Darlings, because he left the show too early for him to develop a hatred of us, Jonny Day, the first of the designers to be sent home from The Fashion Show, sat down with us for a little chat.
That was quite an emotional exit interview.
Really? I haven’t seen it yet, is it? [Laughs] Yes, it was pretty emotional, what can I say? It was a very climactic moment.
Did you enjoy the experience?
I did; it was a great experience. It was a great experience professionally. It was also a great personal experience. Putting yourself in a really nerve-racking type of situation that’s not something you normally would do, but it did make me grow and for that I’m glad.
You mentioned on your Bravo blog that time management was an issue for you.
I would never attempt to do something creative with a very short time limit. I usually take quite a bit of time looking at something, thinking about it, even just in concept. Yeah, it was hard to do everything from concept to fabric purchasing to final construction all within thirteen hours. It was very hard. I mean, I’ve never done anything that fast before.
Your team went with a very simple design so that you could focus on the separates. Do you think that was mistake since the focus was on the must-have piece?
In retrospect, yes, but at the time it seemed to make sense to not go overboard with the first challenge. Also, it had to be a must-have item. I didn’t think that any of the other groups had a must-have item. They were cool, but not must-haves as a wardrobe staple. Ours was a staple, it was appropriate.
Kelly said that some audience members thought your outfit was slutty. We thought it could have been a sexy look if it hadn't been so poorly executed, don’t you think?
Yeah, I did. I had a problem mostly with fit. On a different model, my outfit would’ve looked very different.
Did they give you the model’s measurements?
We never really got to work with the models. We had a fifteen-minute fitting, which is not enough, not enough time in construction to make it effective. I had the biggest and the bustiest model and that was very challenging because my look needed to be on someone who is pretty fit and pretty thin.
What was the budget to purchase fabric?
$150, of which I spent every penny. Silk is expensive and the skirt was made out of a double-sided wool fabric and it was expensive too. It wasn’t much money to work with, once you bought the fabric you were committed, you couldn’t change your idea.
You mentioned that you’re pretty sensitive and didn’t want to be ridiculed. What did you think of the judges’ criticism?
I didn’t think a lot of it was very fair. “Unforgivable” is a pretty harsh word when you’re not in an ideal situation. Just because something didn’t fit my model right that doesn’t mean it was “unforgivable.” I think I got penalized for it being a sexy look.
Yours and Kristin's were the least favorite outfits. What did you think of her outfit? Did you think hers was worse?
Yeah, I really didn’t care for her styling of it mostly. I didn’t think the pieces were bad individually necessarily, but I wouldn’t have styled them like that at all. And you know, the worst outfit belonged to the other Johnny. The audience voted his as the worst. They didn’t say that, though.
Despite the fact that you left so early, do you feel that you still got something out of it?
Well, today [the day after the premiere] is the first day that I’m getting a little bit of the reaction. Yes, I do think so far, so good. It was a long-time commitment because we were sequestered even after being kicked off, but it was a positive experience and to work with that caliber of designers on the show is hard and to be one of them and to have the opportunity to show what I do on national television, yeah, for sure, but it certainly not what I want to be defined as for the rest of my career – the guy from that show.
Anyone in particular that impressed you among the designers?
Before I met Keith, I saw his designs and I appreciated his design aesthetic a lot. I think there’s a lot of good designers, but most of them are making stuff that is not that wearable, and for me, as much as I love a fantasy design, it has to have a wearability. Like Merlin’s outfit for example, it was not that wearable and it looked like a costume and he got praised for it.
Let’s talk about your line Elmer Ave. We really like some of the pieces, including what you wore on the show.
Thank you. We do high end with a rock-and-roll attitude. We pick real classic cuts and we make them very tailored and very fitted out of beautiful fabrics and we do a hand-painting process to them. They’re almost one-of-a-kind pieces. Since last year, we’ve been crossing over to a new fit called The Doll Fit. Very men’s wear influenced, and I think that outfit on the show had that men’s influence. It was a cummerbund and tuxedo top type of idea with a pencil skirt. I love when women dress in men’s clothes but they still need to look feminine and sexy and that’s what The Doll Fit is all about. That’s what I’ve been working on since the show for quite a bit.
How would you describe your style?
I love classic elegance with a rock-and-roll edge. I love classic designs and classic fittings with an edge.
So, what’s coming up for Jonny Day?
We’ve opened a store in downtown Los Angeles on Fourth Street and we’re excited about that, we’re in production with a new collection of The Doll Fit, which is all women crossed over from my men’s line and it’s going to be beautiful, and I don’t know, hopefully a lot. Just looking forward to becoming more international with the clothing line. Being part of the show, definitely inspired me to do women’s wear.
Well, thank you so much, Jonny, and good luck to you.