oh Wendy, you’re not on Survivor or The Apprentice.” I thought, “Wow, that’s an interesting way of looking at it,” because it’s so true. She was trying to strategize everything. It wasn’t really like that for the rest of us, which is, I think, one of the reasons they kept her there: All the bullshit she was doing in the interviews. But, you see, none of us knew that. That’s something we’ve been talking about.
Other than Wendy, have your perceptions of people on the show changed since you were been there, just because of stuff that’s come out afterwards?
Wendy would be the main one, because she talked to me a lot. She was always talking to me, and asking questions. On the show they make her out to be this fabulous mother hen – I don’t even understand where that’s coming from. I think they created that a little bit.
Everybody else is kind of how they are on the show, although I think poor Starr got a really bad rap. And she was stupid to keep crying like that – I can’t imagine employing a lawyer after she was seen being such a baby. I would die. She doesn’t seem to be upset about it, though. When I spoke to her, I thought, “My god, she’s going to have a nervous breakdown.” I really thought she was going to have mental repercussions from what she went through. But no, she’s fine.
There’s this line that people use, after being on a reality show, that you forget that the camera is there. I can’t actually believe that that’s possible.
It’s not possible. Nah. I think that you get fed up with it. But the number one thing that you don’t understand… Okay, I know I can tell you this – did you know that the Bravo producers deliberately employ incredibly good-looking guys and girls [behind the scenes]? So, the cameramen were the hottest. Guys. You have ever. Seen. Because then you’re supposed to tell them all the shit. This is what one of the producers told us. I don’t know if she just made that up for our benefit, but… I mean, these guys are like Abercrombie & Fitch models. Wendy was flirting with them so much that it was sick. They had to tell her that she couldn’t be interviewed by a couple of them, because she would hit on them so hard. The cameramen and the producers are super-educated, they’re go-getters, they’re so hot… half the time, us girls were just like, “Oh my god.” We were talking bout the damn producers all the time. We’d say, “Did you see Sebastian’s ass?” “Did you see him bend over?” “I know he likes me.” We’d all be talking about that pretty much most of the time. That’s inside information: They were better looking than we were.
You know, you’re so tired, you look like shit. And that’s the other thing, too, that kind of upset me a little bit. I have been lucky enough to receive a huge amount of wonderful fan mail – letters, and all sorts of things – and I think it’s because I have a very easy website to get to; you can find me very easily. But in a lot of the emails, they reference my size a lot. They say, “Oh god, my husband thinks that your full-figured woman is the hottest one ever, and I just wanted to let you know that,” and “Your fantastic, stocky figure is saying a lot for us big girls in America.” I mean, I can’t tell you how many people have referenced it. And I’m like, Jesus Christ.I’m five foot seven and a half, I’m not short and fat, jesus. So I feel like I’m supposed to be saying something for larger women. Although, I don’t know how large you have to be – I mean, the TV makes you look much bigger. Those girls on the TV – little Alexandra and Starr – they weigh, I’d say, ninety pounds. I mean, you’re talking sticks. Tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny.
And then stupid Heidi Klum, big old uninteresting Heidi is walking around. Do you know that the whole time we were there, she never addressed us? She never talked to us, she never asked us about our lines, our lives, who we were, made any effort to be our friend at all, nothing.
Other than being the spokesperson for the episodes of the show, does she have any day-to-day interest in, or contact with, the show?
Her thing is – now none of us really know this for sure, but we’re pretty positive – that she saw that other model, Tyra, having her show, and she was like, “Oh, you know what? I think I want my own show.” But the difference is that Tyra Banks actually has a personality, and says things, and goes and finds out about people and is interactive and interested in the modeling business and helping people. Heidi Klum never offered one bit of help to any of us. No conversation, nothing.
She’s one of the contributing money sources for the show, so she is an executive producer. I don’t think she has any input on editing, or the style of the show whatsoever. I would put money on the fact that Heidi Klum went to Miramax and said, this is what I want to do: Here’s $5 million, or whatever, but I’m going to be the presenter, and I’m going to get a commission. Because she just did it for her own career. She has no interest in the design thing at all. And plus, she doesn’t know anything. At all. When you see her when she’s not dressed up, she’s got a pair of flip-flops on, and jeans. She’s not even a fashion person: she did it for her own notoriety. She’s really trying to push her career right now, doing different things. I think that collectively, none of us had any respect for her. That was the one thing that we would talk about: My god, this person is supposed to be our mentor, and she doesn’t even bother talking to us.
But nobody else was as disappointing as she was. The producers were great, but difficult. But deliberately difficult, so it didn’t faze me at all. They were laughing at me all the time. And now that they’re getting the response back from viewers… When I spoke to them yesterday, they were so excited. “Oh, you need to come on Monday for a big interview,” and “We’ve got tons of feedback on you, Vanessa, you’re great, blah blah blah,” and “Friday you’ve got to be in New York.” But in the beginning it was like, “You’re all invited, and we would love you to be at the premiere party,” and then, “But we can’t pay for you. We can’t pay for your flight, your food, your stay, nothing.” It was very, very disappointing for all of us. Especially someone like me or Mario. Mario’s coming from down in Florida. He doesn’t have a lot of money – he quit his job to go on the show. We all did a lot to be on it, for the sake of, “Oh, we’re going to be famous, our careers are going to take off.” So, you do all that stuff, and then somebody tells you, “We can’t pay for your expenses.” It’s like dangling a big carrot in front of your nose, but then saying “But, you can’t eat it.”
