Project Runway 5: Meet the Designer - Jennifer Diederich
Project Runway 5: Meet the Designer - Jennifer Diederich
Jennifer Diederich was eliminated on the fourth episode of Project Runway 5 for her questionable take on an Olympic opening ceremony outfit. One thing, though, is without question: the 27-year old designer loves a feminine silhouette, and whether or not the judges liked it, you can't deny that she stayed true to her aesthetic throughout the competition.

Jennifer's dedication to her style might not have gotten her as far in the competition as she probably hoped to go, but it might have actually ultimately still helped her in her career as a designer. Before we get to her future, though, let's see what led her to Project Runway 5.

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Jennifer is from Syracuse, NY, but after a trip at age 14 to New York City, she set her sights on a more metropolitan lifestyle. “I pretty much fell in love with the city,” she told a hometown news site, “and decided…that's where I wanted to live when I went to college and afterwards, and so I wanted to find a career that would give me enough money to live nicely in the city and also include art so I came up with fashion design.”

After graduating high school, she headed to the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, where she pursued her degree in Fashion while volunteering for Fashion Week, assisting at Victor Costa and interning at Tibi.

She also headed to Italy for an internship in Print Design at Imago. She appears to have fallen under the spell of the romantic country – and, as she puts it on her website, “one Italian boy in particular.” As is appropriate for this slightly reserved designer who likes to add small elements of intrigue to her clothes, she demurs from giving us any additional juicy details on that part of her motivation to make the move to Italy.

Of course, it's not so easy to simply pick up and move to a foreign country, and she notes that there was much “drama of visas.” She did eventually find work as a embroidery designer for Blugirl, a line from the Blumarine house. She also sold some small collections at a boutique outside of London.

Italy is not just now home to Jennifer, it's also the homeland of some of her favorite designers, Elsa Schiaparelli and Moschino. Her own description of her affinity for Shiaparelli's work can help illuminate the surrealistic aspects she sought to bring to her Project Runway efforts. She wrote on her blog “Schiaparelli created whimsical designs and accesories including a ‘lobster dress', a jacket with a woman's head on the front with her hair cascading down the sleeve, a evening coat with a vase and flower embroidery, a circus collection, a fabric that appeared ripped when it wasn't, roach buttons and a ‘chest of drawers' suit among many other amazing and original designs…It's hard to put into words my fascination with the idea of putting literal interpretation of an inspiration into clothing. To me, surrealism in clothing allows a designer to add tongue-in-cheek into a design. It is a new way of looking at something.”

Drawing on the inspirations from her favorite designers and personal aesthetic, Jennifer began work on her own line, called Suite, and saw the opportunity of being on Project Runway 5 as a chance to promote her new line.

She was interviewed by Portfolio as she stood on line for the auditions earlier this year, and told them at the time that the travel from Italy for the tryouts was “an investment in [her] company.” At the time, unaware that Jennifer would actually be selected, the reporter noted, “Though the chances of making it on the show are slim, to Diederich the rewards are worth it: a Fashion Week show, exposure for her line, and the potential to attract investors.”

Well, she did make it on the show, and it turns out that some of the rewards might still be hers. While she appeared soft-spoken, she was strong-willed when it came to prioritizing showcasing her vision over making choices that might be better for the challenge but not her personal style.

She admitted to Entertainment Weekly that the elimination might have given her pause about sticking to her girly style, but, she says, “I'm getting a really positive response to the outfit, and people are saying, ‘Geez, that was totally inappropriate for the challenge, but I would totally wear it out or to work or whatever.' So many people want me to remake the outfit for them. So I don't regret it because now what's important is that I'm back in the real world, and I have a business, and I want to sell clothes. I don't think I would change it.”

 

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

Sources: AOL Small Business, Syracuse.com, BravoTV.com, jenniferdiederich.com, thesuitelife-jennifer.blogspot.com, EW.com

(Images courtesy of Bravo)

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