EXCLUSIVE Interview: Joe Zee, From Unhireable To Highly Desirable
Before Joe Zee was able to put it “All On The Line” with his new show, he couldn’t even get a job with WWD as an industry newbie. MyFDB had a chance to catch up with the Elle creative director to learn more about his background and dive into his fashion wisdom. After years in the business, what exactly is “All On The Line” for Joe Zee? He’ll be guiding struggling designers to help save their lines. The show, like Zee, will have a (furocious) comedic twist with a sweet caring touch. Prior to watching Zee on TV, lets get to know our fashion crush a little better…
Since you’ve accomplished so much in your career, what has been your most humbling professional experience?
When I was first graduating from school, I had a job interview at WWD and I was given a photo shoot to do for the paper as a test. Everything that could go wrong went wrong that day: camera equipment wasn’t working; then the light exploded; the model had an emergency and didn’t show and a substitute arrived hours late, sight unseen; the location kicked us out before we had time to finish. Needless to say I didn’t get the job and I was devasted. But I did learn a lot that day, and I was eventually hired at W and WWD 5 years later in a much bigger position. That’s why I always tell industry hopefuls to not give up and despite detours in your career path, if it’s meant to be, it will happen.
Who are some up and coming designers we should be on the lookout for?
I always look for a strong point of view especially when it come to fashion design. That was my biggest nugget of wisdom for all the designers I worked with for All On The Line. And I’m so proud of them all in the end. But from the past fashion week, I love what Scott Sternberg is doing for Band of Outsiders, Mark Fast in London, Haider Ackermann‘s show in Paris was one of the best that week and of course Prabal Gurung and Joseph Altuzarra, but can you even consider them up and coming anymore?
In your opinion, what’s one timeless piece of clothing and makeup staple women shouldn’t be without?
A trenchcoat and YSL red nail polish.
Where can we find you…
On a cold rainy day?
Sitting in a movie theater.
On the hunt for a good deal?
When you’re in need of a drink?
On my terrace with good friends.
If you could wear one designer for the rest of your life who would it be and why? Gap. I just want to be comfortable all the time.
Besides Elle.com do you have any fashion blogs and/or websites that you follow?
So many, but just to name a few: all the New York newspapers, Daily Beast, Huffington Post, NYmag.com and The Cut, Deadline Hollywood, WWD, fashionista, racked, The Daily, Full Frontal Fashion, Styleite, Stylist, and of course MyFDB.
Since you’re frequently out on the town for all sorts of fashion fetes, who is your favorite person to run into at an event?
Bill Cunningham. He’s always there, quietly snapping and observing but he has such a positive light around him all the time. He can radiate in a room in his subtle Bill way.
Lastly, what advice do you have for aspiring fashion industry hopefuls? Stay committed. This industry isn’t without its pitfalls and hurdles but if ultimately this is what you want to do, stick with it. There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing you’ve achieved your dream.
Okay now let’s have some fun! Time for Word Association, tell us the first thing that pops into your head when you hear:
Model Crush: Gisele
Tiger: Frosted Flakes
That’s a wrap! Thank you for taking the time to talk to MyFDB. Be sure to tune into “All On The Line” tonight on the Sundance Channel!
[images courtesy Sundance Channel]