Reality Television must turn people into the equivalent of exotic and rare animals. When I started telling close friends that Cranky Yellow was tapped (out of the blue… erm yellow) to create the art direction and web presence for designer A.J. Thouvenot there was a surprising amount of fuss.
Based on the reactions, I avoided searching his name online as long as possible. I thought it might be a little overwhelming. You see: A.J. starred on season 8 of the fashion-fury reality t.v. show Project Runway. I had heard about him years ago dolling around as TrashBiscuit then again when he was hoisted into national scrutiny on the show.
A.J. hails from Saint Louis, which is why the reaction is a little more personal around here. Before I met with him I was hounded with questions. My sister wanted to know about Hiedie Klum. I was told to ask about “Mondo”. Then EVERYONE wanted to know “What’s he like?” — ARGH! That’s Madness!
I just needed to focus on his design work and let it help push inspiration through the art direction project… without all the drama of Celebrity.
When I met with A.J. for the first time, he mentioned his run on Project Runway. I diverted my eyes and sighed “Yeeeeaaaaaah, I’ve been trying to keep my knowledge of you to a minimum.” That’s wasn’t out of rudeness. He nodded and agreed.
So, finally – Here is our newly released website for Andy J! A co-collaboration of designer A.J Thouvenot and your friends here at Cranky Yellow!
Now, to keep all you die-hard Project Runway fans and gossip mama’s under-control. Here is a Cranky exclusive interview I had with A.J. about his future line, process and fashion work — No, I didn’t ask about Heidi 😉
Who is Andy J?
Andy J. is whomever or whatever I want it to be. It’s a platform fo my designs, that I expect to change and grow along with me.
How would you describe your personal ethos?
Carefree and imaginative. I’m always imagining what could be.
Where do you find renewed inspiration?
I find renewed inspiration all over the world around me. I’ve been inspired by everything from junk-food packaging to Julia Roberts. Pop culture is always bursting with new and exciting inspiration.
Can you explain your working process?
I attack different projects in varying ways. Sometimes my designs start with a pencil and paper, and other times I let the materials show me how to use them. I suppose it is a mix of traditional flat patterning and organic design.
What is the goal of your newest line of clothing?
To give women functional yet fun clothing with that special something extra that makes them reach for it first in their closet.
Are you currently working on anything exciting?
I’m currently working on my Spring 2012 Collection to debut at the end of September!
Do contemporary designers influence your work?
I’d say that contemporary trends definitely influence my work more so than individual designers. Designers themselves usually inspire me more with their attitude than aesthetic style. I interned for a short time for New York designers “Heatherette”, and I think you can definitely see some of that influence in my work. They taught me a lot about how to just go with your gut when designing.
Want to share any dirty secret scoop into the world of reality television?
When eliminated from the show, you don’t go directly home. All of the eliminated contestants are sequestered until the end of filming. No T.V., cell phones, books, etc.
What do you love and hate about the fashion industry at large?
I love that is can transform people. Clothing can completely change how people are perceived and how they perceive themselves. I hate that the industry sometimes forgets that is about helping people express themselves, not be put into little boxes.
Can you do any stupid human tricks?
I can dislocate my thumb, it’s not really that great, but it really grosses some people out.