What was it like, then, after doing the show, to go back to your regular life?”
When you see us leave – when you see us go off down the proverbial designer chute – we really do leave. One minute you’re in this great big fantasy world, and then the next minute you’re like, oh, I’ve got to go home now. I actually refused to do my exit interview, I was so pissed off at the way they treated me.
So I came back home. I hate to say this, but I can’t lie – it was just an incredibly deflating experience. Not just for me, but for my customers, too. They said, “What do you mean, you didn’t win?” They couldn’t believe that I didn’t get in the final three, so that gave me a negative feeling about it. I thought, “God, I’m not that good, maybe I should have been practicing more at this, that, and the other. Maybe I should have played it differently, and I should have really got into the game more.” For a month afterwards I was pretty shot, and then I went absolutely crazy, trying to create tons and tons of clothes because I thought, “My god, this is really going to come out on national TV, so business is going to improve by 50 percent.” I really thought people would be running in here to buy stuff. I don’t know if I was fame-crazed, or, I don’t know, had a bigger impression of myself than I should have. I went nuts buying a lot more fabric than I usually do, committing to orders of a lot more pieces. I usually make twelve of something. Well, I went ahead and I made, I’d say, an extra 1500 pieces for the Christmas season. The inevitable happened, of course: The rush didn’t come, apart from the floods of emails, and phone calls.
You know who they were from? It’s all kids. Well, that’s the reality TV market – young kids or a mother-daughter situation, or people from out in the suburbs who love the idea of fashion. But as far as my customer base improving? Zero. Can you believe that? I’m in shock, because now I have to sort that out – what the hell do I do, because I’ve got all this stock in inventory. If you’re selling t-shirts at Wal-Mart or Kmart, or something like that, I think your business would definitely improve. But as far as selling glamazon clothes, like I do, that kind of woman doesn’t necessarily want their designer to be on national TV, looking like she wants to be a designer. It doesn’t go together. “Are you trying to be a designer? We thought we were buying your clothes because you already are.
So yes, to answer your question, I still have my shop, everything’s still the same, we have a fantastic line of clothing, it’s in Houston, we sell to other little boutiques, and nothing has really changed. I did that before, and I’m still doing it. I suppose the thing that’s changed is that I’m thinking, well, what next? Do I want to do this big? Or do I want to stay this size? Or do I want to be international? Should I move to New York? Right now I’m trying to go through a lot of questions about what I should do. Basically, I want to take a different direction. Project Runway was like a big pinnacle point for me, like climbing up a mountain, and I’ve either got to jump off the mountain or go back downhill – what do I do now?
You moved from London to Texas. Did that change the way you designed? Did you have to make concessions when you moved?
No, no, absolutely not. But now I might say I’ve changed. I design slightly more sophisticated things, classier things, and I started off a lot more avant garde. My designs have gotten a lot more wearable. But there are a lot of factors to that, and every single designer will go through that. In the beginning you think you’re creating something nobody’s ever seen before. Only that’s just a joke, because everything’s been fucking done – you’re just recreating your own version of it.
And if you’re not good at that, then forget it, because you’ve got to be good at everything: You’ve got to be good at talking to people, you’ve got to be good at fit, you have to have an eye for each different person, and when you’re selling to stores, and you’re selling $60,000 to a store, you’ve got to make sure that you put the right merchandise with the right vendor. There’s no point in putting $500 fabulous silk blouses in a city where there are no restaurants. One of the things that has changed my designs is that I have to make money at it. It’s not a hobby. I have to pay the overhead. You’re going to change slightly so you can sell your product. For instance, I love to design coats and jackets—that’s my absolute favorite thing. Coats and jackets allow me to actually create a look, a feel of a collection, in one piece, and that is important to me. But, I’m in Houston, Texas, so I have a bit of a problem with that, where it’s 100 degrees. There isn’t as much use as I’d like for clothing that I like to make.
I’m not a trendy designer. I will get sucked into some trends because they’re cyclical, or because of what’s available. Say all the fabric dyes they come up with one year are purple and pink. And Vogue says, “Oh, wow, pink is the new color!” What they don’t think about, or what they don’t want the general public to think about, is that there are probably five enormous mills in the world, and they decide what the colors will be a lot of the time. But I’ve tried very hard not to change. The same clients that I’ve had for eight years will tell you that, that I really do have a look; a strong image of what I’m doing. That’s extremely important, because if you’re selling to people, they’ve got to know what they’re going to come back and buy. You look at Oscar de la Renta’s clothes and you’re not going to get them muddled up with Alexander McQueen’s. That’s one of the mot important things that I think most of the designers on the show didn’t really get at all.
