Hey there! Since it’s Project Runway day (the 2nd episode of the eighth season airs tonight, on Lifetime), it seems appropriate to post an excerpt from my 2008 interview Jay McCarroll included as a chapter in, Craft Corps: Celebrating the Creative Community One Story at a Time. Enjoy!
“I have a confession. I didn’t start watching Project Runway until its fifth season. I know, I know, what was I thinking? Fortunately though, my oversight didn’t leave me completely clueless. It’s true that I may not be able to tell you much else about the early episodes, but I do know all about the first season’s winner, Jay McCarroll. You see, word travels fast in the crafty world so when I heard that he included a bunch of knitwear in one of his collections, I immediatly tried to book an interview for my celebrity column in Knit.1 magazine. Although that didn’t work out, we did get to chat a few years later when Jay so graciously agreed to be part of Craft Corps. I talked to him from his New York apartment about fame, fabric and his love/hate relationship with fashion.
Designer, Jay McCarroll
VH: Crafting and fashion have always arguably been influenced by each other . Do you see that as being true in the current trends at all?
JM: I just hate fashion.
VH: Well, that makes sense.
JM: I hate it! I hate the people. I don’t like the emphasis on luxury, sexuality and women wanting to feel sexy all the time. I hate the outrageousness of pricing and the importance that we place on a length or a width of a jean. It’s like, oh my God, get a life! I also hate when something really amazing comes through in a trend, and it’s like something that we’ve all known about for years. You know, like “Oh, that’s crochet,” and then it’s like, “Crochet’s so amazing,” and then like five seconds later, “Crochet’s disgusting”.
VH: So, it influences each other, but fashion would never claim it?
JM: It’s so funny, I went to quilt market this past season to launch my fabric line. It was so fun, and I left after three days not able to believe how welcoming, amazing, awesome, positive, down-to-earth everybody was–because for the past years, I’ve been involved with the nastiest, meanest, negative, bitchy, shallow, people. Going through that and now coming back to really what my roots is what I really love.
VH: Which is? What you really love is what?
JM: Just really playing with baubles and beads, and textures and fabrics, and colors. Right now I’m doing these little necklaces, and I don’t even know what they’re going to be. I’ll probably put them on my website, but they’re decorated with coconut shells, washers, and little seed beads. They’re on a batik fabric, and I hand stitched the outside and then put them on a knit lanyard. I can think of nothing better.
VH: To switch gears, the underlying theme of this book is community. What role, if any, has crafting played in your own sense of community? Are you on the Web boards? Do you have some kind of group that you hang out with to be creative?
Inside the Crafter's Studio, with Jay.
JM: No, I stay away from the boards. I think if I was anonymous, I would go on them, but I don’t want to give an opinion on anything. I don’t want anyone to give me their opinion, so, no, I don’t do that. I wish I had a craft club. I had a friend that wanted to start one called Craftlete, like athlete. I’m a control freak, though, and a micromanager so, it probably wouldn’t work. Just last night, my friend was over and we were watching American Idol, and she was like, “Show me how to bead,” and I said “No, ‘cause you’ll steal my ideas, then you’ll get better at it than me.” I’m a freak. She got mad at me ‘cause I made fun of what she made. Terrible, isn’t it?
VH: That sounds like all the qualities that you said you hated about the fashion industry.
JM: I know!”
Read more about Jay in Craft Corps, in stores and online now!
For more information on Jay’s projects, check out his website.
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