You say on your website that your main customer is the woman over 30 who’s looking for something different. Is that also your ideal customer? Is there somebody out there that you’re trying to design for? Is it yourself?
The answer to that one is, yes, you do design for yourself a lot of the time. You have to have a picture of who’s going to… I am an artist; that’s how I started off doing this. I’m an excellent illustrator…
What was your art background? It mentions it just briefly in your bio
Illustration. I was very strong in art – portrait art, painting, illustration – and I think that that is absolutely of paramount importance to a designer, much more than the practical side of being a designer. You have to be able to illustrate your ideas to your customers and your staff, and yourself. You’ve got to be able to know what you’re doing. You can’t just say, “I’ve got a picture in my head, and it’s coming to me, hold on a minute, it’s purple, uh, it’s knee length…” You’ve got to be able to communicate, and you have to be able to do that consistently, quickly, and accurately. I’m very, very good at that. I’m extremely good at conceptualization, for myself and for the company. I can draw it all out, whether it’s for someone who is wanting to come and have couture, or putting drawings and illustrations on all the patents.
So, you design for yourself. But is there someone out there that you’re dying to design for, or is it more an abstract idea?
Being from London, which is such a walking city – like Washington DC, New York, Chicago – there’s street culture, and women need clothes. They have to go outside, they have to put a coat on, they want to look a certain way. The boots match the coat, they have them one season, and then they go out the next year and they buy themselves another set. Fact. That kind of woman is my ideal customer. Someone who’s 30 – well, not really 30. When I say 30, it’s because Houston is such an old fuddy-duddy place, that to be under 30 is still living at home. People just don’t grow up very fast here. Someone who’s walking to work, who’s maybe single, maybe married, who needs something to go out and have drinks with the girls in, who is also shopping with her best friend on Saturday – window shopping at Tiffany’s, seriously shopping at Neiman Marcus – things like that. My customer is not the multi-millionaire -although I do have that. But I don’t aim the line at them. I aim the line at successful, independent women. And by successful, they may not necessarily have tons of cash. They might be in the early stages of marriage, or they might have two kids that are young. Or they might be like me, more of a bachelorette with an active lifestyle.
People who know what they are and what they want.
But they’re also very street-smart. They’re not going to be somebody who thinks, “Everybody’s wearing a tweed jacket, therefore I need to go buy myself a little tweed jacket, and I was shown how to put it together at the department store.” That’s really not my customer. My customer comes in and they buy a skirt from somebody else, one of my fantastic jackets…that’s who I love to sell to. That doesn’t happen, but that’s in my imagination.
That’s who your ideal is.
Somebody who’s going out to a wine bar, and is dressing a certain way to fit a certain type, who’s not going to wear that same outfit somewhere else. Who takes pleasure in creating a little image for herself, that changes.
I just want to finish up with a couple of quick, fun questions. What fashion item can you not live without?
Oh god, high-heeled knee-length boots. I’ve absolutely got to have them. But there’s so much -you’re asking the wrong person. I have racks and racks of clothing.
What item do you wish the rest of the world would live without?
White sneakers. With white socks.
Gun to your head: You become a household name – because your designs are consistently showing up on the Worst-Dressed lists, or you win tons of awards but nobody’s buying your stuff. Which do you choose?
Okay, the Worst-Dressed List, and I’ll give you the reason why: Because I don’t think that the people who necessarily put people on those lists know what they’re talking about.
You get one item of clothing that you have to wear every day for the rest of your life – what is it and who designed it?
(laughs) Oh god, so it has to be a dress? Don’t you mean an outfit?
You can wear other things with it, but this one thing you’re going to have to wear every day for the rest of your life.
I’m just trying to think what I would wear the most often. I would have to pick a really slimming, well-cut jacket. But I don’t feel good about that answer, because the jacket is going to date. Everything would date. I suppose jeans wouldn’t, but I would hate to think that I would pick that. I love jeans, but that’s the one thing that I don’t make, and I don’t think that people should wear jeans all the time. But everyone needs a fabulous-fitting, sleek jacket, so I’ll go with that.
And if you could make the breaking of one fashion rule punishable by death what would it be?
Oh boy. There are so many. I think probably tight jeans on fat people. Or drainpipe trousers on people that are carrying a lot of weight in their hips. I just don’t want to see that. You don’t see that in Europe—why is it acceptable to be walking around like that here?
What else? Hawaiian shirts are pretty high up there – but only because such bad people wear them. I don’t mind seeing a Hawaiian shirt on a hot 20-year old Hawaiian guy. That’d be great, with a suntan. But some fat, disgusting person with a beard, smoking a cigarette with a beer in the other hand – it doesn’t make me feel like I want to go to Hawaii.
PopGurls.com stands by this interview. Contrary to what Ms. Riley said during the February 16, 2005, Project Runway Reunion Special, no one affiliated with PopGurls.com has ever been an employee of Vanessa Riley in any capacity.
Property of PopGurls.com – do not repost without permission.